Strange Molly behavior
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Strange Molly behavior

This is a discussion on Strange Molly behavior within the Livebearers forums, part of the Freshwater and Tropical Fish category; --> My tank is newly cycled and I have two dalmatian Mollies in my 20 gal tank. They've been doing fine over the last few ...

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Strange Molly behavior
Old 01-15-2014, 07:16 PM   #1
 
Question Strange Molly behavior

My tank is newly cycled and I have two dalmatian Mollies in my 20 gal tank. They've been doing fine over the last few days but today they have been acting weird. The male has begun "slapping" the female with his tail, both have been on and off hanging around my heater. (even though it is the correct size and the tank reads around 76)
The male was also trying to breed with the female this morning and I found him pacing and resting on the bottom of the tank.
I don't understand because my water levels were a little off the last few days and now that they're normal with 0 ammonia 0 nitrites and a couple nitrates they seem crazy.
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Old 01-16-2014, 11:30 AM   #2
 
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Actually, it's not "Right" on temp or tank size. Well, it depends...you wont want anymore mollies the size of your dalmatians.

First off, mollies need their temps no lower than 78 degrees and prefer it around 80. 78 is the absolute minimum temp for them, 76 being just below comfortable and -right- at the line of starting issues. Lower and you can hurt their metabolisms and also pt them at risk for disease and fungal infections, parasites too.

Now for the tank size...for two dalmatians it's a bit tight for their type. You could get some black mollies, gold dusts or gold nuggest to go with them, but I would not suggest any of the types that are sailfins, lyretails or the like, nothing that gets more than 2.5 inches or so...Gold Dusts, black mollies and Gold Nuggets tend to stay smaller than the rest, but black mollies CAN get larger...anywho, you wont want larger ones in there. Typically you want 30 gallons or more if you want mollies...this being because they have a very high bioload, they breed a lot, they're social and require groups of five or more, and some get big, all like space! Just don't get anymore males...

That's another thing, and your current biggest issue...you have ONE male and ONE female. That's bad, he will constantly harass her to mate as he is doing right now. She's tired of his affections and is fighting back, this is stressful and risks injury and death to both, if she does not chase him off he'll likely continue chasing her and trying to mate until he kills her.
With livebearers, especially mollies, you want one male for every four females. This will spread out his affection...usually. Or at least lessen his need somewhat. Though now that they have bonded and started breeding, he may well ignore females you put in now and continue to harass her. It's worth a shot to get him a couple more girls though, if that doesn't settle it, take him back for another male or take the female back and get another.
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Old 01-16-2014, 12:52 PM   #3
 
On the subject of males vs. female mollys, if you purchased a female from a mix sex tank you can assume she is hit by a male. That is just the way mollys work. Their worse than teenagers.
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Old 01-16-2014, 05:16 PM   #4
 
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Indeed, any molly over 4-6 months old kept with males is likely pregnant. Pet shop purchased fish are usually 8 months and older. All the same, the male will still continue to harass her, he'll fight her if she refuses him should she be pregnant or just not interested(which is what's happening here). So you still need a larger tank and some more girls, but for a while five mollies would be ok in there, you'll have to clean more(twice a week, one 30% and one 15%) and it should be fine. You need some more girls to take the edge off these two. He may well kill her if his affections are not transferred off a little bit.

If you do want livebearers though, I really would suggest you return the mollies and get platies instead. They can handle a group of four, and four would be perfect for a twenty gallon. You could do five, but I wouldn't if you want them to be comfy with the space they have. You can mix them up too, if you so desire. And if you have sand substrate and the tank is long or normal over tall, you could also get some Kuhli Loaches(five or so), they have a very low bioload and would make the tank look less...empty, which is many a-aquarists dilemma...but good ones keep open space so their fish can swim and not run into everyone every two tail flaps.

Last edited by Sylverclaws; 01-16-2014 at 05:19 PM..
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Old 01-18-2014, 02:31 PM   #5
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sylverclaws View Post
Indeed, any molly over 4-6 months old kept with males is likely pregnant. Pet shop purchased fish are usually 8 months and older. All the same, the male will still continue to harass her, he'll fight her if she refuses him should she be pregnant or just not interested(which is what's happening here). So you still need a larger tank and some more girls, but for a while five mollies would be ok in there, you'll have to clean more(twice a week, one 30% and one 15%) and it should be fine. You need some more girls to take the edge off these two. He may well kill her if his affections are not transferred off a little bit.

If you do want livebearers though, I really would suggest you return the mollies and get platies instead. They can handle a group of four, and four would be perfect for a twenty gallon. You could do five, but I wouldn't if you want them to be comfy with the space they have. You can mix them up too, if you so desire. And if you have sand substrate and the tank is long or normal over tall, you could also get some Kuhli Loaches(five or so), they have a very low bioload and would make the tank look less...empty, which is many a-aquarists dilemma...but good ones keep open space so their fish can swim and not run into everyone every two tail flaps.
I should clarify, the temp is not at exactly 76 it's around there. Since they seemed cold at 79 or so I bumped it up to 82-85 and then slowly put them back down a little.

As for tank size, it seems to be a little excessive to have 30 gallons for a couple of fish only but ok.. I know that it's not good to have just a male and female but I wasn't able to get more at the time, and I've been monitoring them closely with no major signs of aggression (certainly not enough to injure her) and he only really chases her during feeding time. (she actually still gets for food than him haha)
He's only tried to breed with her that one time, which she didn't seem to mind, and has left her alone after that. I'm pretty sure she is preggers although I can't tell whether it was from the time she was at the store or in my tank.
You are also the only person who has told me that Mollies should be in groups of 5, everyone else has said 3..
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Old 01-18-2014, 08:38 PM   #6
 
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When you have five fish that can get 4-6 inches(you have two...you want four or five mollies or you'll have dead fish soon...like that female getting chased by the male BECAUSE you only have one other girl with a male, mollies are social...they NEED their groups to be properly happy and to sort out this aggression and give your male other girls to chase so he doesn't kill your current one...can't stress that need enough, you must have a proper group, she will eventually die from stress and the babies will likely not be healthy if they even survive because of it)...thirty gallons is not excessive. lol Take into account also their bioloads, mollies are one of the dirtiest tropical fish around(not THE most, but they are up there on the list). You want FIVE, not a couple. I was saying if you want that type of fish(mollies), you should have a larger tank. Platies would be a better fit in a twenty gallon tank, they can handle being in a group as small as three, no less, or larger groups if you so desire. A twenty gallon could comfortably fit four in it, five if you have a lot of live plants and hiding places and take good care of the tank.

Not trying to bite, it's just one of those gotta have this and gotta have that kind of fish.

As for your temp...you really need to get that stable. If it's going up and down, especially from 76 to over eighty like that, it's going to hurt them a lot. They wont look good until things are stable, you may kill them if you keep changing it. They can't handle more than a two degree drop or rise in a day very well...they can survive it, but it often shocks them if you go further and sometimes will kill them. You want it at 80, not higher. Higher and you up their metabolisms and shorten their lives. 82 is ok but pushing it for the long-term.

Last edited by Sylverclaws; 01-18-2014 at 08:46 PM..
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Old 01-19-2014, 05:29 PM   #7
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sylverclaws View Post
When you have five fish that can get 4-6 inches(you have two...you want four or five mollies or you'll have dead fish soon...like that female getting chased by the male BECAUSE you only have one other girl with a male, mollies are social...they NEED their groups to be properly happy and to sort out this aggression and give your male other girls to chase so he doesn't kill your current one...can't stress that need enough, you must have a proper group, she will eventually die from stress and the babies will likely not be healthy if they even survive because of it)...thirty gallons is not excessive. lol Take into account also their bioloads, mollies are one of the dirtiest tropical fish around(not THE most, but they are up there on the list). You want FIVE, not a couple. I was saying if you want that type of fish(mollies), you should have a larger tank. Platies would be a better fit in a twenty gallon tank, they can handle being in a group as small as three, no less, or larger groups if you so desire. A twenty gallon could comfortably fit four in it, five if you have a lot of live plants and hiding places and take good care of the tank.

Not trying to bite, it's just one of those gotta have this and gotta have that kind of fish.

As for your temp...you really need to get that stable. If it's going up and down, especially from 76 to over eighty like that, it's going to hurt them a lot. They wont look good until things are stable, you may kill them if you keep changing it. They can't handle more than a two degree drop or rise in a day very well...they can survive it, but it often shocks them if you go further and sometimes will kill them. You want it at 80, not higher. Higher and you up their metabolisms and shorten their lives. 82 is ok but pushing it for the long-term.
Yeah I made sure not to raise the temp quickly. They seem to be fine now with the temp where it is.
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