Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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dancelady 04-24-2014 06:21 PM

When do baby mollies develop gender & shape?
I have a bunch of baby mollies from several different mothers, from 2 months to a few days old. They all look like females, don't have any distinguishing shapes yet --such as lyretail or balloon-belly. Many of them were from balloon-belly mothers. When does the gender (male shape) show up, and the lyretail, balloon-belly, sailfin, etc. shape? Also does a balloon-belly mother need to mate with a balloon-belly male to have that shape in the baby (regressive?)? None of the babies have her shape. Also, other than black and dalmatian B&W babies, they don't have much color either. That seems to develop slowly, and at around 2 months, the gold dust starts to show up. Silver, gold, and pale others are not distinguishable yet. Thank you.

Sylverclaws 04-25-2014 03:02 AM

Mollies typically develop their gender between four and six months of age, but sometimes you do get a late bloomer and a female will decide to become male(I had some around eight months old do that before).

Balloon mollies...with them you don't always get balloon babies. The balloon gene is from severely inbreeding and over-breeding fish, not all will have it. It's a higher chance with a male balloon molly, but that still doesn't mean all will be. The one time I bred one I had three of the five come out balloons though. I do not know how high of a chance it'd be.

Your colors sound like my calicos. lol Mollies should continue getting in color for the first year, some will actually progressively get darker or lighter from the beginning to the end of their lives.

As for the lyretail and sailfins...this takes a lot of energy to grow, be sure you feed them very well. I didn't start noticing the pointed tips or longer sails on mine until they were more than six months old, ah, though I did have two that got their lyretails starting at two months which shocked me, any others I've bred with lyretails or sailfins took forever to start growing them in! So it can start any time, likely, I think it has more to do with the bodies energy, and a bit with gender too. They often take a while to start coming in, and once they do it's usually a slow process taking a couple months.

dancelady 04-25-2014 08:26 AM

20 Gal tank is cloudy -- have been dosing it w/ SafeStart
Thank you Sylverclaws for the information! I do feed babies well and give them lots of encouragement. Now there is one other problem with the community tank that is 20 gallon: because I bought numerous Mollies at one time (store closing) and put them together in the tank, it quickly became cloudy. I divided them into another tank so the 20G one is now safe, and it has been a month since I put in weekly clarity doses of SafeStart for good bacteria and AmQuel, and it is still cloudy. It did get clearer after 3 weeks, but then I added 2 G of water and cleaned the filter (getting debris), and it got worse again. What do I need to do to clean up that cloudiness, is it the filter, how long would the charcoal last before needing to be replaced? I do wash the foam/charcoal portions of the filter, except for the BioMax at the top (AquaClear). But maybe the charcoal needs to be new instead; whole 20 G tank is about 3 months old. :roll:

Sylverclaws 04-25-2014 08:51 AM

Easy on messing with the filter. Put a sponge in it if you can, if it doesn't already have one, to give the beneficial bacteria more area to colonize and do their work.

Stop adding in water clarifiers, sometimes they help, but other times they make it worse.

Make sure the stock is right, you wont want more than 4-5 balloon mollies in there, more is too much because they have a high bioload. More means you will need to clean more. A filter that is ten gallons or so more than the tank requires may also help.

Switch yourself to just normal cleaning(25-30% once a week). Over-cleaning can cause problems, especially bacterial blooms, as can continuously adding in more chemicals. Just use normal water conditioners(like prime) with your changes and see if it clears up after two weeks or so. The more you mess with it, the worse it becomes. What you want is to remove the initial cause, which may be from either messing with the filter too much, or too many fish for your beneficial bacteria and water to handle.

Test your water. If you have a cycle going on treat the tank as you would for one with extra changes and the like, try to keep the kiddos safe as best you can, and when removing debris from the filter be careful you don't mess it up too much, all rinses of the media should be done in tank water removed from the tank, not in the tank, to get it off without hurting the bacteria you need. Tap water will kill the beneficial bacteria colonies.

These things are hard to get rid of, but don't go overboard. As ugly as they can be, they usually wont cause harm unless it's from the tank cycling.

dancelady 04-25-2014 11:06 AM

I got it wrong, it was Freshwater StartSmart that I was dosing it with. In this one are 4 large Sailfin and Gold Dust Mollies, probably 3" apiece, 2 males, 2 females, really gorgeous. I want them to breed, as they are outstanding specimens. And 4 small Cory cats. I left everything alone for 3+ weeks, no cleaning or water added at all -- wanted to get some good bacteria colonies. It did clear up almost to normal level. But then the filter stopped doing much as it had lots of debris in it. So I cleaned it, and added some water, as it had gone down quite a bit. That was when it began to get cloudy again, and when I looked at the foam & charcoal, they were really dirty. I was thinking the charcoal also needs to be changed to new. I will follow your directions. The whole cloudy thing started because I had too many Mollies in there, many balloon belly females. I moved them out to another tank. All the other tanks are fine, but this one is a mess. Will it hurt my nice lovely Mollies while this clears up, I hope not! ( And I was using tap water for the filter, bad thing I realize now).

Sylverclaws 04-25-2014 11:45 AM

Like I said, you have to check your water parameters to know if there's a danger. Sometimes blooms happen and are harmless, other times they happen during a cycle or mini-cycle which can be harmful. They're ugly, but -usually- not dangerous.

As for not cleaning the tank for 3+ weeks, that is likely why you have the bloom. ^^; Proper maintenance is what helps your beneficial bacteria colonies, not filth build-up. If your fish were there during this time, they were making food for the bacteria colonies just by being in the tank.

dancelady 04-25-2014 03:57 PM

Actually, my fish store told me to use the SmartStart, treat it, then leave it alone for 3 weeks or until it cleared up. They were trying to get the good bacteria level up to clear it up. I would never have left it for so long, but that is what they said to do. I was a complete novice at the time...

Sylverclaws 04-25-2014 11:58 PM

Dare I ask what kind of LFS it was? Wasn't a petco, was it? Some give good advice, but unfortunately the majority give fatal advice for your fish, they profit when your fish die and you buy more or medicine.

Smartstart...ah, one of those chemicals that supposedly detoxifies the nitrogen cycle so you can get fish right off. Nah. o-o; Never trust that stuff, it can only block it for short periods, even for the real good stuff like Prime, and for it to work right you need a lot of water changes, you need the water changes to actually -help- your tank cycle too, and even with added chemicals it can still take 6-8+ weeks unless you get cycled filter media from someone else or another tank(that's the only real, best way to cycle a tank much faster). So basically your fish kinda sat there, temporarily(maybe) protected from it for a day or two...and then not so much.

Well, again, test your water. I can't tell you anything else if I don't know what the readings in your tank are, they will likely tell you everything, whether you need to do something or not. You may well be fine, or you could have nasties in there, in which case you will want big water changes and prime, or from what I read, smartstart does something similar but as I don't have any real reviews on it from experienced keepers, nor have I used it I can't tell you if it's as good as Prime or not.

dancelady 04-26-2014 06:57 AM

I do test the water, and so far it measures OK on 6 different ones, such as hardness, pH, chlorine, alkalinity, etc. I have the API test for ammonia/nitrates/nitrites which shows 0.25 or less for the bad stuff. So far on all 3 tanks, it always shows just above the yellow, and I treat it with AmQuel each time. I wonder if that is the lowest it goes, because it shows the same for an unused tank, too. If I had known about the number of fish, and how to size them, I would never have bought so many at one time!

I buy fish food and tanks from Petco and 2 black Mollies. But the guy there said to only feed them every couple of days, so I didn't listen to him. My local store (not Petco) is the one who told me what to do, and they have been in business for 15 years or so (when I moved here and had birds), and their fish look very healthy and happy.

He is the one who originally tested the water, told me plenty about taking care of them. This SmartStart is expensive, and he didn't tell me about it at first until he heard the problem, and saw pictures of tank/Mollies. This is what he felt was needed after hearing what was going on.

They have the most handsome Bettas anywhere. And I bought the gravel siphon to use for cleaning the bottom. But I still am learning, and this place is a good one to find out more and to meet wonderful people!

dancelady 04-30-2014 03:18 PM

20 Gal Tank finally cleared up
Just a note: my cloudy tank at last has cleared up. It took a week longer than expected, but how would anyone know exactly when it would be clear? If you are new to this, don't have a good idea of how many fish per tank, and don't know how to test and treat the water, please find out ASAP. And then do what a fish expert says. And be patient! As long as you are working with an appropriate filter, the proper media, and the testing, you will eventually get it right, but learn fast, and don't despair.

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