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DrunkFishKeeper 03-16-2010 12:10 PM

My new Aquarium, Also one fish not eating! (PICTURES)
Hello everyone, to make a long story short- a few weeks ago one of my friends got me into fish keeping and I fell in love with it. Surprised I never realized how much I would like it earlier in my life. He gave me his old 10 gallon tank, and I went to PetCo and bought all the supplies that I needed.

I wish I would of bought a nicer filter, and thought that I might regret getting the cheap Aqueon 10 gallon filter, but honestly up to this point I haven't noticed any issues so I think it will be fine.

After treating the water and letting the aquarium run for 3 days I went to the store and bought 3 fish.

1 Silver Molly
1 Black Molly
1 Gold Twin Bar Platy

Here's where my question comes in. The silver molly and platy are really active, "hang out" real close to each other a lot, and are always eating! However I have yet to actually see the black molly eat (it's been 2.5 days). She just seems generally uninterested in food, and NEVER comes to the top to get it nor have I seen her even pick at food off the bottom. If she is eating, it's not when I'm around! She is also always in one or two spots, either hanging out in the bottom corner or like hiding right near the filter where it's dark. Occasionally she'll move around but it's very rare.

The fish does not seem to be sick at all, it swims fine and looks nice and healthy. Also, I know it's not water related because the other fish are doing fine and full of energy.

Anyone want to enlighten me on what could possibly be happening?

Also, here's a pic of my aquarium (before the fish went in it)

And here's my yellow platy

Byron 03-17-2010 01:20 PM

I suspect it is a cycling-related issue. Mollys are highly sensitive to ammonia, and ammonia is prevalent in new tanks that have not yet cycled.

When you put fish into an aquarium, they produce ammonia--through respiration and waste--and ammonia also occurs from other biological [processes like decaying food, plant material, etc. Ammonia is very toxic to fish. In time, a bacteria called nitrosomonas will appear and use the ammonia, producing nitrite in the process. Nitrite is also toxic, but another bacteria, nitrospira, appears and uses the nitrite to produce nitrate which is relatively harmless [more on this momentarily]. It can take anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks for these bacteria to establish at a level needed to utilize the ammonia produced by the fish and such. During this period, the fish are exposed to the toxic ammonia, and some withstand this (even if temporarily) better than others.

Your tank is definitely in the cycling stage. You should get yourself a test kit for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate; API make a good one, you can buy a combination kit that includes these plus pH which is also useful. Well worth the money.

Even without a test kit now, I can assure you the ammonia is going to take its toll. I would do a daily partial water change of 40-50% of the tank volume, every day, using a good water conditioner. Some conditioners in addition to removing chlorine and chloramine will also detoxify ammonia [it will say this on the bottle], some also detoxify ammonia and nitrite ("Prime" by Seachem does this), and these will help. No other chemicals should go in the tank.

Be prepared to lose the black molly; ammonia and nitrite poisoning damages the internal organs of the fish and once they are they do not recover; some "hardy" fish can withstand the ammonia or nitrite to some extent if it is short; some last for weeks and even months before they will die as a result of the initial poisoning. Mollys are susceptible to ammonia poisoning as I mentioned.

Last comment on the nitrate, this we remove with the regular weekly partial water change once the aquarium is cycled. Live plants also use ammonia/nitrate, but won;t get into all that. Your immediate issue is to do a partial water change and save your fish. The bacteria will colonize hard surfaces under water and remain at the numbers to handle the ammonia produced; adding more fish increases the ammonia, so this must be done slowly to allow the bacteria time to multiply accordingly. But don;t add more fish until the tank is cycled, best to give it 8 weeks for certainty.


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