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Hi all,

I'm relatively new to tropical fish keeping and got my first 400 litre tank late last year. After a fishless cycle I started slowly putting together a happy community. I ended up with 5 x black widow tetras, 6 x neon tetras, 6 x albino corydoras, 6 x glass catfish, 4 male guppies, 2 x dwarf gourami, 2 x sailfin molly female, 2 x balloon molly male, 2 x black molly female. The last additions to the tank approx 3 weeka ago was 3 x swordtail fish. I was advised to get some test strips to test the water weekly and to take a sample into the local pet shop every week so they could check parameters better than what I could at home. I have been doing this since the beginning and have had no problems with my water parameters ( I have an internal and external filter.) Not long after adding the swordtails I noticed their poo wasn't like the other fish and they would have long thin trails of poop hanging out of them for hours. Some of it was brown, some parts white and quite stringy. Quickly I noticed this happening in some of the other fish too namely all of the molly fish. I Google what it could be and constipation kept coming up so I followed what I read I didn't feed the fish for two days then fed them peas for two days it didn't make a difference. The whole time the poo situation was the same. Then I started noticing some of the fish behaving in an odd manner and looking different. My two balloon molly males who are both a beautiful pure white started getting black patches on them, the best way to describe them would be if you imagined someone got a thin black marker and coloured in the end of their tails and started drawing thin black lines like a zebra pattern almost over the once pure white body. My female sailfin molly both ballooned in size so I assumed they were pregnant. By now all the swordfish and mollies are having the same pooping problems with long strings of it just constantly hanging from them. Both the sailfin mollies started acting skittish all of a sudden darting away manically if any other fish went near their stomach. They seemed to be gulping so much they resembled kissing gourami and we're pretty inactive at the bottom of the tank unless another fish got close. Everything was fine with last week's water check but I spent the week watching the tank intently as I do often so noticed more and more odd behaviour from my fish over the last week. Last night it was like my tank was possessed! My male guppies who have always gotten on started fighting and nipping each other. I have noticed the male guppies and mollies raising and flaring their dorsal fins up for no apparent reason when no other fish are around. I performed two water changes over the last week because the amount of poop coming from the molly and swordtail fish was taking over the tank and there were strings of it everywhere. Upon testing the water I discovered the ammonia was a little high, when I told the girl in the pet shop about the pooping problem and asked if that could be causing the sudden spike in ammonia she said she'd never heard of this problem before so I'd have to try to do my own research but she recommended a water treatment and daily water changes to get that back down to 0. The ammonia is now back down to zero and my fish are still having problems. The dwarf gourami seem very lethargic today and the molly and swordfish are having trouble swimming and it looks like they're constantly battling to swim normally and when they don't battle they're swimming vertically. I have Google and googled but the fish seem to be displaying such a varied display of symptoms that I think it could either be a bacterial infection or a parasite or worms And I don't know how best to treat the fish. I Have been told to only give the fish one treatment at a time but I'm worried I buy a generic anti bacterial treatment and if it's not bacteria causing this whatever it is will get worse and one day I'll get up to a totally dead tank. Or that I do a few different treatments one after another in the hope one works which is too much for the fish tobtake and also leads to waking one morning to a floating graveyard. The glass catfish seem hhealthy enough and are acting normal with no long poop as are the tetras and corydoras. With the exception of the new aggressiveness the guppies all seem fine but I'm really worried about the swordtails and mollies. Sorry for such a long post but I wanted to include as many details as I could in the hope they may sound familiar to someone. I have included a couple of pics, not the best just phone ones, of a couple of the fish in question with some of their lovely trailing poop. Any advice/information/ideas you may have of what could be wrong and how best to treat it would be greatly appreciated.
 

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