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Fishy Puzzle

531 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  LadyHawk
Hello everyone! I have a bit of a puzzle on my hands. I have a 60gal tank, heavily planted, with a CO2 injection system, EI dry dosing with consistent water parameters of Ammonia - 0ppm, Nitrites - 0ppm, and Nitrates - 20ppm. I keep the temp at 78 F, and have a great HOB filter as well as a powerhead. KH: 6-7 and GH: 10-11. I have 7 mollies, including some other fish as well. Here's the conundrum:

I have one male sailfin molly (the "alpha") who is always gasping: he eats well, breeds with the other mollies normally and acts perfectly fine otherwise. His fins aren't clamped and I have seen no evidence at all of parasites, bacteria, or flukes. All of my other fish are perfectly healthy. I have aerators on over night and he seems better in the morning after the tank is well oxygenated. Here's what I've slowly tried over the last month:
- turning down the CO2
- having a day-time aerator
- shortening the photoperiod
- adding another female molly to have a 1-3 male to female ratio
- adding a bit of salt
- adding stress coat
- >50% WC every week

And yet he still gasps all day. I am completely stumped! Again he's the only fish in the tank exhibiting any symptoms of anything. Does anyone have any ideas? I've kept fish my whole life, and pretty much every issue I've had with fish has been solved with water changes and good conditioner. Any ideas?
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There's a remote chance that during his shipment or keeping at the LFS he got ammonia damage to his gills. I'm not sure fish can recover from this.

Maybe given time and his own aquarium with better aeration.

Mollies in general are better off with a small amount of marine salt added to their tank, if not some African Rift Lake Ciclid salts. I've never kept them in planted tanks because they really do better in lightly planted, low light tanks with fairly hard water, which it looks like your tank is set up for hard water.

Do you test for pH daily or have a drop checker? Big pH swings can be hard on Mollies
Thanks for responding GrampsGrunge! The tank is set up specifically for mollies: low-medium light throughout the day, a bit of aquarium salt, with a mild ph swing when CO2 switches on (7.5-6.8). That being said, my other 6 Mollies are fat, happy, and very healthy. The male sailfin has been completely fine except for the last few weeks or so. Could he have possibly ingested some of the Ferts from my dry dosing and it made him sick? They are essentially aquatic piglets. I'm at a loss!

Update: I think I'm going to move him to a hospital tank and see what happens. Perplexing!
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