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What kind of fish are these?

June 14th, 2005, 03:36 PM
My neighbor gave these two little fish to my son out of her aquarium. Apparently her fish had babies but she doesn't know what kind they are. They look like black goldfish to me but they're only about 1/2" long.

I have an outdoor fish pond on the deck but I'm afraid if I put them in there the big goldfish would eat them. I also have a little vase/fishbowl with a peace lily in it that I used to have a beta in. Do you think the fish would be okay in that until they get a little bigger?

June 14th, 2005, 03:37 PM
Here's a top view of them

June 14th, 2005, 03:38 PM
I think they may be "Molly's" ?

June 14th, 2005, 03:39 PM
Happycats we posted at the same time!

I was also saying that they look like a Black Molly to me.

June 14th, 2005, 03:40 PM
is this what they look like?

June 14th, 2005, 03:47 PM
Happycats, they look a little like that but their bellies are fatter and their tails are smaller. Maybe just because they're babies?

June 14th, 2005, 03:47 PM
My neighbor has the parents but I haven't seen them. Her son said they're about 2" long.

June 14th, 2005, 03:57 PM
Could it be a swordtail fish? Females don't have the sword. Check this website for more info.

June 14th, 2005, 04:04 PM
Beaglemom, they very well could be. They look just like that but they're black. Do you think they'd be okay in the little vase thingy for a while? It's about a gallon. We had an aquarium but we gave it away just last week :(

June 14th, 2005, 04:13 PM
Swordtails do come in black. They are pretty easy to care for. I would try to get them an aquarium as soon as you can. I'm worried more about the water ph level. A filter is a definite in order to keep the water clean. It is never a good idea to change their water all at once as it can be a drastic shock to their system. Only feed them what they will eat within a few minutes as any food left over could dirty the water quickly.

They are very cute by the way. It has been a while since I've had an aquarium, I miss it. We used to have 3 set up and running at one time.

June 14th, 2005, 04:25 PM
Hmmm, I wasn't too keen on the idea of having another aquarium. We don't really have a good place to put one. The old one was in ds' room but when he had friends over they couldn't keep their hands out of it so I took the goldfish out and put them in my pond, then put the aquarium in a yard sale. No one bought it so I gave it to one of the neighbor kids.

Maybe I could give them to my parents to put in their aquarium, then ds could see them when he visits.

June 14th, 2005, 04:27 PM
Or....would one of the little bitty aquariums (I think they're about 1-2 gallons) that you get at walmart be okay? I have an extra shelf that goes in the computer desk, up top that we don't use. Maybe I could put it there.

June 14th, 2005, 04:32 PM
Here is what I could find for swordtails (wagtails). The min tank you can have is a 10 gal. I highlighted what is really important.

Scientific Name: Xiphophorus helleri
Family: Poeciliidae
Origin: Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras
Adult Size: 2 inches (5 cm)
Social: Peaceful, suitable for community tank
Lifespan: 4 years
Tank Level: Top, Mid dweller
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallon
Diet: Omnivore, eats most foods
Breeding: Livebearer
Care: Easy to intermediate
pH: 7.0 - 8.2
Hardness: 15-30 dGH
Temperature: 64-77 F (18-25 C)

Description: Wagtail swords first appeared in the 1940's, as the result of a cross between a gold platy and a wild Xiphophorus maculatus. The distinctive mark of wagtails are the black rays in all fins coupled with very little coloration between the rays. Also notable is the presence of black on the upper and lower lip. Marigold Wag swordtails display an intense color contrast, having coal black fins and a red-gold body.

Habitat/Care: In their native habitat this species lives in very clear, oxygen rich, alkaline waters. Strong filtration is advised to maintain high oxygen levels. Water should be moderately hard, in the range of 15-30 dGH.
Optimum temperature for wagtail swords is lower than for many tropical fish. That should be taken into account when considering them for community aquariums. 74 degrees F (23 C) is the ideal temperature for swords, with lower temps being more readily tolerated than elevated temps.

Beyond the water requirements, wagtails are undemanding in terms of the physical aquarium setup. If breeding is planned, the tank should be densely planted to allow sufficient cover for the fry. Either real or artificial plants are suitable

Diet: Wagtail swords will readily accept a wide variety of foods. Live foods such as mosquito larvae, tubifex, and daphnia. These live foods provide some vitamins that often are lost in dry foods during storage. Freeze dried foods are also readily accepted, and are good alternatives to live foods. The advantage of FD foods is the reduced risk of disease that may be transmitted via live foods.

Because wagtails possess an intestinal tract that is longer than carnivores, they benefit from the roughage found in vegetables. In addition to flake foods containing vegetable matter, cooked peas, lettuce, or spinach may be used as supplemental foods.
Wagtail swords are primarily top feeders, as is evidenced by their upturned mouth. Foods that fall to the bottom, or that are not eaten within five minutes should be removed promptly to avoid fouling the water.

June 14th, 2005, 04:39 PM
Thanks, Jackie. A 10-gallon is what I just gave away. I guess I'll see if my parents want to take them.

June 14th, 2005, 07:48 PM
I have red swordtails, and they do look like that. More so tha goldfish. I don't think the goldfish's dorsal fin is quite like the fish in the picture.

They are very easy to care for (heck, if I can do it, anyone can!). :D

June 15th, 2005, 02:39 PM
Well, I called my dad and he said they haven't had their aquarium up for a while but have been thinking about getting some more fish so he's gonna let me know what they decide. So for now they're still in the jar and I'm changing half of the water every day. Hope they'll be okay for a little while til permanent arrangements can be made for them.

Are you SURE a tank smaller than 10 gal wouldn't work? I'm not gonna breed em or anything.

June 15th, 2005, 02:46 PM
a smaller tank would work, but they wouldn't be very healthy or happy. putting them in a smaller tank may stunt their growth, meaning that they won't get big in appereance but their internale organs will continue to grow and be bunched up inside them. They will be more suseptable to disease because of that. If you do put them into a 2 gallon I would only put one fish per 2 gallon, meaning you would need two 2 gallon tanks.

June 15th, 2005, 04:10 PM
Oh, well, I hope my dad decided to take them.

June 15th, 2005, 06:57 PM
They definetly look like a black molly to me.
Black Mollys are the hardest of all molly species to care for.
They really would prefer a brackish water tank, but can be kept in
They need warm water- 76-80F so they need a heater,
and they are one of the larger molly species at 2.5 inches for an
adult male, and 3 for an adult female - and will require a tank of at
least 15G- but a 20G is a whole lot better.
As was said for the swords, they require strong filtration, heat,
and a group.
They absolutely cannot live in anything under 10g- and having kept Mollys
for some time - a 10g is still cutting it too small.
While they are in the bowl, keep them in a very warm room, and do 100% water changes every 3 days, or 50% water changes every day.
They are very sensitive fish, and espescially as fry, should have room to grow. I grow out guppy fry in a 10g tank by themselves, otherwise they are prone to deformities and have to be culled. I dont like culling fish that could have been good otherwise.
My experience would say, the longest these guys can go in the present container, is about 1 week to 2 weeks time. Hopefully they are kept warm enough, otherwise they may die. Try to find them something better, even a tote bin, or plastic container of a 5g size would be immensely better.
What I wonder is - why did you take them if you have no where to put them?
Mollys can live in ponds in Southern California and Florida, but thats about it. My thought is perhaps the neighbor gave them to you to feed to your goldfish?

June 16th, 2005, 10:46 AM
I didn't take them, my son did. He was over there playing with her kids and she was cleaning out her aquarium and asked ds if he wanted them so he brought them home. I thought maybe we could make arrangements for them since they are cute little guys and he wants to keep them. He's only 8. But I don't want to get a big aquarium again. My dad said they may be able to take them next weekend because they have to get the aquarium ready again. I have some 5 gallon buckets, maybe I could put them in one of those until them.

June 16th, 2005, 10:54 AM
While they are in the bowl, keep them in a very warm room, and do 100% water changes every 3 days, or 50% water changes every day.
I've always been told never to change the water 100%. Maybe it is different in a bowl, I've only ever had medium to large aquariums and for those you only do small water changes every week. And even then we used water treatments to get the water ready for the tank. Fish are very delicate and any drastic changes could kill them.

I understand Dahlia's predicament, children always bring home animals for the parents to take care of. I've done it as a child and all the children I know now that love animals do the same. They just don't understand that it takes preparation for that pet first before bringing it home.

June 16th, 2005, 04:34 PM
Thanks, beaglemom. I'm glad someone understands. I was the same way when I was a kid except my parents left it up to me to take care of my own pets, so if I brought home fish and didn't have an aquarium I had to figure it out on my own if it meant borrowing one, getting one at the flea market with my allowance or putting them in something else. I don't remember bringing home any fish but I brought home plenty of other critters. Fortunately we lived on a farm so we had plenty of room outside and spare cages, etc...

June 18th, 2005, 03:33 AM
Yes, in a bowl it is different.
The water is uncirculated and unfiltered, and therefore
will grow stagnant and grow aeromonas bacteria, which can cause
ordinary healthy fish to die- espescially young fish.
Young fish need constant new water to grow healthy and strong.
Not changing the water enough, and not enough room can
cause serious growth defects in young fry.
Is it possible you could get a better picture?
If you have a digital camera, turn on the macro mode
(usually a button with a picture of a rose bud or tulip on it),
and take a pic with flash and one without.
if they are black fish, put the container on a white surface before shooting
the picture.
I do understand that kids bring stuff home, but I got the impression
that you were there when he took them? Perhaps not.
If they are Mollies, they will require at least a 15G tank, as mollies grow
to 3 inches and produce a ton of waste, and a ton of babies!
I didnt mean to sound harsh or anything, my apologies if it came off
that way. Darned internet without tone Lol

June 19th, 2005, 04:12 PM
That's okay, sneakypete. No, I wasn't there when he took them. I'll try to get a better pic, I did use the mode with the flower but it's hard to get a good shot through the jar.

June 20th, 2005, 01:16 PM
Do not change the water 100%. When a fish is introduced to the tank, or in this case bowl, bacteria are needed to stave off scale diseases. While a 90% water change can be suitable, never do all the water at once.

When you initially set up a new tank, placing one fish to create a healthy bacteria base is the recommended procedure. Since you already have a good bacteria start, keeping some of the water (as I mentioned, about 10%) is a good idea. That way, when you set up a tank for them, you transfer the entire bowl of water they're in now, to the tank. This moves the bacteria over and keeps the "slime coat" on the fish. If you choose not to do this, then you should buy a water additive to aide in the production of a slime coat for the fish. It will also assist in keeping the stress from changing from bowl to tank at a minimum.

June 20th, 2005, 01:23 PM
In addition to what Trinitie said, when you do introduce your fish to the new tank, don't just release them from the bowl into the tank. Put them in a clear plastic bag with the water from the bowl/vase first and let them float in the new tank for at least 30 min. This will allow them to adjust to the new tanks temperature without shocking them. Just dumping them into the new tank from the bowl could result in shock which can kill your fish.

A new tank should also run for at least a week before any fish is introduced. I usually let them run on their own with no fish for a few weeks. This allows for all plants to be established as well as allowing good bacteria to be well established before the fish are introduced. This process can be rushed if you use water conditioners and additives available from aquarium suppliers.

June 25th, 2005, 05:41 PM
A new tank should also run for at least a week before any fish is introduced. I usually let them run on their own with no fish for a few weeks. This allows for all plants to be established as well as allowing good bacteria to be well established before the fish are introduced. This process can be rushed if you use water conditioners and additives available from aquarium suppliers.

I Beg your pardon beaglemom, but unfortunately what you are saying is not true. The bacteria in a tank (Nitrobacter), only starts to form in your tank once fish are added. A source of Ammonia is required for the Nitrobacter to feed on. A Cycle cannot really be rushed. You can use products such as "Stresszyme" or "Biospira" which might help if the bottle is really fresh. If not the bacteria will be dead anyway.
Plants will also not grow well without Nitrates present in the water. Nitrates are the very end product of the Nitrogenous Cycle. During the cycle plants are only used to help reduce slightly high levels of ammonia and nitrItes, and some plants that are not tough enough will die during the cycle just like sensitive fish.

Here is how the cycle works:
Day 1: Addition of Fish
Days 2-7 Ammonia rises in tank, often to dangerous levels to the fish. This is why you should use either A) Hardy fish like danios or white cloud mountain minnows, or B) Do a fishless cycle using household ammonia
Days 8-15 Nitrobacter class 1 begins to grow, breaking down ammonia into NitrIte.
Days 15-20 NitrIte levels rise to hazardous levels. Nitrobacter class 2 bacteria begins to grow, breaking down NitrItes into their end product Nitrates.
Days 20+ (Can be as much as 60 days), Tank levels stabilize, Ammonia and Nitrites drop off to 0, NitrAtes rise to around 20ppm. This is about the time that your plants will really start to flourish, as nitrates are being produced for the plants to feed off.

OK, now when a Tank or Bowl is UNFILTERED, and has no SUBSTRATE, there is no place for good nitrobacter to grow. Hence why in a small unfiltered tank you should do twice weekly water changes of 100% and rinse and scrub the bowl clean. Otherwise "Aeromonas" or deadly oxygen using bacteria starts to build, as well as you will leave ammonia in the bowl which will continue to concentrate.
In a tank of 5G or larger that is Unfiltered with no Substrate, 100% water changes can be done just once a week.
Remember, Nitrobacter needs surface areas to grow on, and it wont grow on just glass.
I think some of you need to update your knowledge of the cycle a bit,
and should cruise on into the following site for information, and many many resources. A great site with knowledgeable people, who can help you understand why fish are they way they are, what fish are suitable for the tanks we keep, and how to handle diseases, water problems, and other issues.

June 27th, 2005, 08:25 AM
Sneakypete, I never claimed to be an expert. Maybe I did not word what I want to say properly, many times I am responding to these at work and do not have the time to go indepth. I have had aquariums with many different types of fish most of my life and have never had a problem. I have never had a bowl or small tank, only medium to large tanks with filters and a substrate.

What I was trying to say previously is that fish should never be introduced to an aquarium newly set up with fresh water out of the tap. Tap water is not good for fish. Hence the reason why I usually let my aquarium run for a while on its own with no fish in it. Also, the temperature needs to be correct before your fish are put in the tank. I do introduce plants before I introduce fish and have never had a problem. I've never had a tank or bowl without a filter. Hence the reason why I said that the water changes must be different with a bowl or small tank. My tanks have only ever had a small water percentage change every week since they had filters running all the time. This was done when I would do my weekly maintenance on the aquarium, i.e. cleaning the substrate and glass.

Thanks for the website though. I'm sure it will prove informative to many people.

June 27th, 2005, 12:42 PM
I do beg to differ. I have just done a search of the www using Google, for the exact phrase "aquarium amount water change recommendations", and I have not found a site that recommends a complete water change. Most people do not keep labyrinth fish in an unaerated tank, let along one without substrate.

I know of one person, who keeps her goldfish in a typical goldfish bowl, without substrate or heater, but she's the only one, in my 20+ years of keeping fish. When a tank is set up, one fish is generally added to produce a viable "good" bacteria colony. If proper water changes are done, at least 25% each week, by using a syphon to sift the substrate, then the amount of harmful bacteria is reduced to a tolerable level. Should water changes not occur on a routine schedule, then a maximum 75% water change, to reduce the amount of stress on the fish.

If you're specifically talking about a goldfish tank of mini proportions (less than 5 gallons), then yes, a complete, 100%, water change can be done, and probably should be done. Goldfish are more apt to handle the temperature change of a complete water change than any other type of fish.

I do think, in this instance, that Beaglemom is correct regarding water changes.

June 27th, 2005, 06:31 PM
Well Go to and go into the
beginners section and ask. Of 8000 members Im sure they will be able
to tell you they agree with me. That is where I got most of my information.
I have kept fish in small bowls, and they are fine, ONLY if 100 of the water is changed every few days.
Yes, You use water conditioner. That is what it is for.
Yes, you use a thermometer to get the temperature right, otherwise
you will shock your fish. Its not hard to do, and your fish will be
happier for it and healthier.
Also: Goldfish do NOT belong in a small bowl. 1 goldfish requires 55G of space.
No 12 inch fish should be in less than 55 gallons.
All you are allowing by not cleaning the tiny bowl is waste to accumulate
on the bottom of the glass and bad bacteria to form.
Run your finger along the bottom of your fish bowl and see what you feel.
If you dont like it, I doubt your fish do either.
I have successfully raised Angelfish fry, guppy fry, and platy fry all in 5g tank with 100% water changes every week.
What do I have? Healthy, happy fish, who grow fast and dont get stunted.

June 28th, 2005, 02:49 PM
We can agree to disagree. I'm certain your fish are healthy and happy. Nobody here suggested that fish be kept in a tiny tank, under 5 gallons. I was merely indicating what my search results offered.

For a 12 inch fish, I do doubt that a 5 gallon tank would be adequate to hold more than it's tail. The generally accepted rule of thumb is 1 inch of fish per gallon of water. Any less and the fish may very well starve for oxygen or suffer from disease. In this case, yes, a 55-60 gallon tank would be "just" sufficient. Some more demanding fish may require more than what 1 gallon can supply them, and in this case, 1 inch per 2-3 gallons may be called for.

While we may disagree with what others post, do the research yourself if you have indepth questions.

Sneakypete, I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings, as the tone of your posts suggest. I am a huge stickler for acurate facts, and I will spend HOURS researching one angle in order to find accurate information. The site you mentioned sounds like a good resource, and one I may look into for future questions.

June 28th, 2005, 08:23 PM
Hi Yes,
I am also a very strong stickler of not just facts: but tried, tested, and true facts!!
All my fishkeeping has been accompanied by hours, not 10-12 but THOUSANDS
of hours of research.
I could walk with you into a pet store and identify and give requirements of most fish in the stores.
I can tell you about the nitrogen cycle, what filters work best in certain situations, how to do filter cleans and water changes step by step, and about many of the diseases and problems encountered in freshwater aquarium keeping.
I am a professional student not just by experience but nature, and believe learning is the most important task we were put on earth for. It really steams me when people cannot even bother to research the facts and then start spouting off at the mouth.
The biggest problem though is with the individual pet stores. The employees are hired for looks and retail experience, and not for knowledge of pets/fish/or fishkeeping. They still believe fish like Goldfish and Irridescent sharks belong in Aquariums, and in small ones to boot.
Most people's fish keeping knowledge is still stuck in the 1950's, and I cannot handle that kind of ignorance.
People think just because it is a "fish" that is has no feelings, cant feel pain, cant think, and are basically worthless.
To Me a fish is every much a pet as my dog or cats.
It is no different. If my fish hurts, I help to ease the pain. If it is sick, I try to heal it, and most importantly, I provide the best possibly life my fish could ever want to have next to being in the wild, where they will live their full life spans out, in Clean water, with heavy good quality filtration and a wide range of high quality fish foods, and fresh foods from the garden and the earth, as well as frozen foods to supplement their diets.
For me, to see a goldfish in a 5G tank, or a Betta in a "vase" is the exact same to seeings a puppy chained in a yard for every day of its life.
Animal cruelty shouldnt be limited to the animals we can pet and hold, but to all the animals we keep.
Their lifes depend on us, and it is up to us to give them that life. Happy healthy and fullfilled.
And people who are unwilling to do the work and the hundreds to thousands of hours of reading, research, conversation, and exploring that is needed to do so, should re-examine why they keep their pets. Are they for status? For Look? For Aesthetics? Or are they valued members of your family, right down to the finned, feathered, or furred members, each and every one?
If the answer is no....well I think you can tell what you should do.
Thank You.

June 29th, 2005, 07:27 AM
Sneakypete, I commend you for doing your research thoroughly before you acquired a pet, any pet! More people should do their research, regardless if what they are getting is a fish, bird, cat, hamster, dog, etc. Every person who is considering getting a pet should do extensive research to determine whether or not that pet is the right one for them and their family. If more people took the time and researched, less animals would be given up or abused.

I agree, fish have feelings just like every other living creature does. I had a couple of Jumbo Pacus that were great fish. They recognised our family members, particularly the ones that maintained their aquarium and fed them daily. They let us know through their body language if they were content or if something was upsetting them. I loved all my fish. It hurt when they passed. I also believe that individual fish has unique personalities, just like other animals.

I also agree that most people you find in pet stores selling fish know very little about their upkeep. I don't agree with keeping fish in a small tank or bowl or vase. That is why I only every owned medium to large aquariums and would never go smaller.