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RackinRocky 05-03-2012 02:43 PM

My Molly is STILL going back and forth
I've posted before about this Dalmation Molly of mine that really has me stumped. I swear she's going to give me a nervous breakdown!

It started out with shimmies. I've read so much on Mollies and shimmies. I've also read that water changes help a lot. Well, this seems to be the case with her--most of the time.

Long story short, sometimes she's shimmies, and other times I find her lying on the subtrate, not moving except for her fins, to keep herself upright instead of going lateral. When this happens, she looks like she's ready to die at any moment. I then do a water change, and before long, she's swimming around again as if nothing had happened, and she'd never been sick. I find I have to do a 20% water change every other day, or she'll be on the substrate again. Once, I had to do the 20% change two days in a row. This morning she was gasping for breath at the top, so I did a water change, with Stress Coat added, as always, and she stopped. She eats as almost as eagerly as the other fish. Right now I'm noticing she seems to be having trouble swimming, as if she's dizzy. She will go vertical, and then right herself after a few seconds. If I were to guess, I'd say she looks a bit neurological. I worked with small animal vets for many years, so I can recognize neurological problems in cats and dogs, etc., but have almost no fish experience except for what I've read here and elsewhere online.

I feed a varied diet of greens (spinach, green beans, peas), bloodworms (freeze dried), frozen brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, reef caviar, tropical flakes with spirilina and occasional freeze dried tubifex worms. I also give algae wafers and crab cuisine for the bottom feeders and she also enjoys that. My ammonia is 0, nitrites 0 and Nitrates hovers around 5ppm. I use an API kit.

I've done as much as I can for her with the exception of adding salt. Can't do that in the tank she's in as I have Kuhli Loaches and Otos in there. Don't have another cycled tank to put her in. I do have a one gallon tank I got as a hospital tank, but I realize its too small. I now realize I should have gotten at least a 3 gallon. I could buy an airstone, and then put her in the 1 gallon, along with salt, (I have aquarium salt) but wouldn't this just stress her out more?

I read up on Molly Bright and Shimmy blocks, but it seems that the majority of posters online have found it doesn't work for their mollies. There are 3 female bettas, a balloon Molly, 2 platies, 3 Kuhli Loaches and 2 Otos in the 20 gallon high tank that she's in, and they all get along perfectly.

What am I doing wrong? The tank has 2 java ferns, a micro sword, an Apon. Crispis (sorry, can't remember how to spell it) and Hornwort. Because of a recent battle with ich, the plants, and especially the Hornwort, are still melting, and its a constant battle with using a turkey baster to try to vac the bottom. There are so many tiny pieces of plants that its unreal. They clog up the filter so that I have to get all the debris off the intake every couple of days and rinse the filter media in old tank water every few days as well. Could this be what is making her act sick? I love having real plants and I know its beneficial to the fish, but what a PITA!

One more thing--how would I know if she has parasites? There are no ich spots on anyone (they showed up first on the otos, and are easy to see on them). How could I treat her for parasites if I don't even know if she has them? And wouldn't that harm the other fish?

Just saw something as I'm typing this--her mouth looks "lopsided" if that makes sense. In looking closer it looks like the right side of her face by her mouth is swollen, which makes her mouth look off center. I sure hope someone can help me find out what is wrong with her and let me know how to help her. Oh, the tank temp is kept at a steady 78-79F. Thank you!

Tazman 05-03-2012 09:48 PM

Can you post a picture of the fish, it would really help to perhaps see what is wrong with it.

Have you tested your tap water for BOTH Ammonia and Nitrate and if so what are the levels.

It could also be that the fish is deformed from a birth defect which may only show up as the fish gets older. Without a picture to possibly see anything you miss in your description it is extremely hard to offer any sort of assistance.

RackinRocky 05-04-2012 01:07 AM

I appreciate your response, Tazman. Honestly, to see a pic of her you'd never know there was anything wrong with her. And I really doubt I could capture her off-center mouth. You know how fast fish move and how hard they are to photograph! At least for me. Plus, the last few times I've tried to post pics here, they never got posted, as I have dial-up and a computer that is 6 yrs. old and does everything incredibly slow. It still hadn't loaded a pic in one hour last time! I have another one coming soon though, thank goodness.

Thru my reading today I'm thinking maybe dropsy or a swim bladder problem. But she doesn't really fit all the way into either catagory. I don't know how to treat her, not knowing what is wrong. Maybe a viral or bacterial infection? Parasites? But there are different medications for different things, so I don't know what to do.

My tap shows no ammonia and 5ppm nitrates the last time I checked it. There is no bend in the fish's body. Only when she's trying to balance herself, but otherwise she's straight like any other Molly I've seen. What you say about a genetic problem just manifesting itself now makes sense to me. I just hope she's not suffering. But I would think she couldn't be THAT uncomfortable, as she's still eating.

RackinRocky 05-04-2012 02:16 AM

I can't figure out how to post the pics, but I've been successful in downloading two pics in my Molly album. One is of her when she was feeling well, and the other I took tonight of her in her hospital tank. PLEASE let me know if you have any ideas of what might be wrong with her. Sorry for the quality of the one photo, but wanted to disturb her as little as possible. Thanks!

RackinRocky 05-04-2012 02:30 PM

Hopefully, things are looking up this morning (I say hopefully because I realize how quickly things can go south again). I'm getting way too attached to this fish! She's such a fighter.

Anyway, I wanted desperately to get her out of that 1 gallon cube with just the heating pad where she spent the night, so I did a water change in my 10 gallon today and took advantage of that by putting 4 gallons of the old water into an 8 gallon Sterilite tub along with a few turkey basters full of debris from the bottom of the 10 gallon tank (which is cycled). Then I added the proper amount of Stress Coat and 4 teaspoons of Aquarium salt (dissolved) to the tub. Then I fill the rest of it up with tap water. Turned on the extra heater I have, and got the extra filter going, and in no time the heater and thermometer showed it was 79F. The filter has been used before but only for about 2 weeks, but it had already been seeded it with a bit of media from an established tank, so hopefully there won't be any bad spikes of ammonia or nitrites.

That's when I put Molly in, along with a small plastic plant. She looks good this morning. Had quite a bit of poop in her one gallon cube last night, so I suppose that's a good sign. Some looked white, some looked more of a tan color. I have not fed her, and I shouldn't for several days, am I right? She doesn't seem to be having much of a balance problem so far today, just ever so slightly, but like I said before, she seems to go back and forth. She is very relieved to have so much more space and is swimming around, exploring. I did notice this morning that some of her scales on her sides do look a bit different. I guess they must be sticking out a bit, though I can't see it when I view her from the top. And when can I safely feed her a shelled pea? I'll be out and about tomorrow. Should I pick up some algae sticks? (I do have the wafers). Does it sound like she has a chance?

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