Bloated Molly with downward pointing anal fin
1. What is the size of your tank? 29 gallons
2. What are your water parameters? State the brand of test kit used. Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20, pH 6.5
3. Is your aquarium set up freshwater or brackish water? Freshwater
4. How long the aquarium has been set up? A very long time, its well established and cycled, not a newbie to that issue, just illnesses and disease outside of the most common or ones I've had to go through previously (which isnt many).
5. What fish do you have? How many are in your tank? How big are they? How long have you had them? I know I am overstocked, but dont think that has anything to do with it...here's the stock in that tank though:
11 male guppies...3 are deltas which makes them about 2 inches and they are full grown. There is a forktailed fancy guppy/endler cross thats about 1.5". There are 4 fancies, ranging from 1 inch to 1.5 inch. There are also three laserbeam guppies about 1.6".
5 neon tetras...just hit an inch this month.
2 male mollies...1 black which is about 3 inches, and the fish in concern which is my dalmation balloon molly who is about the size of a quarter with fins.
6 guppy fry in a breeder net away from open mouths.
10 cories...4 albinos (1 is only just over an inch, while the other three are just over 2 inches) 4 habrosus (1 is just over an inch, the other three are between 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch), and 2 Emeralds (about the same size as the larger albinos).
6. Were the fish placed under quarantine period (minus the first batch from the point wherein the tank is ready to accommodate the inhabitants)? No, I dont have a QT, and even though I should, i dont have any intentions on setting one up, but might next month.
7. What temperature is the tank water currently? 78.5F (100w adjustable heater used)
8. Are there live plants in the aquarium? Yes, there are three. 2 are cryptrocoryne wendtii and the 3rd is mondo grass (partially aquatic, I know).
9. What filter are you using? State brand, maintenance routine and power capacity. I have two on the tank, the first filter is the Marineland Penguin 150 Biowheel, which is 150 gph. The second filter is the AquaClear 50, which is 200 gph. The Marineland has the marineland brand filter cartridges with the active carbon (probably not active as its been about 5 weeks since changed), in it I also have a biobag of Fluval ClearMax. In the AquaClear it has the foam, active carbon, as well as biomax.
10. Any other equipment used (aside from heater and filter which are two very important components of the tank)? I use a small bubble wand/air stone thing for added oxygen and to entertain the fish, lol.
11. Does your aquarium receive natural sunlight at any given part of the day? What is your lighting schedule (assuming you do not rely on sunlight for our viewing pleasure)? No natural light. The lighting schedule is odd, but I make sure to give them at least 12 hours of darkness overnight.
12. When did you perform your last water change and how much water was changed? How often do you change your water? Do you vacuum the substrate? Last water change was today, only did about 10% due to not being able to do my normal 30% because of the fry in the net breeder. Did not vacuum the substrate as I did a full gravel vac about 2.5 weeks ago (also did a good 60% water change at that point). Normal schedule for water changes on this particular tank is usually around a 30% change once every two weeks. If I am able I will do a 15% weekly if the month is slow. If I am busy busy busy, then I will once in a while make due with a monthly 40-50% water change with a gravel vac. Gravel vac usually takes place twice a month, once heavily, once lightly. Water parameters are carefully watched and there are no alterations on them.
13. What foods do you provide your fish? What is the feeding schedule? I am such a bad fish feeder! LOL I know I overfeed them, but I have gotten much better!! Here is the 29 gallon's feeding schedule:
AM: freeze-dried bloodworms (mollies and guppies), 2 small pinches of tropical flakes (mollies, guppies, neons), one small pinch of sinking granuals (for the neons and habrosus cory), 1 hikari veggie round (for the cories), 5-6 sinking bottom feeder shrimp pellets (for the cories and mollies).
PM: 1 pinch flakes, half pinch granuals, 2-3 shrimp pellets
Twice a week in the PM: 3/4 of one cube of frozen brine shrimp first thawed in seperate container of their tank water. (the other 1/4 goes to the smaller tank).
14. What unusual signs have you observed in your fish? My male dalmation balloon molly (whom I have had for like 6+ months) has been through hell and back. About four months ago he had ich, that was treated, and he bounced back and was fine (ich was in small tank, not current tank he is in now). His name is Spot...Spot was fine today swimming, eating, and playing as normal. Then this evening (like 40 minutes ago) I went to go check on my fish (as I do every few hours through out the day)...and Spot was hovering about 2 inches from the gravel between two plants, with his anal fin pointed directly down...as I observed him I noticed he was really bloated in his lower area, like as if he was a pregnant female egglayer (obviously he is a male livebearer). He wouldnt move from where he was...I just checked on him, and he is doing his normal waddle swim but he is still bloated looking, anal fin pointed down like an arrow, and he is swimming slower and not showing interest in playing with the other fish like he normally does.
15. Have you treated your fish ahead of diagnosis? If so, what treatments did you use? State your reasons for planning ahead of proper diagnosis. No prior treatment, just noticed it.
I was thinking maybe he was/is constepated? (spelling?) I would post a pic, but my camera sucks and it would be a blur. This started very suddenly, and about 3 hours after the partial water change. I havent even switched water conditioners, everything is the same as always on the tank as far as water parameters and chemicals. The ONLY really different thing is yesterday, I gave them the frozen brine shrimp for the first time, and Spot was the main one eating them, would it have taken this long to effect him if ate too many? The guppies and cories ate them as well (not as many though) and they are all fine and dandy.
Thanks in advance!!!
Wanted to add that I just checked on Spot, and he is still bloated looking (not as bad as before), but his anal fin is still pointed directly down like an arrow. He is now trying to stay near the top of the tank in the back right hand corner. The possible good news is that he is still eating...Spot is my big eater, he always has a heafty appetite and is willing to eat anything and everything, and will steal food from others...and I am have a suspision that his appetite is what has gotten him sick. I am so hoping that by morning he is fine and it was just the equivilent of a human over eating and having gas or something?!
Spot's bloating went down, anal fin almost back to horizontal as it should be. However, Spot is still sticking to the top area of the tank and isnt playing or swimming a whole lot. He is still eating though.
Any ideas on what was up or is still up?
Spot seemed to be improving very well. This morning he was normal looking, still eating, and active again, even playing with the other fish like he always has.
Then, out of no where, he took a very sudden turn for the worse. Within an hour of playing normally, he was upside down in a plant, dead.
My poor Spot is gone. He was a great little fish. I dont know if there was something really wrong with him, or if he just happened to be old, as I got him full grown about 6+ months ago. He was a lovely fish, and will be missed.
Mollies and guppies(live bearer's in general) do poorly over the long haul in less than alkaline conditions.(see profiles here and elsewhere)
Considering the fish mentioned are capable of living for three or four years or longer,,6 months is not all that long for a mollie.
They also fair better in my expierience(as well as other's) with algae based or vegetable based foods, as opposed to meaty foods like shrimp,bloodworms which can cause bloat in fishes that are largely herbivores.
Mollies will ALWAYS do better ,longer,in hard alkaline water with 12 +degrees GH and ph between 7.5 and 8.0. It is often the difference between fish that live for a few weeks,months,or fish that live for three plus years.
They also do fine without meaty foods and do well with foods like spirulina flake or pellet,Omega one Veggie flakes,New Life spectrum pellets ( contains lot's of veggies,fruits),dried Marine algae,daphnia,and once a week or two ,maybe some plankton, or small mysis shrimp.
Floating plant's also befit the fish by providing infusoria and other microrganisims for fry and adult's to consume.
Keep hard water fish in hard water,and soft water fish in soft water and way less issues present themselves in my expierience.
There were plenty of different foods in the tank for the fish to eat what it wants, including veggie and meat based.
As far as only living for 6 months, I got him full grown, so he could have been 4 years old at that point for all I know. But he is/was the only fish that had an issue. My other molly and my guppies are thriving, and I have had 4 of the guppies for a very long time (WAY before I had Spot). So I dont think the water parameters had anything to do with it.
Whether or not food had a part, I am willing to think about that one. But there was other food options in the tank, he just seemed to always prefer the meat based.
Now, I dont know if it makes any difference but he wasnt a normal balloon molly that you would be able to find naturally in FL or Mexico, he was a hybrid and was slightly disformed, he had the deforming shaping like a Blood Red Parrot does. He was extremely round with his giant dorsal fin and itty bitty side fins (not great on fish anatomy). He always waddled when he swam like a penguin. He was from Petsmart, but was much more round/circular than the other balloons they sell...so I assume he might be more so considered a Pot Bellly Molly? I dont know, I was always concerned about him, but he seemed to be doing well, until I started this thread. And whatever it was hit fast and hard.
Okay, so, I decided to track down the info from my city's water utilities. Their website only offers GH which for where I am at is 135 mg/L and their website says because we have surface water we have moderately hard water. As for pH, I dont know anymore. Like I mentioned, I will be buying the liquid master kit in May (finally), and if I can get my best friend to remember the next time she comes over to bring her solo API liquid pH tester, then I will borrow it and find out once and for all an accurate result.
My tank was cycled and established well before I ran out of liquid for testing, and $30 is a lot for a new kit, and when there are strips for like $7 and you are on a serious budget, it was just easier. pH when the tank was first up was something like 7.0-7.5...maybe 7.8? Dont remember excactly, its been a while.
Anyways, I have no clue why Spot died and frankly, I believe it was an isolated situation specific to him as he is the ONLY fish that has had any issues lately. I think he just generally had a weakened immune system. He also had ich a few months back, and was the only fish with it. I dont know. But he was an entertaining little guy that will be missed.
Believe you may be on to the cause of the balloon mollies demise, They are hybrids, and as such are deformed fish much like the blood parrots, (and other's) and often these fish struggle with all manner of deformities internal,or otherwise.
You will find no balloon mollies in the wild,most are farm raised hybrids of Mollienesia latipinna.
Wild fish are normally Poecilia Velifera or Poecilia latipinna.
One cannot dimisss water chemistry or diet when considering contributer's to ailing fish, add to that deformed specimens,,,and things get even more complicated hence my suggestion of addressing water chemistry first.
I too have moderately hard water that over time in the aquarium, loses some of it's GH through natural bacterial process. It is why I can keep many of the tetra's that would normally fair poorly, and why(I believe), I am unable to keep livebearer's healthy in the long term. The times I have attempted to do so without altering the chemistry ,resulted in shortened lifespan's,poor growth,low birth rates,and low survival rates of fry.
Guppies do however seem to fair fairly well with my water ,perhaps as a result of years of them being farm raised in varying conditions. But even they ,,produce far fewer fry and many of the fry die quickly despite proper diets with three to four small feedings per day.
Plain old mollies will fair much better than deformed specimens (Hybrids) all things being ideal for the species being kept including diet.
African cichlids often become bloated when they consume too much meaty food as opposed to algae or vegetable based foods for they too are largely herbivorus. No one tells the fish it's not supposed to eat too much animal protein. It (they), will happily consume the meaty foods and if not offered in moderation,,they become sick. Same with livebearer's.
Crowded condition's in aquariums also contribute to health issues as well in fishes (ie) excess organics,stunting,competition for food's, with the last one often resulting in too much food being offered in an effort to see that all fish get some which then ,, makes maintaining water quality more difficult than it needs to be.
I do however believe that deformed fish or hybrids will always prove to be way less hardy all things being considered.
Plenty of information out there on species of fish we keep, and we can try vand create suitable conditions's or,,, we can choose to make things difficult by trying to get fishes to conform to our own beliefs/condition's.
Those who choose the latter are often dissapointed with result's.
I found out what the issue was on Spot...took some research and investigating, but now know it was for sure, Dropsy.
Woke up yesterday morning to my endler guppy cross, 'Elmer', dead. And this evening came home to my favorite laserbeam guppy, 'Sunshine', dead. Tested the water for nitrate and nitrites, they havent changed, nor has my ammonia (still 0 ammonia & nitrites, and 20 ppm nitrates...sounds high, but it has been that for the life of the tank, small tank too...tested tap but no nitrates present, and water changes dont seem to help).
So, I have a fear that a Fungus or Bacteria is affecting my tank. I am tired of losing fish, so I bought meds and treated. I got Tetra's Fungus Guard...fizz tabs, clears fungus and bacteria fast...protects against secondaty infection, remedy, and works without raising water temp...or so that is what Tetra claims on the box.
I dropped in 3 tabs, no need to remove carbon as its inactive right now (time for fresh carbon, gonna wait though). Directions say that after 4 days to do a 25% water change and to dose again. It says its safe for all aquarium fish and plants...more concerned with the fish than the 3 plants in the tank.
I just hope it doesnt kill any beneficial bacteria in my tank and cause a mini or re-cycle. Do you think it will?
Here are the ingredients...
Nitrofurazone, Furazolidone, Potassium Dichromate.
I dont have any experience with meds outside of treating Ich... so I feel lost and clueless with this, but am losing fish at a rate that I have never experienced before...and water parameters arent the issue.
Water parameter's ARE the issue in my view.
While your ammonia and nitrites and nitrates are fine, you are attempting to keep hard water fish(guppies,mollies) in moderately hard water which WILL over time ,become moderately soft water which the guppies and mollies don't appreciate.(death)
You can medicate the fish till the cows come home ,but if fishes are stressed by unsuitable chemistry, the symptom's, deaths, will continue.
Do you not find it odd that the tetra's and cory's are not affected? It is possible that the water suits them, and hardness which the mollies and guppies need just isn't there.
If it is livebearer's you wish to keep, then I would consider setting up a tank just for them and might consider adding a 1/3 to 1/4 cup of crushed coral per 20 gal in a mesh bag to the filter and see if fishes (live bearer's) don't do better over the long haul.
You will need to clean or replace the crushed coral evey so often as it becomes coated with mulm,dirt,bacteria,etc while in the flow of water through the filterand becomes as a result,less effective
This method was the only way I was able to keep Lyretailed,High fin Swordtails, and mollies in my ALSO moderately hard water that became moderately soft after a few months.
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