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!