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Balloon molly help

Discussion in 'Fish Keeping Chat' started by Bex-007, Mar 15, 2019.


  1. Bex-007

    Bex-007 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi my balloon molly hasn’t been looking great for the past three days. I’m struggling to find any information that matches what’s happening with her. She’s been hiding and resting on the bottom of the tank and has gone slightly pail compared to what she used to be. She has also had little clear bubbles appear on her yesterday under her chin but today they are gone but instead there is now one near her eye. Her scales also look almost furry now not smooth. I’ve added a photo of what she looks like now and about a month ago.
    Yesterday I added some aquarium salt and fed her some pea and she seemed to liven up and was swimming about more, compared to the day before where she was just at the bottom of the tank all day. Today she has been resting most of the day again and occasionally laying on her side.
    Does anyone know what might be wrong and if so any advice on how to help? She has always been a very curious fish and always comes straight to the front of the tank to see you if you go near, but not recently :(

    TIA
     

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  2. NaomiM

    NaomiM Love my furry, feathered and finned family

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    Those scales don't look good... It looks like 'pineconing', which is the classic symptom of dropsy. I'm not 100% sure though as I've not experienced it myself - @magpie had a case recently so may be able to advise?

    You could try using unscented Epsom salts to see if it does any good - put the fish in a separate tank or large food-safe container with dechlorinated water that's the same temp as your tank, then add 1 tsp Epsom salt per gallon. But by the time dropsy shows, usually the prognosis isn't good sadly :(

    You need to find the underlying cause as your other fish could potentially be affected too. Do you have a water test kit? If so, could you test for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate and post the results?

    Balloon mollies do tend to be quite susceptible to health issues as they've essentially been bred for a deformity.
     
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  3. Bex-007

    Bex-007 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi, thanks for your reply. I did a water test and the nitrate levels are high, not sure on the best way to fix them. I’ve got a new filter with fluval in it which I have put in the tank to soak so I can swap that over, I can do a water change as well. Is Epsom salt Similar to the aquarium salt? As I have put some of that in, I presume that wouldn’t effect the nitrate levels?
    I’ve added a photo of the stuff in the new filter and the salt I used.
     

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  4. NaomiM

    NaomiM Love my furry, feathered and finned family

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    What was the reading for nitrate? And are ammonia and nitrite both at 0?
    I wouldn't change anything in the filter right now as you don't want to lose any of the good bacteria.
    Epsom salts aren't the same as aquarium salt, they're quite different. You can buy Epsom salts at human pharmacies (make sure you get ones without fragrance or other additives).
     
  5. Bex-007

    Bex-007 PetForums Newbie

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    Nitrate was 160 yesterday and nitrate was 1. Did a water change today with the added aquarium salt. Just checked water again, nitrate is now 80 and nitrite is at 0 so it has improved a bit. My Balloon Molly is still going at the moment but not looking great, been at the bottom of the tank most of the day again. I don’t have anything that I can use to completely separate her, I only have a little breeding box which the tank water can still flow in and out of so I’m not sure if I can use the Epsom salts as it would have to go in the whole tank.
     
  6. NaomiM

    NaomiM Love my furry, feathered and finned family

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    The breeding box is no good. Have you got/can you get one of those big plastic storage boxes? That would work as a hospital tank. They're only a few quid to buy.

    Nitrite of 1 could do some serious harm to your fish, so you need to keep that down. It should be 0 at all times. Aquarium salt might help, but not all fish tolerate it well - do you just have mollies or are there other fish in there? Nitrate of 160 is very high, so you should do some more water changes to get it down to 40 or below.

    As well as the water changes, I'd suggest dosing some Seachem Prime in the main tank every day until you can keep it stable with nitrite at 0 and nitrate below 40. Water tests every day until then too.

    You also need to work out why the levels are high in the first place. How long have you had the tank? How often do you do a water change, and what percentage do you change each time? How do you clean your filter?
     
  7. Bex-007

    Bex-007 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for your help. Unfortunately my molly went belly up today :( her scales did seem to fan out like a pine cone so I wonder if it was dropsy like you said.
    So far the other fish all look healthy and are swimming about as normal. I have swordtails, neon, molly, platty and corydoras.

    We have had the tank about two years, we had issues with the nitrate levels when we first got the tank and couldn’t put fish in it for about a month, then it settled and we added neons to begin with and since then the levels have been fine, until recently, so I’m not sure what could be causing it.

    I will do some more water changes and keep testing the water. I normally do a 10% water change once a week or sometimes a 20% change once a fortnight with using the gravel cleaner and cleaning the tank ornaments.
    I wash the filter under cold water tap then soak it in water that has had the tap water conditioner put in, before putting it back in the tank.
     
  8. NaomiM

    NaomiM Love my furry, feathered and finned family

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    Sorry about your molly.

    This is your problem. The chlorine in the tap water kills all the good bacteria in the filter, meaning that the cycle has to start all over again each time you do this, causing ammonia spikes followed by nitrite spikes as the cycle progresses.

    Filters need very little cleaning, apart from a weekly clean of the white wool pad and replacing this as necessary. The rest of the media should only be cleaned if it's getting clogged up and slowing down the flow, in which case it should just be given a gentle swish in a bucket of old tank water. NOTHING in the filter, including the wool pad, should EVER be cleaned in untreated tapwater.

    As far as the nitrate goes, it sounds like your 10% weekly water changes aren't enough. How big is the tank, and how many fish do you have of each type? The usual water change regime for a fully stocked tank is normally 20-30% weekly. If it's not being changed enough, nitrate will build up over time.
     
  9. Bex-007

    Bex-007 PetForums Newbie

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    Ah ok I will make sure to only clean it in tank water in future. I don’t clean it out like that every time, I have only ever done it when it’s been clogged up, so it’s not been done too often luckily. Normally I just give the out side a quick clean over when it’s grimy.
    It’s not fully stocked at the moment, currently there are 3 swordtails, 3 corydoras, 1 neon, 1 molly and one platty. We did have more neons etc but a few have died over time. It’s a 70 litre tank. Do you think i should do 20% every time for this size then?
     
  10. NaomiM

    NaomiM Love my furry, feathered and finned family

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    Actually you're pretty much fully stocked: http://www.aqadvisor.com/AqAdvisor....AqSpeciesWindowSize=short&AqSearchMode=simple
    Swordtails and mollies are a bit big for your tank tbh. And the fact your nitrate is getting so high shows you need to do bigger changes. While nitrite is present over 0.25 you ought to be doing daily 50% water changes anyway, so this should also help to get the nitrate down. Once it's stabilized, I'd look at changing around 30% per week.
     
  11. Bex-007

    Bex-007 PetForums Newbie

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    Ok I will start doing that. Thanks for all your help :)
     
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