Molly rocking when she swims?

SavTheArtist

My female dalmatian molly, Dina, is swimming a bit oddly.

She is not glass surfing, she is not spazzing out/very active.

She is just moseying around like normal, but when she swims her body rocks back and forth slightly.

Tank

What is the water volume of the tank? 40 gallon bowfront
How long has the tank been running? several months
Does it have a filter? yes
Does it have a heater? yes
What is the water temperature? 77 F
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) 8 mollies, 1 guppy, 1 platy, 1 BN, 2 kuhli loaches

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? once a week
How much of the water do you change? 40%
What do you use to treat your water? Seachem Prime
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? Vacuum

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? Yes
What do you use to test the water? Runbo test strips
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0-5 (its a well planted tank)
pH:7.5

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? Twice a day
How much do you feed your fish? a few pinches
What brand of food do you feed your fish? TopFin tropical flakes, Tetra Plecowafers, Omega 1 shrimp pellets
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? Occassionally freeze dried bloodworms (scarcely)

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? Almost a year
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? 2 days
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? Rocking back and forth slightly when swimming
Have you started any treatment for the illness? No
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? Small missing patch of scales on her side, fully healed now
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? Nothing aside from the swimming

It doesn't seem urgent or painful to her- Just wondering what it could be?
 

SavTheArtist

I should add, I don't think it's the shimmies because none of the other 7 mollies are doing it.
 
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CosmicFish

It could be a bit of constipation causing a slight swim bladder issue or a small internal bacterial infection. I had a Dalmatian Molly named Skippy also do the rocking motion you describe. He, however, had other definite issues including unable to swim straight, having trouble swimming downward and the like. So he had a pretty good cause of a swim bladder issue. I pulled him out and put him in a separate tank where I fasted him for 2 days and then fed some shelled pees. I also added a little bit of aquarium salt (below treatment recommendations, I was just giving him a bit of electrolyte support) and in about a week or 2, he recovered and is now a happy Molly again.

For you, I would maybe fast your tank for a day or 2, let them clear out their digestive systems. Then maybe feed them some shelled peas (it’s a good food for all of them anyways lol) and see how your little girl responds. I don’t think you need to isolate her or anything yet unless you notice other issues cropping up too or if this gets worse.
 
Upvote 0

SavTheArtist

It could be a bit of constipation causing a slight swim bladder issue or a small internal bacterial infection. I had a Dalmatian Molly named Skippy also do the rocking motion you describe. He, however, had other definite issues including unable to swim straight, having trouble swimming downward and the like. So he had a pretty good cause of a swim bladder issue. I pulled him out and put him in a separate tank where I fasted him for 2 days and then fed some shelled pees. I also added a little bit of aquarium salt (below treatment recommendations, I was just giving him a bit of electrolyte support) and in about a week or 2, he recovered and is now a happy Molly again.

For you, I would maybe fast your tank for a day or 2, let them clear out their digestive systems. Then maybe feed them some shelled peas (it’s a good food for all of them anyways lol) and see how your little girl responds. I don’t think you need to isolate her or anything yet unless you notice other issues cropping up too or if this gets worse.
Thank you so much for the advice! Dina means a lot to me and I'd like to help her live the longest life possible.

I recently fasted the whole tank for 2 and a half days- but to no avail. No improvement in my girl

I have since been feeding less at each feeding time now.

I am very sad to announce that her condition is worsening significantly. It has me very upset as I'm unsure of what to do.

She is now swimming tilted upwards along with the rocking, and she is sinking rather constantly when she isn't moving. She just lays on her belly at the bottom of the tank.

She has been hiding behind my spiderwood and hiding in the back corner, away from all the other fish. She still gets excited and comes up to interact when I walk up to the tank, though!

She is still eating.

Synopsis: I tried fasting with no results, and her condition is getting worse. She is rocking, swimming tilted, and sinking, along with hiding.

Hypothesis: I think it may be some sort of swim bladder problem, as none of the other fish are exhibiting any odd behaviours.

Another one of my ideas is that she may just be, sadly, inbred. I did purchase her at my local Petsmart so it is highly likely that she may just be unhealthy internally and not well in general.

Is there anything I can do?

She is in my 40g ^^ details in the first post
 
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SavTheArtist

I should add that she seems to be avoiding the other fish.
 
Upvote 0

CosmicFish

Thank you so much for the advice! Dina means a lot to me and I'd like to help her live the longest life possible.

I recently fasted the whole tank for 2 and a half days- but to no avail. No improvement in my girl

I have since been feeding less at each feeding time now.

I am very sad to announce that her condition is worsening significantly. It has me very upset as I'm unsure of what to do.

She is now swimming tilted upwards along with the rocking, and she is sinking rather constantly when she isn't moving. She just lays on her belly at the bottom of the tank.

She has been hiding behind my spiderwood and hiding in the back corner, away from all the other fish. She still gets excited and comes up to interact when I walk up to the tank, though!

She is still eating.

Synopsis: I tried fasting with no results, and her condition is getting worse. She is rocking, swimming tilted, and sinking, along with hiding.

Hypothesis: I think it may be some sort of swim bladder problem, as none of the other fish are exhibiting any odd behaviours.

Another one of my ideas is that she may just be, sadly, inbred. I did purchase her at my local Petsmart so it is highly likely that she may just be unhealthy internally and not well in general.

Is there anything I can do?

She is in my 40g ^^ details in the first post

I’m sorry to hear that little Dina hasn’t gotten any better!
Do you have a separate tank you can put her in? I think it’s time to pull her out and start looking into treating her for other things. You can also look into moving a buddy in with her as well that won’t bully her around but provide some company.
My Skippy did not really respond to the fasting either so I started to lean towards the possibility of an internal bacterial infection. I’m kind of leaning towards that with Dina as well, though swim bladder issues can be the result of various different things.

This is what I did exactly with Skippy who had the same issue:
- I moved Skippy into a different tank and did daily water changes to keep the water very clean.
- I fed Skippy a high quality diet. So mainly a lot of peas that were cooked and shelled along with some bits of normal food too. I soaked any of the dry foods in water first before feeding. This was mainly just to get him to stop eating from the surface where I worried that the intake of air and the expansion of dry food in his belly was not helping the situation.
- I treated Skippy with some API general cure in an attempt to see if it was indeed a bacterial infection. If you have some general fish medication, you can try it. I didn’t have this at the time of Skippy’s swim bladder issue, but if I were to do this again, I would try using SeaChem Metroplex or Kanaplex and mix it in food and feed it to the Molly. For an internal bacterial infection, I feel that ingesting the medication would lead to better results.
- Finally, I added aquarium salt to the tank. To me, I found that Skippy was the most responsive to this (though it may just be the combination of everything listed above in the end).

It did take Skippy a while to come back from his swim bladder issue. I even thought I was going to lose him for a bit since he got very lifeless at times. But after about 10-14 days, I did see improvement and now he’s good as gold today.

While the issue could be inbreeding(just considering the nature of Mollies and how easily they breed), I think you would have seen this kind of issue crop up a lot sooner. I think try some of these techniques and see how Dina responds. I think there’s still a fighting chance to get her upright and normal again!
 
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SavTheArtist

I’m sorry to hear that little Dina hasn’t gotten any better!
Do you have a separate tank you can put her in? I think it’s time to pull her out and start looking into treating her for other things. You can also look into moving a buddy in with her as well that won’t bully her around but provide some company.
My Skippy did not really respond to the fasting either so I started to lean towards the possibility of an internal bacterial infection. I’m kind of leaning towards that with Dina as well, though swim bladder issues can be the result of various different things.

This is what I did exactly with Skippy who had the same issue:
- I moved Skippy into a different tank and did daily water changes to keep the water very clean.
- I fed Skippy a high quality diet. So mainly a lot of peas that were cooked and shelled along with some bits of normal food too. I soaked any of the dry foods in water first before feeding. This was mainly just to get him to stop eating from the surface where I worried that the intake of air and the expansion of dry food in his belly was not helping the situation.
- I treated Skippy with some API general cure in an attempt to see if it was indeed a bacterial infection. If you have some general fish medication, you can try it. I didn’t have this at the time of Skippy’s swim bladder issue, but if I were to do this again, I would try using SeaChem Metroplex or Kanaplex and mix it in food and feed it to the Molly. For an internal bacterial infection, I feel that ingesting the medication would lead to better results.
- Finally, I added aquarium salt to the tank. To me, I found that Skippy was the most responsive to this (though it may just be the combination of everything listed above in the end).

It did take Skippy a while to come back from his swim bladder issue. I even thought I was going to lose him for a bit since he got very lifeless at times. But after about 10-14 days, I did see improvement and now he’s good as gold today.

While the issue could be inbreeding(just considering the nature of Mollies and how easily they breed), I think you would have seen this kind of issue crop up a lot sooner. I think try some of these techniques and see how Dina responds. I think there’s still a fighting chance to get her upright and normal again!
Thank you again!

I sadly do not have an extra tank on hand, and no room for another one even if I did.

The only medication I have currently is pimafix, and seeing as I am young, I do not have the money to buy kanaplex or anything of the sort
Would pimafix do anything?

I can try feeding peas- I'm assuming that canned peas have too much sodium?

I do not have any aquarium salt on hand- but I have a fishkeeper friend next door who might. I'll ask.

She actually has been something like this the whole time I've had her! She is smaller than my other girls, often is slow and 'moseys' around. She also keeps her fins clamped a lot of the time despite pristine water conditions and no illness. She also hangs out in the back a lot, just hovering by the heater, whether it's on or not. She also 'kisses' the heater repeatedly. This leads me to believe that it may partially be due to bad genetics. I've always just sort of put it off as nothing- just the way that she acts, y'know? But I am sadly coming to realize that she may be unwell due to that.
 
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SavTheArtist

She seems slightly better today, a little less tilted when she swims and a bit more active. She is still rocking and hiding, though.

also still eating.
 
Upvote 0

CosmicFish

She seems slightly better today, a little less tilted when she swims and a bit more active. She is still rocking and hiding, though.

also still eating.

Alright, so we will handle with what we got. Pimafix will sadly not help in this situation since it is aimed at fungal infections which i don’t think this is what we are dealing with.

You can definitely ask your fishkeeper neighbor for some aquarium salt, however, since you have a planted aquarium with critters like loaches and a Pleco, I would be hesitant on this (since there is no separate tank we can put Dina in). Plants and those fish are sensitive to salt, it irritates them. I’ve added aquarium salt to planted tanks with these kind of fish in them just fine, but i had to do a lower dosage amount. So maybe for the sake of sanity, we avoid the salt for now.

But I would still do the peas! I’ve done canned peas before with no issues, just rinse them thoroughly. Boil the peas for about 20 mins and then peel the skin and feed it to your tank. It’s a tasty treat for everyone in the tank anyway. You can feed that to them for a few days and see how it helps Dina.

Keep us posted.
 
Upvote 0

SavTheArtist

Alright, so we will handle with what we got. Pimafix will sadly not help in this situation since it is aimed at fungal infections which i don’t think this is what we are dealing with.

You can definitely ask your fishkeeper neighbor for some aquarium salt, however, since you have a planted aquarium with critters like loaches and a Pleco, I would be hesitant on this (since there is no separate tank we can put Dina in). Plants and those fish are sensitive to salt, it irritates them. I’ve added aquarium salt to planted tanks with these kind of fish in them just fine, but i had to do a lower dosage amount. So maybe for the sake of sanity, we avoid the salt for now.

But I would still do the peas! I’ve done canned peas before with no issues, just rinse them thoroughly. Boil the peas for about 20 mins and then peel the skin and feed it to your tank. It’s a tasty treat for everyone in the tank anyway. You can feed that to them for a few days and see how it helps Dina.

Keep us posted.
Update time!

I am sad to say that I fed only peas for around 1 and a half weeks with no improvement whatsoever. She is still tilted, rocking, and sinking.

I should also add that despite eating plenty and such- she is skinny and much smaller than her gal pals, who were purchased at the same time as her.

Another problem I realized could be affecting her is that she recently had her 2-3 round of babies. Could something have gone wrong with the birth and caused this?

Avoiding salt for now- haven't done anything but the peas and WCs.

I have since switched back to flakes, seeing as peas took extra prep time and weren't helping.
 
Upvote 0

SavTheArtist

Alright, so we will handle with what we got. Pimafix will sadly not help in this situation since it is aimed at fungal infections which i don’t think this is what we are dealing with.

You can definitely ask your fishkeeper neighbor for some aquarium salt, however, since you have a planted aquarium with critters like loaches and a Pleco, I would be hesitant on this (since there is no separate tank we can put Dina in). Plants and those fish are sensitive to salt, it irritates them. I’ve added aquarium salt to planted tanks with these kind of fish in them just fine, but i had to do a lower dosage amount. So maybe for the sake of sanity, we avoid the salt for now.

But I would still do the peas! I’ve done canned peas before with no issues, just rinse them thoroughly. Boil the peas for about 20 mins and then peel the skin and feed it to your tank. It’s a tasty treat for everyone in the tank anyway. You can feed that to them for a few days and see how it helps Dina.

Keep us posted.
I am very sad to say that last night, Dina passed away peacefully. She had been struggling with this for several weeks and just wasn't improving- it was hard to watch her. I just wish there was something more I could've done.

Her legacy lives on though, in her 4 daughters. Octavia (the oldest) is already huge and thriving. Dina won't be forgotten ;(
 
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