Molly with distended stomach upside down in tank

  1. r_masetti Initiate Member

    Fed my fish this morning as usual and when I went past the tank a few hours later my big molly was upside down with a distended stomach. I have had all my fish about 3 years now have only lost 2 silver sharks (they were on a death wish kept jumping out of the tank). So presently have 2 x clown loach, 2 x mollies and 3 leopard catfish. Upgraded to this larger tank about 6 months ago haven't had any problems change out 1 third to hal a tank monthly clean filter system fortnightly add ammonia detoxifier week to ten days, water conditioner around the same time. Also his mate is constantly at him (while he is upside down) is that because it's trying to stimulate activity or because it's 'pecking' please help (though I think I have lost him he's not looking to good! Ren
  2. iloveengl Well Known Member Member

    Hello Ren. I'm sorry you're having troubles.

    Do you know your water parameters? It would help us give more accurate advice if you could test the water and tell us ammonia, nitrIte, and nitrAte readings. Has your tank completed the nitrogen cycle?

    I wonder if they are suffering a build up of ammonia poisoning. Fish will pick at weaker fish; if you can separate the sick one, it might aid recovery. For the moment, I suggest a 50% water change with ammonia detoxifier asap. Weird question, but have you seen your molly poop?

    Here some info on your clown loaches; unfortunately they may be suffering stunted growth from living in an undersized tank:

    :-\ Hopefully we can get your fishies back in good shape.

  3. r_masetti Initiate Member

    Ok, here goes...have done a water change of about 30 litres, cleaned filter checked pH level its around 6.6 don't have any testing stuff for nitrates. Tank is a 90 litre, the fish have been growing well my loaches were tiny went I first got them they are now around 12-15cms long, the mollies are about 8-10 cms long. Here's the weird thing, in the other tank though smaller and cleaned more frequently never I had never checked pH or anything else and they were there for at least 2 years ( I think I was bery fortunate indeed) - My mlly is not looking very good at all I think he is one his last legs (or fins in this case) so sad...Oh and no I haven;t seen it poop but haven't watched to closely I must admit he was even looking sick until a few hours ago
  4. Aquarist Fishlore Legend Member

    Hello Rmasetti and Welcome to Fish Lore. Have you seen your Molly have a bowel movement? You spoke of it being a male and not a female so I'm thinking the fish may be constipated. If you can post a photo it would help a great deal. If it is male and constipated try feeding him some thawed, shelled, frozen peas. Peas act as a laxative and may relieve the problem. Cut them to the size of one of the fishes eyes.

    If your fish is female with a prolapsed uterus then I believe mother nature is just going to have to take its course.

    Best of luck. I hope your Molly is going to be ok. Keep us posted.

  5. iloveengl Well Known Member Member

    :( I'm so sorry your molly is so ill. :( Hopefully the water change will help. If it's just constipation then it may be reversible. Try to separate him if you can, so no one picks at him.

    The frequent water changes in the smaller tank were probably what was helping the fish survive before, and it may help stave off more illness if you bump them up to more frequent changes for your big tank. Side note: The chlorine of tap water will kill any good bacteria on your filter cartridges, so it's best to just rinse it off in siphoned tank water.

    I'll keep my fingers crossed for your molly. :console: I know it's heartbreaking when we can't do more to help them.
  6. r_masetti Initiate Member

    Thank you all for you advise, unfortunately my molly has died,:(
    I only use filtered water because the chlorine in our water in this area is high.
    thanks again for your help Ren

    Question: how can you tell whether you molly is a female or male?
  7. iloveengl Well Known Member Member

  8. Aquarist Fishlore Legend Member

    Rmasetti so sorry you lost the Molly. I know this may sound bad but did it look like part of the fishes insides were hanging out or was it a swollen stomach? If part of the insides were hanging out then it was a prolapsed uterus. (more than likely) With some fish this just happens and there is nothing we can do. Sometimes it cures itself but most of the time it doesn't.
    Again I'm sorry for your loss. I know it isn't easy.
  9. r_masetti Initiate Member

    Ah, cool thanks iloveengl, I guess I have (had) 2 fellas then...Is that why one was much, much bigger than the other, you know only one boss kinda thing?
  10. r_masetti Initiate Member

    aquarist48, no no insides outside, but very bloated tummy around his lower belly though, it looked kind of 'prickly' if that makes sense

  11. Aquarist Fishlore Legend Member

    Thanks for your response Rmasetti. It sounds like your fish may have had a case of dropsy. Did it look like the scales had pine coned? Here is a link you may find helpful in diagnosing your fish.
  12. iloveengl Well Known Member Member

    The prickly look is often called "pine cone" and it can occur when they are bloated or have dropsy.

    Dropsy is a symptom of other problems, not a disease itself. See Ken's link.

    Bloating is a symptom of constipation, which is why I asked about him pooping. Mollies are notorious over-eaters and they will eat themselves to death. Freeze-dried foods and not enough vegetable foods will also cause constipation. (Mollies are primarily vegetarians.) If they don't poop, it puts pressure on their swim bladder, and then they do that vertical/upside down thing. The pine cone look may be because their bellies are so bloated it makes their scales pop. :( You may want to reduce their food and try feeding them a slice of zucchini or cucumber now and then.

    If your other molly starts to show the same symptoms, try fasting them on thawed, shell-less peas. It will help them clear their digestive track.

    I'm sorry we couldn't save your molly in time. Hopefully it was constipation, not dropsy, and everyone else is okay. :(
  13. r_masetti Initiate Member

    thanks again iloveengl & aquarist48, will keep an eye on my other molly, I just pray that it was an isolated thing and will not affect the other guys in the tank...
  14. Aquarist Fishlore Legend Member

    Hello Rmasetti. Glad to help when we can. Sometimes it isn't always possible. One tip I would like to add is: if you're doing your water change once a month, I suggest doing it weekly instead. It will help to reduce changes in pH and help with ammonia issues should they arise. Keep and eye on your water chemistry levels. (ammonia, nitrite and nitrate)
    Best wishes!
  15. kribensis keeper Member Member

    may have an air bubble try seperating him from the other so he does not pass it on and see how he goes hope things go well