Molly Has Hole in Side - Help!!!

WorriedFishMom

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Hi All, I'm brand new here. My beautiful yellow dalmatian molly, Champa, has a big hole on the side. I first noticed some white mass last night. I searched everywhere and am unsure what it could be. I ordered some aquarium salt as I found that it could assist with wounds. Today, the white mass turned into a white/gray clump sticking out of what looks like a deep wound. Champa is in a 5 gallon tank alone and I've dosed a tbsp of aquarium salt. Nitrate, nitrite and ammonia levels are 0. There's no changing activity level and he/she is eating normally.

I've added images of the wound. Any help at all is appreciated! This is my first post so I'm not sure I've given enough info, but am happy to provide any additional information needed.
 

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Colin_T

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Hi and welcome to the forum :)

That looks like a hole in the side of the body and part or the muscle tissue or guts sticking out.

In the second picture with the fin out, the entire area looks infected. It might have an internal infection or there is a parasite inside the fish, which has chewed its way out. Yes it sounds like something from Alien but happens in fish too. They pick up worms that get lost in the body and chew their way through the fish until they come out.

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You can try salt but you need a higher dose rate (at least 2 heaped tablespoons of rock salt (aquarium salt) for every 20 litres (5 gallons) of water. If you only have mollies in the tank you can double that dose rate, but if there's no improvement on the fish's side after 24 hours, then it probably won't help.

You might need something to treat bacteria, a broad spectrum fish medication that contains something like Acriflavine, Methylene Blue and Formaldehyde might help but might not make any difference. Same deal with anti-biotics, they might help but might not.

The cheapest and easiest option is to euthanise the fish. Probably not something you really want to hear, but when fish get holes in their bodies, they don't normally heal up and the fish usually dies within a few days.

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If you do want to try and treat the fish, move the fish into a separate glass tank so you don't need as much medication, and so you don't expose the other fishes to chemicals.
 
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WorriedFishMom

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Thanks so much, Colin! I'll double up the aquarium salt and see if that helps as I don't have medications on me right now - and the impending snow storm is going to delay access to getting some.

Right now the fish is alone in its own tank. I've had the fish for about 6 months and purchased it from a large chain pet store. Is it possible that the fish could have already been infected when purchased - or could it be something I must have done wrong in the time that I've had it?

The fish is still behaving normally and is as active as usual. I am going to keep an eye on it over the next few days. If its health declines, then unfortunately I'll euthanize. In the event that that happens, what should I do to the tank to make sure it is all clear and safe for a new habitant?
 

Colin_T

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Depending on what caused the problem, if it's a bacterial infection, the fish might have developed that while in your care. However, Fish Tuberculosis (fish TB) can stay in a fish for months or even years before it damages internal organs and kills the fish. Please note, this does not appear to be fish TB.

If it is a parasitic worm, then the fish probably contracted it in Asia before it was sent to America. The worm larvae would have grown for a period of time, maybe 6-12 months, and has now popped out.

Bacterial infections usually stop fish from eating, so this might be from a parasitic worm. There is unlikely to be any other parasitic worms in the tank because most need another host to grow onto maturity.

If there are no other fish in the tank and you only have the one molly left, you can wash the tank out and start again using the same equipment you have. Don't wash the filter media under tap water. Just rinse it in a bucket of tank or dechlorinated water and re-use the media. Set the tank back up with fresh water and dechlorinator. Let it run for a few days and then add some new fish. The filter bacteria should be fine as long as you don't get carried away washing it under the tap. The filter case and impellor assembly (magnet with plastic blades on one end) can be washed under tap water.

If you do have other fish in the tank, just do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate every day for a week. This will remove most of the disease organisms in the water and give the remaining fish the best chance of surviving.

You can also wash the filter out in a bucket of tank water and re-use the media. Tip the bucket of dirty water on the lawn.

In the mean time, monitor all remaining fish for unusual patches, spots and weird things and hope that no more get sick :)
 
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WorriedFishMom

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Thank you so so much for your help with this. The aquarium salts seem to be working and the hole is getting smaller. I'll keep monitoring the fish, but for now, it is still super active and still eats!
 

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