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Please help with balloon Molly!

Discussion in 'Welcome: Introduce Yourself & Learn More About TFF' started by Gail Marot, Aug 2, 2019.

  1. Gail Marot

    Gail Marot New Member

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    I inherited some fish a few months ago when a tenant left them in January. This is new to me. There were four and 2 died early on. One molly and a catfish, don't know which species about 3.5-4in. long. I am conscientious about water quality. right now. pH 6.8 amonia0 nitrite and nitrate 0. My really cute "Bubble" has stayed mostly on bottom of tank for 4 days now. She is able to swim up to eat and gets excited when she sees me. She'll eat and go back down. Yesterday I noticed one eye swollen. Today it seems even more so. I've talked to a few people at Petco and searched online. I really love this little guy. Please help if you can! TY Gail
     
  2. Byron

    Byron Member

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    If the pH is on the acidic side (6.8, anything below 7 is acidic) this is not going to bode well for the molly. This species needs moderately hard water with a basic (above 7) pH. The GH is crucial as this is the source of minerals this fish requires and cannot get by means other than assimilating the dissolved mineral from the water entering the fish.

    Do you know the GH of your source (tap) water?
     
  3. Gail Marot

    Gail Marot New Member

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    Is GH hardness? I use tap water treated with api stress zyme and stress coat I let is sit for 24 hrs at least before using.I added sea salt dissolved separately in a container (used just for fish) to which some tank water was added. the pH was lower. I know not to raise pH too quickly. Salt was added early eve yesterday.
     
  4. Gail Marot

    Gail Marot New Member

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  5. Byron

    Byron Member

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    GH is the general or total hardness of water. It is basically the level of dissolved calcium and magnesium in the water. Salt does not affect GH.

    While salt is often suggested for a remedy with mollies, it is not going to help when the GH is soft. You haven't given the GH number, but the acidic pH suggests the water is not on the hard side, and this is the issue with mollies (indeed all livebearers, mollies especially sensitive to soft water).

    Do not mess with the pH. First, this is tied to the GH and KH and unless those are adjusted the pH will not budge permanently. And fluctuating pH is very stressful and damaging to fish.

    It is the GH we must know here, and then look at options. We also need to pin down what the "catfish" is, as it is likely suited to softer water and increasing hardness may harm it.

    EDIT. Your edit in post #4 appeared after I posted. As mentioned above, the GH and KH are connected. Using pH adjusting chemicals will temporarily increase the pH but within 24 hours (or less) the GH/KH return the pH to where it was, depending upon their level. And these adjusting chemicals are not easy on fish aside from their effectiveness or lack thereof.

    You can purchase mineral salts (these are salts of minerals like calcium and magnesium, not "common" salt sodium chloride which is what sea salt and aquarium salt is), or you can use a calcareous substrate (like aragonite sand). But this will not be appreciated by any soft water fish, and we still do not know the catfish species. And the tank size...mollies need spacious tanks.
     
    #5 Byron, Aug 2, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2019
  6. Gail Marot

    Gail Marot New Member

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    I have no idea how to check this. Can you tell me please?
     
  7. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Check the website of your municipal water authority, they often post water data and the GH may be included. Or call them and ask, but make sure you get not just the number but their unit of measure (mg/l, ppm, degrees, etc).

    Some stores will test GH; make sure again you get the number and the unit. Vague terms like "moderate" don't tell you/us anything.

    There is a test kit for GH/KH made by API, but I don't like suggesting you buy this if you only need to use it the once.
     
  8. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Hi and welcome to the forum :)

    Any chance of a picture and short 20 second video of the fish and tank?
    If the pictures are too big for the website, set the camera's resolution to its lowest setting and take some more. The lower resolution will make the images smaller and they should fit on this website. Check the pictures on your pc and find a couple that are clear and show the problem, and post them here. Make sure you turn the camera's resolution back up after you have taken the pics otherwise all your pictures will be small.

    If the video is too big for this website, post it on YouTube and copy & paste the link here. We can view it at YouTube. If you are using a mobile phone to take the video, have the phone horizontal so the video takes up the entire screen. If you have the phone vertical, you get video in the middle and black on either side.

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    What are the tank dimensions (length x width x height)?

    The GH (general hardness), KH (carbonate hardness), and pH of your water supply can usually be obtained from your water supply company's website or by telephoning them. If they can't help you, take a glass full of tap water to the local pet shop and get them to test it for you. Write the results down (in numbers) when they do the tests. And ask them what the results are in (eg: ppm, dGH, or something else).

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    How often do you do water changes and how much water do you change?
    Do you gravel clean the substrate when you do a water change?
    Do you dechlorinate the new water before adding it to the tank?

    What sort of filter is on the tank?
    How often do you clean the filter and how do you clean it?

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    Do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate every day for the next 2 weeks or until we work out what is going on. Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

    Clean the filter if it hasn't been done in the last 2 weeks. Wash filter media in a bucket of tank water and re-use it.
     
  9. Gail Marot

    Gail Marot New Member

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    I have been on the town's website. It does not post information . I called and they are closed since 2pm for the weekend. I can see if there is a test kit at Petco. My tank is ten gallon, I've had the 2 fish since Jan 19, they were in a 3 gal or so dirty tank in an unheated apartment. The water was filthy and no heat 2 fish were dead. I took them and over a weeks time transitioned them into a 10 gal tank. Trying to grow aquarium plants, algae and generally learning from my many mistakes. I've been working on the present problem 4 days straight. Taken advice from various Petco employees. Ive done 25% water change 4 days ago, changed filter yesterday. The filter is Aqua Tech. I have pics and I can only send from my phone. Up until 4 days ago I thought my Balloon Molly was a puffer fish.
     
  10. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Normally you only check the GH and KH a couple of times a year. I don't recommend buying a GH or KH test kit unless you really want them because most shops will test the water for you and it will be cheaper than buying the kits, which you only use a couple of times a year.

    If you do want to buy test kits, check the expiry date on them and keep them in a cool dry place, away from direct sunlight.

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    Algae grows from excess light or excess nutrients, or lack of live plants.

    You can try reducing the lighting period and doing more water changes. Adding more live plants to the tank can help because they use the light and nutrients so the algae doesn't.
     
  11. Byron

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    Colin and I are on basically the same page.

    Something I missed earlier, is that balloon mollies (like all "balloon" fish) are severely handicapped to begin with. The cruel process used to obtain the balloon shape damages the fish (swim bladder and digestive problems) and this is permanent and often leads to increased issues down the road. Everything until you acquired this fish was against it, so it is miraculous it even survived this long. But don't expect it to continue, all of these things from the deformed spine, soft water, previous unhealthy water...all leave permanent "marks" on a fish's metabolism and physiology.

    It should be illegal for stores to sell "balloon" fish, but as that is just wishful dreaming those of us in the hobby do not need to ever buy them, and in time these cruel and frankly inhumane practices may cease.
     
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  12. Gail Marot

    Gail Marot New Member

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    I agree I'm learning more sad things by the day. I can get a test kit I think at Petco. What can I do with this information, is it easy to get the mineral salts? The cat fish does not seem troubled at all they live in peace this I am 100% sure of. I just want to help this innocent little creature.
     
  13. Byron

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    You need to ID the catfish. It is not a question of them getting along, it is what the catfish "needs" in water parameters and such compared to what the molly needs.

    Something should be said about treatments/medications, just so you know. Unless one is near-certain of the issue, it is best not to treat for "possibles" as any substances added to the water affect all fish negatively, adding even more stress. Unless the "cure" medication is exactly what is needed, and the issue affects the fish's life, it is best to do as Colin suggested...clean water and peace.

    Now, that is different from the water parameters which should always be those the fish requires to function normally. I do not know if this is "the" problem, but it is most certainly a factor in weakening the molly.
     
  14. Gail Marot

    Gail Marot New Member

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  15. Gail Marot

    Gail Marot New Member

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    I attempted to upload video to youtube. Not sure if it went.
     

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