How to Cure Swim Bladder Disease in Molly Fish?

Is your Molly fish swimming upside down? It can be really worrisome if your fish starts to swim upside down. This article provides all reasons why your Molly fish might be swimming upside down.

Molly fish usually swim upside down due to a problem in their swim bladder known as swim bladder disease. In this condition, a fish’s ability to control its buoyancy (tendency to float on water) is weakened.

Swim Bladder Function

The swim bladder lies deep within a fish’s body as an offshoot of the digestive tube. It is a gas-filled organ that allows it to control its buoyancy. It can also be used as an advanced lung for the fish to survive on land.

Swim Bladder Disease

A fish has trouble maintaining its level in the water and can sink to the bottom of the tank or can be stuck near the top. They can even roll upside down.

Swim Bladder Disease

1. Causes

A few things which contribute to this disease are as follows:

  • Genetics

This disease can be genetic in some fish. Especially in those born from interbreeding. It can also be inherited. If any of the parents of the fish have swim bladder disease then there is an increased chance that their children will have it.

  • Nutritional Deficiency

Excess protein consumption is another reason why your Molly fish may have this disease. Consuming a lot of protein can promote muscle overgrowth hindering their ability to control their movement in the water.

Moreover, a deficiency of nutrients can make your Molly fish weak. So, the fish either starts eating food rapidly or starts overeating the tank waste. This affects the swim bladder and causes a disorder.

  • Poor water quality

This disease is most likely to happen because of poor water quality because swim bladders are very sensitive and cannot adapt quickly to changes in the environment. These are some of the issues in the water that might make your Molly fish weak:

  • Pollution in the tank
  • Lack of oxygen
  • Disturbances in water condition

So, ensuring good quality water is really important for the health of your Molly fish.

  • Bacterial infection

Mollies are open to parasitic and bacterial infections. Even in normal conditions, there might be different bacteria in the aquarium. But if there is a change in water parameters the bacteria outgrow themselves and cause infection. This makes the Molly fish vulnerable causing it to struggle and gulp for air. Rapid gulping of bacteria will cause infection resulting in swim bladder disease.

  • Exercise

If there is a lack of space then mollies will not be able to move freely and will start to show signs of this disease. This happens because Molly fish need to live their muscles a lot and swim freely.

Lack of exercise leads to the muscle tissues in the fish’s swim bladder growing too big leading to severe problems regarding their movement.

  • Bloating and overfeeding

Overfeeding is one of the major reasons for swim bladder disease. Overfeeding pressurizes the swim bladder leading to the fish getting bloated. The bloating makes it harder for the swim bladder to withstand the pressure caused by overfeeding. As a result, the fish starts swimming quickly and upside down to ease itself.

Bloating and overfeeding

You should avoid overdoing anything for Molly fish as it can lead to constipation. Molly fish is an omnivore so it can eat both meaty foods and vegetables. However, you should not feed all these things at once. If you do that, your fish will have problems with excretion leading to a swollen gut area causing the swim bladder to fail.

2. Symptoms

Many types of fish are affected by swim bladder disease. These organs help the fish maintain their buoyancy in water. When a Molly fish has swim bladder disease one or both of its swim bladders are inflated with either gas or air causing it to swim upside down. Symptoms of swim bladder disease include:

  • Flipping onto their sides and swimming in circles.
  • Floating near the surface of the water
  • Fastened breathing
  • Staying at the bottom of the aquarium with no effort to swim back up

If your Molly fish is acting like this, it is highly likely that it has swim bladder disease and they need treatment.

3. Treatments

Some treatments to cure swim bladder disease in Molly fish are listed down below:

  • Home Treatment

Firstly, you should keep the temperature of the tank between 75 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Water levels should be adjusted and there should be no sharp changes in their direction.

Oxygen levels should be kept high by adding air pumps and power heads as Molly fish love to have a lot of oxygen. A pinch of salt should be added to the water if your fish is eating even if it has the swim bladder disease.

Ensure that your Molly fish gets enough rest. There should be plants for hiding places. If things don’t work out or get worse then you have to start this treatment again.

  • Salt bath Treatment

Epsom salt washes out the toxins in a fish’s swim bladder. You need to add about 1/8 teaspoon of Epsom salt to every 5 gallons of water for 30 minutes. This process works best when the cause of the disease is overeating, constipation, or poisoning of food by infection from bacteria.

salt bath fish treatment

  • Treatment with peas

Peas expand when they are eaten so they help keep the swim bladder to stay afloat. There are two ways to treat the fish with peas:

  • You can feed either frozen peas or fresh ones ( be sure to take out the pit).
  • You can also try feeding Molly with a pea utensil that fits into its mouth.

Crushed ice can also work for this remedy if you don’t want to try out peas.

All of these are remedies and treatments that you can attempt at home but you should also consider going to a vet and getting proper Medication.

Death from Swim Bladder Disease

Molly fish can also die if they have swim bladder disease. It is never easy to say goodbye to your pet but it is also not easy for the Molly fish to go through constipation, bloating, infections, and so on.

However, there are ways to save your fish from dying of this disease. Moreover, Molly fish do not die easily. When it comes to life, Molly fish are fighters.

You have to give a lot of attention to Molly and put in extra work to take care of it. If you still neglect your Molly then there is no hope for it to stay alive.

How to avoid Swim Bladder Disease in Molly Fish?

Mollies usually eat algae and plants to maintain their swim bladder buoyancy. However, as it is not possible to feed these in an aquarium then you should keep the water levels steady so they don’t experience drastic changes. Here are some ways to avoid swim bladder disease in Molly fish:

  • A number of plants

A densely planted tank is not required by Molly fish. However, you should allow the plants to hang out near the water surface so they can move up and down in the aquarium. The number of plants should be kept low so that the tank is not crowded.

There are a lot of benefits of aquarium plants such as:

  1. Make the fish feel the liveliness of the aquarium.
  2. Enlightenment of tank aesthetics
  3. Provide hiding places for Molly fish in a community tank.
  • Good water Temperature

Your aquarium should have a good water temperature (60-85 degrees Fahrenheit). Good depth should also be maintained.

  • Growth of algae

There should be a lot of algae and plants for the fish to graze on. Fast-growing aquatic plants are more beneficial as they provide a natural environment and provide the fish with a source of food without polluting the tank debris.

  • Space in the Tank

You should have room in your aquarium so the Molly fish can be oxygenated and swim up and down freely and without difficulty.

fish Space in the Tank

However, you should avoid overfilling the tank with more fish as it leads to increased waste levels leading to the water getting polluted.

You should know how many mollies can fit in your tank to have enough space and keep the water clean.

  • Change of water

Water changes are necessary for Molly fish. However, it should be made sure that water levels are stable as the swim bladder is not great with sudden and drastic changes in water.

  • Diet plan

As Molly fish are omnivores, they can eat everything you give them. They are not lucky waters. However, you should not feed them all at once. You should always feed them a certain amount of food and not overfeed them. Overfeeding is one of the most common reasons for this disease. Feeding your fish properly can solve a lot of problems at once.

  • Hiding places

Mollies like to spend time alone so they enjoy having hiding places. Moreover, they also hide from predators or other fish in a community tank. You should make sure that your fish has a lot of hiding places in the aquarium. Hiding places encourages activity and minimizes stress from other aggressive companions in a community tank.

Bad Foods for Molly Fish with Swim Bladder Disease

The worst food for Molly fish in this disease is bloodworms as they swell up after they are eaten so they can’t pass.

The Bottom Line On How to Cure Swim Bladder Disease in Molly Fish?

Molly fish usually swim upside down because of swim bladder disease. Swim bladder disease in Molly fish is complex but treatable. The most common causes include overfeeding, constipation, bloating, infections, and so on. It has a number of treatments including home remedies, medications, and surgery. It is possible to cure this disease if you take action immediately.

However, not taking precautionary measures can be dangerous as this disease has lasting effects and can even lead to death. If you give your Molly fish attention and care this disease can be avoided as it is said Prevention is better than cure.

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