Why Is My Molly Swimming Vertically? Why and What To Do

Despite the fact that we cannot comprehend fish, if you own fish, you can quickly tell when something is wrong with them. In this instance, molly fish is in question. Before I continue, let me ask you a question: Has your molly been swimming vertically? Do they appear to be having trouble swimming? And do they go without food or do they stay hidden all the time? Your molly could be ill, then, is a straightforward explanation for everything.

Mollies look for food by swimming vertically since this position enables them to see above the water’s surface. But that’s not the case, as molly fish also exhibit similar behavior when ill and afflicted with swim bladder illness.

In this post, you’ll learn everything from what might be causing this to how to care for and treat your molly fish. To ensure you don’t miss anything, continue reading.

My Molly is swimming Vertically, Why?

Molly fish shouldn’t move in a vertical position. This conduct is abnormal. If you’ve found this pattern in your molly fish, think about the possible explanations listed below.

My Molly Swimming Vertically

But before that, stressed Molly fish have the propensity to swim vertically. That often occurs as a result of a condition affecting the swim bladder, an organ in charge of the fish’s buoyancy. Mollies will also swim up and down if they are pregnant, being bullied, or the aquarium is not suitable for them.

1. Swimming Bladder Illness

A crucial organ that impacts a fish’s capacity for swimming is the swim bladder. It regulates the creature’s buoyancy under normal conditions. Molly’s capacity to swim will be affected in some way if the swim bladder’s functions are impaired.

Long-term damage to the swim bladder can result from anything that compresses it. That includes overeating and constipation. It would be beneficial if you also kept an eye out for parasitic and bacterial infections as well as conditions that make the abdominal organs grow. Some fish have damaged swim bladders from birth.

Swimming Bladder Illness

A damaged swim bladder will alter how the molly swims since the swim bladder influences the fish’s capacity to swim. Because they are unable to retain their buoyancy, certain fish will sink to the bottom. Some people will rise to the top. Vertical swimming isn’t always the norm. In fish with swim bladder illness, it is not unheard of.

Swimming erratically is only one of the signs of swim bladder illness. You should also keep an eye out for a bent back, a bloated stomach, and a lack of appetite. Mollies whose swim bladder illness was brought on by constipation may completely cease eating if they are unable or unwilling to swim to their food.

2. You Have a Pregnant Molly

When individuals see that their mollies are swimming vertically, the first thing they consider is swim bladder sickness. Few aquarists are aware that this behavior might be a pregnancy sign. What you should understand is this:

  • Livebearers include mollies. Live fish are born from them.
  • For mollies to reproduce, you need both a male and a female. The eggs in the female molly’s body need to be fertilized by the male molly.
  • Mollies that are males have gonopodium, bigger fins, and more pronounced color patterns.
  • At one year, male mollies are mature enough to breed. At six months, female mollies are sexually mature enough to breed.

When it comes to mating, mollies are pretty ardent. They are so passionate, in fact, that there should be two to three female mollies in a tank for every male molly. Otherwise, the males will compete with one another for the ladies’ attention, and if their numbers are insufficient, they may even harass the females until they are killed.

You Have a Pregnant Molly

You don’t need to force mollies to mate because they are enthusiastic breeders. In an aquarium with both sexes, you’ll see that the females are virtually always carrying young. Mollies will pursue one another when they want to mate. This conduct might occasionally come out as aggressive.

But unless the male mollies are physically harming their female counterparts, you shouldn’t be concerned. A swollen belly, a gravid spot, a sluggish demeanor, and antisocial behavior are typical characteristics of a pregnant molly.

Just before giving birth, a pregnant molly will swim vertically. There will also be some shimmying. Imagine you have a female molly in your tank, and you have seen all the signs of mating and pregnancy. Since it is prepared to give birth, you may fairly assume that it is just swimming vertically at this point.

Some people rule out pregnancy as a likely possibility since they don’t have male mollies in their tank. They should be aware that the female molly fish may hold sperm for several months.

They can conceive with the saved sperm if they don’t have a male mating partner. In other words, even in a tank with just female mollies, vertical swimming can be a sign of pregnancy. This is especially true if the fish at issue has an expanded belly and a gravid region.

3. The Stressed-Out Molly Fish

The only other relevant factor that might explain vertical swimming when pregnancy and swim bladder illness is ruled out is stress. Most of the strange behavior you observe in aquariums is caused by stress, either directly or indirectly. There are several sources for it, including:

molly stress

What type of surroundings do your mollies call home in the tank? The water is either too soft or too firm. What about the weather? Have you allowed the water to cool past the recommended limits? Or perhaps your heater broke down, causing the temperature to soar.

What about toxic substances? Do you cycle the aquarium? Has the ammonia content going over the allowable limits? The circumstances of your molly’s aquatic habitat have a direct impact on its health. Your fish may exhibit different stress reactions, such as vertical swimming if the tank’s circumstances worsen.

4. Food

When it comes to food, both overeating, and undereating pose risks. Mollies require food to survive. They will become unwell if you feed them too much, though. They can also die from being overfed. Overeating is linked to conditions like constipation and attracts pollutants like ammonia. Mollies are calm fish that do well in a communal tank, but only if their neighbors are as calm. Your mollies will suffer in a communal tank with big, aggressive fish. The stress that results from this will likely lead to sensations like vertical swimming.

How Should Vertically Swim Molly Fish be Handled?

You should tailor their treatments if your mollies are swimming vertically in order to address the underlying issue, for example:

1. Treating the Disease of the Swim Bladder

Swim bladder disease is a terrible condition, however, there are some rather simple treatments available, such as:

  • Raise the temperature to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Maintain this temperature during Molly’s therapy.
  • Fasting – Stop feeding the molly if constipation is the cause of the illness. For the following three days, let it fast. The food that the molly already has in its digestive system requires time to be digested. Don’t turn the heat down.
  • Peas – Cooked, peeled peas are one of the best remedies for constipation. Two to three times a day, feed the molly. Please don’t give it any additional food.
  • Drugs – Consult your veterinarian if an infection was the cause of the illness. An antibiotic will be suggested. This is particularly true if your molly exhibits additional signs including discoloration and lethargic behavior.
  • Salt – Salt is an anti-infective. It will eradicate the disease-causing microorganisms. For every five liters, you require one tablespoon. Ensure the water is pure. The sickness will worsen if you let the tank’s conditions get out of hand. Maintain a balanced diet with high-quality foods after your molly’s usual feeding routine has resumed.

2. Changing the Tank’s Environment

Without keeping the right circumstances in their tank, you cannot stop your mollies from swimming vertically. Pay attention to the following:

the parameters Your aquarium should be between 70 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit, with a pH between 7.5 and 8.5 and a water hardness of 10 to 25 dH.

Changing the Tank's Environment

I frequently advise purchasing the API Aquarium Test Kit there. You can monitor the pH, ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites in your aquarium with that incredibly cost-effective package. You’ll be able to tell if something went wrong in five minutes.

Depending on the type of molly, you need a tank that is at least 15 to 30 gallons. Mollies detest being crowded. They will exhibit indications of stress, such as vertical swimming if you make them share a tiny tank with many fish. By purchasing the largest tank you can, you can avoid this hassle.

  • Air stones: Increase the oxygenation of the tank by adding air stones. Your mollies may get quickly distressed due to a shortage of oxygen, forcing them to swim vertically as they struggle for breath. In my aquarium, I personally use the Hygger Aquarium Air Stone Kit, which works great.
  • Plants: I strongly advise including some plants and ornaments in your aquarium. This will provide your mollies with areas to hide and reduce their stress, which is especially important if their aquarium contains hostile fish.

3. Frequently Changing the Water

Mollies need water that is changed often. When adding water from a source that contains hazardous substances like chlorine, you should also use conditioners. By combining tap water with the well-known API TAP Water Conditioner, you may do it quickly. Water morphs maintain the quality of the water and stop the buildup of pollutants. A good filter is something else you ought to get. To keep waste from overflowing your tank, filters and water changes complement one another.

How to Change Water in Fish Tanks

4. Choosing Reliable Tank Mates

Without a calm atmosphere, your mollies cannot get away from the tension that causes their vertical swimming. Any hostile aquarium animals that bully them should be removed. Include appropriate species around them, such as zebra loaches, tetras, and danios. For every male molly you have, you should have at least two female mollies.

When Do Molly Fish Change Their Color

5. Giving Your Mollies the Right Food

Please give your mollies a good meal. They will consume everything, including black worms, flakes, and pellets, in addition to zucchini, green beans, and spirulina. Please only feed them three times each day. Provide them with food that they can finish in three minutes.

Feeding your Molly fish

Overfeeding is a significant risk factor for constipation and swim bladder illness, as I previously explained. Because of this, I strongly advise taking into account the Eheim Automatic Feeding Unit. I ensure that my fish receive equal food quantities on a regular basis by utilizing that equipment.

Is Molly Fish Good to Swim Vertically?

Molly fish benefit from swimming vertically because it makes it easier for them to navigate their environment, escape predators, and find food. They swim in this direction in addition to being able to alter how their bodies are positioned in the water column thanks to swim bladders.

In Molly fish, swimming vertically has several disadvantages. like Swimming vertically causes molly fish to lose part of their speed. Thus, when they swim in this orientation, they cannot swim as smoothly as when they are horizontal.

My Molly Swimming Vertically

Additionally, swimming vertically requires higher energy expenditure, which results in shorter swimming distances.

Mollies who spend too much time swimming vertically have an increased risk of suffering an injury. Due to their frequent hunger and faster metabolism when swimming vertically, molly fish are more likely to starve.

The Bottom Line on Why Is My Molly Swimming Vertically?

Your focus is needed if your molly is swimming vertically. That often indicates that the fish is stressed and may eventually decline. Start by examining the water’s characteristics, such as pH, ammonia levels, and temperature. If you think your Molly may have contracted swim bladder illness, isolate it in a hospital tank and go by the advice given above. Remember that pregnancy is another reason why the problem might exist. The molly will expand and display the distinctive gravid spot at the bottom portion of its posterior abdomen in that scenario.

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