As fish enthusiasts, seeing dead or dying fish is the last thing we want. In order to keep our molly fish healthy and happy, you should know How To Tell If A Molly Fish Is Dying. This way, we can take steps to save them before it’s too late.
Before going further, I must admit that there are certain situations where we, as fish keepers, can not do anything to save a fish.
For example, if your molly fish were sick before you got them, they may not have long to live regardless of the care you give them. In these cases, the best thing you can do is provide a stress-free environment and hope for the best.
Now that we have gotten that out of the way let’s dive deep into this subject.
Do molly fish die easily?
Compared with many other delicate fish species, mollies do not die easily.
They are tough fish that can tolerate a lot of abuse. However, this does not mean they are indestructible. If we are not cautious, there are still numerous things that can kill them.
Why would a molly fish die?
One of the main reasons molly fish die easily is poor water quality. Ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates are all toxins that can kill fish quickly.
If your molly fish is living in water with high levels of these toxins, they will likely die within a few days.
Another reason why molly fish die is because of lack of food. If your molly fish are not getting enough to eat, they will slowly starve.
This is why it is vital to feed them a high-quality diet that contains all the nutrients they need to stay healthy.
Mollies can also get infections and diseases just like any other fish. If not treated quickly, these infections can kill them.
Lastly, molly fish can die from old age. Like humans, fish have a lifespan and eventually die of old age. While there are solutions for other causes of death, this is one that we cannot do anything about.
How to tell if a molly fish is dying?
Fish can not tell us that they are in discomfort. But, they definitely show us signs that something is wrong. You can often save a dying fish before it’s too late if you know what to look for.
Here are some signs that your molly fish is dying:
01. Loss of appetite
It’s usual that we lose our appetite when we feel unwell. The same is true for fish. If your molly fish stops eating, it is a sign that something is wrong. This is frequently the first indication of a dying fish.
Usually, a healthy molly fish can survive without food for about two weeks. But, when your molly is dying, they will likely die within a few days if they do not eat.
If your molly fish is swimming less and appearing lethargic, it is a sign that they are not feeling well. A loss of appetite often follows this.
Healthy mollies always tend to swim and explore around their tank. So, if your molly is just lying at the bottom of the tank or hiding all the time, it is definitely a sign that something is wrong.
03. Clamped fins
When a fish’s fins are clamped close to its body, it is often a sign of stress. Clamped fins can be caused by many things such as poor water quality, lack of food, or diseases.
If your molly’s fins are clamped, it is a sign that they are not feeling well and need our help.
04. Change in color
A healthy molly fish should have bright and vibrant colors. If you notice that your molly’s colors are faded or changed, it is a sign that they are not doing well.
Faded or changing colors can be caused by many things such as stress, lack of food, or diseases. So, if you notice this change in your molly, you should take action immediately.
05. Floating upside down
If your molly fish is floating upside down at the water’s surface, it is a sign that they are not getting enough oxygen. This can be caused by several matters, such as poor water quality or infection.
If you notice your molly floating upside down, you should take action immediately to save them.
06. Show signs of bacterial infections
Bacterial infections are common in fish and can often be fatal if not treated quickly.
Fish get infected with several bacterial infections, and the signs and symptoms of each infection are different. Therefore, we have listed each infection separately below.
- Popeye – Symptoms of popeye include bulging eyes and cloudy eyes, fluid discharge from the eyes, and bubbles over the eyes.
- Fin Rot – Symptoms of fin rot include fraying or shredding of the fins, black or red spots on the fins, and lethargy.
- Dropsy – Symptoms of dropsy include a bloated belly, raised scales, curved spine, bulging eyes, pale gills, and ulcers around the lateral line.
- Tuberculosis – Symptoms of tuberculosis include wasting away, tail rot and fin rot, bulging eyes, and ulcers on the body.
- Septicemia – Symptoms of septicemia include red streaks on the fins and body, lethargy, bloating, bleeding, clamped fins, loss of appetite, and ulcers on the body.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your molly fish, you should take them to a vet as soon as possible.
07. Show signs of Parasitic diseases
There are many different parasitic diseases that mollies can get, and the signs and symptoms of each disease are different. Therefore, we have listed each disease separately below.
- Ich – Symptoms of ich include white spots on the body, lethargy, loss of appetite, and increased breathing.
- Flukes – Symptoms of flukes include flushing, itching, lethargy, loss of appetite, and red spots on the body.
- Anchor worms – Symptoms of anchor worms include itchy skin, red spots on the body, and lethargy.
- Velvet disease – Symptoms of velvet disease include yellow or gold dust on the body, lethargy, and loss of appetite.
- Flagellates – Symptoms of flagellates include grey spots on the body, Anorexia, Flashing, Swollen gills, lethargy, loss of appetite, and increased breathing.
08. Show signs of fungal infections
Fungal infections are common in fish and can often be fatal if not treated quickly.
Fish get infected with several fungal infections, and the signs and symptoms of each infection are different. Therefore, we have listed each infection separately below.
- Cotton wool disease – Symptoms of the cotton wool disease include white fuzz on the body, fins and gills, lethargy, and loss of appetite. In advanced stages, the fungas become brownish/ greenish.
- Exophiala infection – Symptoms of exophiala infection include erratic swimming, lethargy, darker body color, and Round yellow to green granulomas in visceral organs such as the kidney and liver.
- Ichthyosporidium – Symptoms of ichthyosporidium infection include Bulging eyes, Erratic swimming, lethargy, Weight loss, Increased hiding behavior, and Small, tactile nodules on the skin.
09. Sudden death
Sometimes, a molly fish can just die suddenly without any warning signs.
This is often due to old age, but it can also be due to stress or other health problems. If your molly fish dies suddenly, you should take them to a vet to be checked for any underlying health problems.
How to save dying molly fish?
Observing one or more of the signs as mentioned above is not the death sentence for your molly fish.
But, immediately taking action is important to save your fish as those signs indicate that your fish is suffering. You can do several things to save your dying molly fish.
01. Change the water
If you have spotted any of these signs, the first thing you should do is a water change.
It might save your molly fish’s life. Do 50% water change and vacuum the gravel at the same time. This will remove all the toxins from the water and some parasites.
Important: Although we recommend a 50% water change, you shouldn’t do it in one go. Doing a sudden water change can be stressful for your fish and might even kill them. So, do small water changes every hour until you reach 50%.
02. Check the water parameters
After changing the water, you should check the water parameters. Ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates should be at 0 ppm. If they are not, you should further change the water until it gets to normal levels.
Additionally, the temperature, water hardness, and ph level should also be in the ideal range for molly fish.
The ideal temperature for mollies is between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit, the ideal water hardness is between 5-20 dGH, and the ideal pH level is between 7.0-8.0.
If you don’t know how to test the water parameters, we recommend taking your water sample to a local fish store. They will test it for you and recommend the right course of action.
Usually, water conditioners can help to stabilize the water and make it more suitable for fish. But, we recommend using them only after testing the water as they can sometimes worsen the situation.
03. Treat for parasites
If you have found any parasites on your molly fish, you should treat them immediately. There are several over-the-counter parasite treatments available that can help get rid of the parasites.
Additionally, you can also use salt to treat parasites. The ideal concentration of salt for treating parasites is one tablespoon per gallon. But, don’t use more than that as it can be harmful to your fish.
If you are not sure what kind of parasites your fish have, we recommend taking a sample of your water and fish to a local fish store. They will be able to identify the parasites and recommend the right course of action.
04. Treat for fungal infection
If your molly fish has a fungal infection, you should treat them with an anti-fungal medication. Several over-the-counter anti-fungal medications are available, but we recommend using API’s Fungus Cure.
05. Treat the fish
If changing the water and treating the water doesn’t help, you should treat your molly fish with an anti-fungal or anti-parasitic medication.
Several over-the-counter medications are available, but we recommend using API General Cure. You will have to feed your fish with medicated food for at least ten days.
06. Take your fish to a vet
If none of the suggested methods work, you will need to take your molly fish to a vet. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose the issue and offer the best course of action.
Without consulting a doctor, you shouldn’t treat your fish with anti-bacterial or anti-viral medications as they can be harmful to your fish.
07. Monitor your fish
Even if you have treated your molly fish and they seem to be getting better, you should still monitor them closely.
Any change in their behavior or appearance can indicate that something is wrong. So, make sure to keep a close eye on your fish.
If you have any concerns about your molly fish, we recommend taking them to a local fish store or a vet. They will be able to assist you and provide you with the greatest option.
Prevention of molly fish dying
The best way to prevent your molly fish from dying is to provide them with proper care.
That includes regular water changes, keeping the water clean, and providing them with a nutritious diet. Additionally, you should also quarantine new fish before adding them to your tank.
Quarantining new fish is important as they might be carrying diseases or parasites that can infect your other fish.
So, it’s best to keep them in a separate tank for at least two weeks before adding them to your main tank.
You should also avoid overfeeding your fish as overfeeding can lead to obesity and other health problems. So, make sure to feed your fish only as much as they can eat in 2 minutes.
Last but not least, you should also regularly monitor your fish for any signs of illness. Any change in their behavior or appearance can indicate that something is wrong. So, make sure to keep a close eye on your fish.
Why is my molly fish sitting at the bottom of the tank?
There can be several reasons why your molly fish is sitting at the bottom of the tank. It could be a sign of illness or stress. As this is not the normal behavior of mollies, we recommend taking your fish to a local fish store or vet for further examination.
Do molly fish play dead?
Molly fish don’t play dead. They are not intelligent enough to play tricks on you. If your molly fish is lying at the bottom of the tank and not moving, it’s most likely your fish is sick or dead.
Now that you got the answer to the “How To Tell If A Molly Fish Is Dying” question, it’s time to take action.
If you see any of the aforementioned symptoms in your molly fish, we recommend acting quickly. The sooner you act, the better your chances of saving your fish. So don’t put it off any longer; act today!
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