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Old 06-01-2018, 08:54 PM   #1
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Swim bladder / whirling disease or something else?

My male molly seems to be having some issues. He'll swim normally most of the time, though maybe slightly tilted to a side, but when he goes to dive deeper in the tank he does it in a fast spiral until he hits the bottom - and then sometimes keeps going for a couple of seconds more.

I do water changes regularly as suggested, have a fresh filter and the only change I've done to the tank lately is to add a live floating plant. Could the plant have brought something to make the fish sick? Should I get rid of it?

My questions are:
  • Is this a swim bladder problem, or another disease?
  • Is it contagious? And is there anything I can do to fix it?
  • Is it something he can live with, or should he be euthanized to put him out of his suffering?

The only place I would have to isolate him would be in a small bowl, which I'm sure would add a lot of stress. Should I still go ahead and do it?

I've heard feeding it peas as a recommendation, but find few to no reports that it actually works. Can anyone confirm that it's a valid treatment?

Before you ask:
It's a 40 gallon tank, with 18 small fish in it (mostly guppies and tetras), well maintained and with the water chemistry right where it should be.

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Old 06-01-2018, 11:48 PM   #2
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Swim bladder disease, or whirling / spiraling, is not really a disease itself, its a symptom of another intestinal problem. It can be a internal bacterial infection, or an internal parasitic infestation. I've heard others say the disorder can also be a sign of extreme constipation.
I've only experienced the spiraling behavior a few times over the years and it applied only to my Columbian Tetras.
The Swim Bladder disease was random, incidents spread over several months, only a few fish affected. The disease was fatal, but wasn't very contagious. I lost approx. 4 fish out of a school of 14 Columbians. I think overcrowding and less than perfect water brought on the disease.
Probably a good idea to remove the affected fish asap. Watch the remaining tankmates for a few weeks, then consider another addition.

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Old 06-05-2018, 07:43 AM   #3
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If your feeding live food, I wouldn't. Some Live food carries parasites and will cause whirling. Or if you adding something to the tank could be why. Whirling would be my thought. You'll lose it soon if not treated. And yes, I'd separate it from the others. I'll probably have more fish do the same thing if it is.
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Old 06-05-2018, 07:30 PM   #4
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I put him in a bowl of his own and fed him peas for a couple of days. On day 1 he started swimming and diving normally again, and he seems completely back to normal now. So I'm thinking it might just be a case of constipation? I've read that it can cause whirling/spinning issues.
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