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Discussion Starter #1
I haven't seen a whole lot of discussion or info on Balloon Mollies online. When I first saw them, I thought they were very weird looking. But as time goes on, and I've seen them in person, I'm starting to really like them. Super cute! But I've also read they are prone to a lot more problems than regular mollies because of their shape. Do you think they are worth the added risk of illnesses, or should I stay away from them?

Also, I'd be afraid the other fish in a community tank would nip, chase or otherwise be mean to them, as I imagine they can't swim as fast as most others? There is a very cute calico pattern type one at Petco that I saw yesterday, and since I have room in my 20 gallon for one more fish, I was considering going back for it. But I don't want to leap into this if its only going to lead to heartbreak for me and/or abuse for the molly from the other fish.
 

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Balloon mollies are the result of a genetic defect that causes their spine to grow irregularly, and to have more health problems than regular mollies, and according to some, shortens their lives. This defect causes them to do poorly throughout their lives, and if allowed in a breeding population, could lead to more mollies being born with this defect.
 
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I have owned several balloon mollies over about a year, and I can never get them to survive very long (longest was 5 months). I have to male offspring from one, but as they have grown, one doesn't have the balloon shape and the other kinda does but not really. I find they have similar issues that fancy goldfish, intestinal issues like constipation.
 
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In a perfect world, no one would buy balloon mollies. No one would intentionally breed them. They have a probably painful deformity of the spine, which has now been fixed as a genetic trait by unscrupulous breeders.
The same mutation is behind all of the balloon deformity fish out there. When I see them, I feel sorry for them, and I don't think much of the people who originally chose to breed this handicap into them for money.
If we stop buying them, farms will stop trying to make more and more spinal deformity mollies and rams, and the market will dry up. Right now, these fish are big money makers.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That's really sad. I don't think I'll go ahead with getting one now. I would hate to have a fish that I knew was uncomfortable all the time, and at the mercy of fasting swimming fish that would probably torment it, and only living for a short time. Thank you guys, for helping me make up my mind.
 

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I work at a petsmart and I dont think I have ever seen a dead ballon belly molly in the tank but the other mollies we have usually have a couple dead every week. I have a 15 gallon tank that has two balloon bellys in it and they have no problem with my other fish they actually boss them around because they are the biggest in my tank. I have them in with guppies, a platy, a pleco, danios/an orange glo fish, and cory catfish.
 
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I have a pair of balloon mollies that I adopted. The previous owner claimed to have had them for over a year. If he was being truthful, this pair is approaching 2 years old. At one time I thought the female was pregnant, but now I’m not so sure. I was told they had never produced fry but who knows.

Right or wrong, they are living in my SW tank and do not exhibit behavior that would suggest they are living in misery. They are as healthy and lively as any molly I’ve owned. They swim vigorously, eat well, and bravely guard their territory. And better yet… the male doesn’t harass the female, she's boss. That’s not to say that some balloon mollies don’t suffer…they may. Mine do not have the extremely prominent spinal curvature of others.

If you are truly drawn to balloon mollies and are concerned that they're being exploited, you might consider doing something that makes a difference...such as advocating for better breeding practices by selecting specimens that exhibit healthier anatomy? And educating others on how to do the same? Who better than you? Boycotting them will accomplish very little...balloon mollies are here to stay.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well, I went ahead and got one. A calico female who I must say has greatly surprised me! So much for being slow and clumsy like I thought a balloon would be! She's very confident, and she swims every bit as fast as my other molly, and doesn't seem the least bit in pain or uncomfortable. She is always ready to eat, and is very friendly, outgoing and personable. So far, no aggression problems with ANY of my livestock, either with my other fish or her, and I have female bettas, platies, mollies and bottom dwellers together. Nice to know they get along with guppies too! I only had to take back one betta because she was a bully, (before I got the balloon molly) but have had no problems since.

I am totally in love with this balloon molly, and wonder if they are all as sweet as she is. She's noticeably fatter than when I got her (2 weeks ago) so I think she's pregnant. Very excited to see what I get, as the males she was in with were dark calicos (she's a light one) and I'd like a dark one, so that's what I would keep if I get a female dark calico. At first, I thought they were ugly, but the more I saw them and read about them, the more they grew on me. And mine doesn't have the overly curved spine like some others I saw do. Maybe that helps? I'm a huge fan of black moors, I had them as a kid, so this is great--kind of like having one again!
 
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Jenny
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I love my balloon mollies. They have had babies twice now & I keep them in a species only tank. As they grow they go into my large tank. All the fish get along really well, the BM's all stay together and seem really attached to each other. They all eat well, swim well & I really don't believe they're in pain.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I have too, but those seem to be the ones that are more "extreme" in type. I like the ones that aren't so extreme.
 

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I have one male calico with gold scail's behind his gills . He is the only one iv ever owned , iv had it 6mo and he seems happy (what does a happy fish look like u ask ?? ) he swims up and greets me like all the others , I have noticed it smacks at the surface like its trying to eat invisible flakes when t thinks I'm feeding.maybe its got bad eye sight.
IMO no fish is a waste of time no matter how large or small or stumpy , if you enjoy it its your hobby , I personally enjoy seeing all my creatures , got excited to see a big Bristol worm crawling around in my sand this am in my nano reef.
Enjoy your Mollie.
 

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I CHANGE WATER
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IF YOU'RE SOFT DON'T READ THIS POST!
This fish is developementaly deformed.It has numerous physical issues that make it impossible for anyone with sense not to recognise.It was manipulated by man.A deformed fish not removed from the breeding pool(culled is what resposible breeders {and people} call it).It was manipulate to the point where some how it lives long enough for ruthless fish farms and pet stores to make money off of it.It's organs are compressed,spine deformed and GOD knows what else.Think it's cute?
Thank God we are at the top of the food chain and there are no others above us who think people severely effected with cebral palsy or other developemental disabilities are "cute" and breed us for their amusement.Society cares for people with disabilities,and we should and so we should care for animals and fish with disabilities.BUT TO INTENTIONALLY BREED THEM FOR PROFIT IS UNETHICAL AND WRONG.If you made it this far in this post I apologize for if I offended anyone.I cared for developementally disabled people for over 12 years in a instatutional setting,and it is true they deserve to cared for and treated HUMANELY,but breeding them for amusement or profit I think everyone would agree is CRIMINAL.What makes a fish different except or placement and attitude towards those"less" than ourselves.
Being a hobby I geuss you can keep what you want(it's a free world),but supportting the intentional mutation,manipulation and developement of a creature that would never survive in nature is WRONG.Nature didn't make these fish in the numbers we see today, and the ones nature made would never have survived in nature.It is only for pure greed and amusement that these fish exist.If you were a breeder and had deformed fry there would nothing wrong with keeping it and caring for it (would seem rather responsible and caring),BUT to intentionally purchase such a CREATED fish is irresponsible and ignorant.They will not live as long as a normal mollie(if any of you could keep your fish to full term to begin with) ,but possibly the 6 months to 1 year will be perfectly acceptable to you.NOT TO ME!
SORRY!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
If you think about it, all these "designer" breeds of dogs (and dwarf cats that they're breeding too), well, its the same story. If there's a market, people will keep breeding them. I agree they are anything but natural[/B, but why do people keep buying these puppies for a grand or more, and they aren't even purebred? Puggles, Peekapoos, Yorkipoos, and on and on. Fish are no different. So if you get so upset about odd fish being bred, also get upset at the people who make mega bucks on "mutts."
 

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I would have to agree with Coral on this one. The designer dogs are not dogs with deformities, just hybrids, and there are plenty of those in the world of fish (most guppies are mutts, guppies x endlers). The balloon molly would be the same as finding a dog that has 2 front legs that are abnormally shorter than the other two because of some birth defect, its in pain, and instead of 2 bones in its legs it only has 1, and you breed it to get the same genetic defect so you can sell it. It is very wrong. Another way to put it is to go with the way Coral was. If you look at it in the human world, many different races have been mixed, you see African american married to Caucasian and Latino married to the Irish, that's all great!! You get mixed children, nothing wrong with that at all. But if you find somebody who is born with a missing arm and hunchback and you try to make him mate with others to get the same deformity, wouldn't you think that was cruel????
 

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I CHANGE WATER
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Glad to hear one person understands!
It is a SERIOUS lack of education and information that makes anyone think these fish are acceptable.
It's plain greed;ruthless,uncaring and only for the money .
Please everyone think of them like people with disabilities and intentionally try to carry the disability on to further generations.THEY ARE NOT HYBRIDS,THEY ARE DEFORMED.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Coralbandit, what I meant was, breeds like Pugs, English Bulldogs, Sharpeis, etc. Dogs that are prone to breathing problems, collapsed tracheas, heart disorders, skin problems, ear infections, and on and on. Because of man breeding them to create something "cute." And TINY Chihuahuas that are not meant to be so small, and therefore there isn't enough room for all their organs. I saw waaaaay too much of it when I worked for a vet. These animals have shortened lifespans, like balloon mollies. So in that vein, I agree with you. But I still have not seen any of my balloon mollies that appeared to be suffering in any way. At least, not yet.
 
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Well I was thinking about buying another Balloon Mollie since my first one lived for 4 years! And I came across this thread. I have to disagree with you Coral bandit on a few points. Firstly I don't think you can say a Balloon Mollie is developmentally deformed nor that they are in pain either. Yes they came into existence from a deformity & as it was desirable this trait was bred for & now they are considered a separate breed of Mollie. Was this wrong? perhaps.... is the fish in pain? I would almost certainly say no. I think it's extremely unfair to compare this fish to a disabled person who does not have quality of life. You even said it yourself you have cared for them key words cared for them because they can't manage life without assistance. A Balloon Mollie can live a full & happy life without assistance. It can swim, eat, go to the toilet & even breed without assistance and as a vet nurse I would say these are all signs of a healthy happy fish. Yes it may have a shorter lifespan but so do many species. I own rats & they typically only live for 1 to 3 years. In fact I've never had one make it past 2 but does this stop me buying them? No because they are incredible creatures & I am happy to have had the oppurtunity to own one if only for a short time & this goes for the Balloon Mollies. I also have a purebred pug which is a brachycephallic (flat faced) dog breed. This flat faced condition actually started from a deformity in a few dogs & because it was desirable humans, being the cruel creatures we are continued to breed for it until now in present day there is over 30 recognized flat faced breeds of dogs & cats & they typically live longer than most other breeds! Are they in pain NO! Were the first few? Maybe. I'm not saying its right what humans have done but I think boycotting buying the breed is not going to make a difference. Balloon Mollies & Pugs alike may have come about from a deformity but they are are here to stay & I think we should embrace them for what they are. Beautiful, intelligent creatures with their own individual, quirky personalities. I for one will definitely be getting another Balloon Mollie & a Pug for that matter because once you own one you realise how truly special they are & you could never not have one in your life! :)
 
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