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Swim Bladder Disease

Swim Bladder Disease

This article will help you to spot a swim bladder disease by explaining the symptoms, and will provide guidelines on preventing and treating this disease for the aquarium fish.
Pragya T
Swim bladder disorder is a multi factorial disease which mostly affects the ornamental goldfish that have a globoid body shapes. The most commonly observed symptom of this disease is that a fish which floats at a surface, or a fish stays at the bottom of the bowl or aquarium and is not able to rise to the surface easily. Many people confuse the symptom of a fish leaning to one side or other as a swim bladder disorder. If your fish is leaning to one or other side, then it is suffering from some other diseases and not the swim bladder disorder.

The common symptoms that a fish will show when suffering from swim bladder problems are:
  • Loss of balance
  • Not being able to maintain buoyancy
  • Floating uncontrollably at the top of the tank or sinking to the bottom
  • Trouble while swimming
  • Swimming at an abnormal angle
  • Lying around without moving, except for a sudden dash to the surface for oxygen
There are different causes of this disease, which call for different treatments. A fish could cause inflammation at the epithelium of the sac, and make the sac walls too thick, which could lead to improper gas diffusion. This way the fish could get stuck at a certain buoyancy. Another cause is a low quality diet, which could soak up water that could expand inside the fish. Another reason is the shape of the fish, for example, the globoid goldfish swim bladder disorder happens because their guts can get squashed up in their abdomen. So, try to understand the cause first and then use the appropriate treatment.

Here is the cure for swim bladder disorder, which you can use to treat your aquarium fishes.
  • A common reason of this disease occurring in betta fish is constipation. To treat constipation problem in fish, is to stop feeding them. Bettas can live without food for a long time. Another way is to use peas, take a fresh pea and get rid of its skin, break it into small pieces and make your fish eat them.
  • If a goldfish is suffering from the swim bladder you can also use the pea trick. Always try to use the fresh peas, if fresh peas are not available then use the canned peas which are non-salted.
  • You can also try fasting your goldfish for 3-4 days. This can greatly help to break up the impaction and restore the fish's health. Most fish can go even for a week without food, and be fine.
  • Other ways to treat your aquarium fish is to feed medicated food, you can also try adding salt to the tank or raising the temperature to 76 degrees for a short time.
  • Another treatment is to stick in a needle in the swim bladder and suck out some air, make sure you try all the above measures before you try this treatment.
There are certain measures one can observe to prevent this disease. The most important measure one can take care of is the water quality of the fish tank. To prevent your aquarium fish catching swim bladder due to infection, maintain the water quality. You can also try pre-soaking the fish pellets or flakes before you feed them. To lessen the possibility of your fish getting swim bladder, you can also use gel based food source or live food.