Swim Bladder Disease

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Swim Bladder Disease

Rather than a single disease, the name refers to issues which affect your fish’s swim bladder. It can strike the majority of species (most common in Goldfish and Betta).

Your fish’s swim bladder won’t function normally due to bacterial or parasitic infection, physical damage, or birth defect.

Physical Signs

  • Swollen belly
  • Curved spine

Behavioral Signs

  • Fish sinks to the bottom and struggles to rise up
  • Fish floats to the top upside down
  • Fish swims with its tail higher than its head (this is normal for headstanders)

Potential Causes

Swim Bladder disease can be caused by compression of the swim bladder, bacterial or parasitic infection, physical damage, and birth defect.

Compression of the swim bladder can happen as a result of rapid eating, overeating, or gulping air. Eating freeze-dried or dry flake food which expands when it becomes wet can sometimes lead to an enlarged stomach.

Parasites or bacterial infections can inflame the fish’s swim bladder causing the disorder. Physical damage from a fight, hard blow, or fall can damage the swim bladder on occasion.

In some cases, the swim bladder has become deformed as a result of breeding.

Blood parrot cichlids and fancy goldfish are common examples. While they may swim properly when healthy, constipation and physical injuries can affect them more severely than normal fish.

Possible Treatments

Due to the different causes of Swim Bladder, there’s not one single medication that can be recommended.

Bacterial/parasitic one way, physical another. However, exposing the fish to warmer waters can help.

You should transfer the fish to a hospital tank filled with water from the main aquarium.

The heater can be set up to 9 degrees F above the main tanks temperature (take care doing this, some species are sensitive to warm water and lower oxygen levels).

Don’t feed the fish for 3 days, on the fourth day, feed the fish cooked and skinned peas. You can achieve the best consistency by microwaving or boiling them for a few seconds. This can often resolve many cases of Swim Bladder Disease.

Lowering the waterline can also help. However, you should always leave it a few inches above the height of the fish so you don’t risk exposing it to dry air.

If this doesn’t work, and the fish is having normal bowel movements, it could be the sign of an infection. Treatment with a broad-spectrum antibiotic may help.

Note: this disease is rarely curable.[su_divider size=”1″]Author – modestfish

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