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Goldfish: Swim Bladder Problems

By Editors - Tropical Fish Data
Updated: 2009-08-25 10:44 PM 1793 Views    Category: Health
 
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The fish are unable to maintain an upright position when still and may float head-down, on their side, or upside down. The fish may sit on the bottom of the aquarium and struggle to swim to the surface, or may hang at the surface and be unable to swim down. Weakness and lethargy and a resulting loss of balance can also be caused if the fish is ill with another disease, so check for other symptoms.
 
Swim Bladder Problems Symptoms:
 
Fish can control their position in the water with the swim bladder, an organ that fills with or expels air to affect flotation. Swim bladder related problems can lead to malfunction of the swim bladder so that the fish can no longer control its flotation and orientation, or can do so only with considerable effort. Swim bladder problems are most common in short-bodied goldfish, eg fantails, orandas and so forth. In these fish the swim bladder is often slightly deformed, putting the fish at a much greater risk of developing swim bladder problems.
 
A swim bladder problem may develop as the fish grows, with the defect only becoming apparent later in life. Diet can also exacerbate swim bladder problems. Goldfish are prone to constipation, and swim bladder problems will become much worse when the fish is constipated. Water temperature can also affect the operation of the swim bladder. Swim bladder problems can also be caused by internal growths and tumours or by bacterial infections.
 
Prevention:
 
Most swim bladder problems are not preventable, however, feeding fancy goldfish a good diet will prevent constipation and associated swim bladder problems. A mix of prepared and frozen foods, particularly with frozen brine shrimp as a supplement, is best.
 
Treatment:
 
There is no treatment possible for swim bladder problems caused by genetic defects or internal growths, however, a fish can often live with the swim bladder problem for many months. Feed the fish brine shrimp to ensure that it is not a simple case of constipation or correct any other dietary problems.
 
Blocked intestines can and will interfere with the function of the swim bladder. If this is the case, a cure is easy to effect.
 
First check your water. If you are not using marine salt, gradually add it to the tank over a twelve hour period (addition of one tablespoon per five gallons does wonders).
 
Fast the fish for 4 days. Don't worry a hungry fish is better than a dead one! This will enable the fish to clear itself out, and normal function of the swim bladder should return. After the fourth day, resume feeding with live or frozen brine shrimp.
 
By this time you should have learned your lesson, and will go on to provide your goldfish with a more nutritious well-balanced diet as recommended.
 

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