Tropical Fish Diseases – Swim Bladder Disease

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The swim bladder is a small sac in the abdomen which is responsible for maintaining buoyancy. Swim bladder disease most often presents as a fish which floats at the surface, or a fish which stays on the bottom and doesn’t seem to be able to rise.  In less severe cases it can just seem like if the fish was having trouble keeping its balance. The illness primarily affects fish which have globoid body shapes.

Swim bladder problems can be the result of poor diet, causing constipation which in turn can lead to swelling of the abdomen preventing the swim bladder from working properly.

Cause: Dry foods tend to take on water like a sponge and expand in the fish causing food impactions. Swim bladder disease can also be caused by over feeding your fish.

In addition, the disease can also be caused by a virus or bacterial infection, but this is less common.

Treatment: Soak your flake or pellet food in water for a minute before feeding. This will allow expansion to occur prior to the fish eating it and will lessen  the chance of impaction.

Try feeding peas. Take a soft cooked pea, crush it and feed it to the fish. This treatment is being recommended by many and is well worth a try. The peas will supposedly encourage the destruction of impactions.

Stop feeding your fish for a day or two. Sometimes this alone will break up the impaction and return things to normal

If the problem is caused by a viral or bacterial infection, it may be necessary to move the fish to a quarantine tank and treat it with medication for the condition.


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