Is your fish swimming sideways or upside down? If so, it could have a swim bladder disorder. This disorder affects the fish’s ability to swim properly causing it to either turn upside down or go sideways. Swim bladder disorder is most commonly seen in fancy goldfish. Unfortunately, many people think that the fish has died or is dying when they see them floating upside down. Before you remove the fish from the tank, check to see if the fish is breathing. If it is, this condition may be very easy to fix.
What Is Swim Bladder Disorder?
All fish have a swim bladder, which is an internal organ that is filled with gas. This order controls the fish’s buoyancy and gives it the ability to swim effortlessly throughout the tank. If this organ stops functioning properly, it will directly affect the fish’s ability to swim. Depending on the fish and the severity of the disorder, this will cause the fish to flip on its back, swim sideways, or sometimes swim with its tail higher than its head.
Causes for Swim Bladder Disorder
There are several reasons why your fish may have this disorder, including constipation, overeating, eating low quality fish food, a cyst on its kidney, or even a sudden change in tank conditions. On the other hand, this could be a sign of an infection. This is especially true if your fish is displaying other signs of distress, such as dropsy or clamped fins. If several fish in your tank are showing signs of swim bladder disorder, your tank conditions are most likely the problem. The good news is that this can be fixed quickly and effectively.
Treatment the Disorder
Since it will be impossible to determine exactly what the cause behind the swim bladder disorder is, you will need to treat for a variety of problems. The first step is to check the water temperature of the tank. You can even raise the temperature slightly to between 70°F and 80°F. This can help greatly with constipation. You should also refrain from feeding the fish for 48 hours. This will give the fish time to process the food already in its system.
If no improvement is seen within 48 hours, start your fish on a high fiber diet. Peas are a good choice and can be cooked and then peeled before feeding to the fish. You can also try a salt treatment, by adding one tablespoon of aquarium salt for every five gallons of water in the tank. If there is still no improvement, treat with antibiotic fish food to treat any type of infection the fish may have.
Many times, fish will start showing improvement with an increase in the water temperature and/or fasting. However, it is always best to keep a close eye on your fish during the recovery period to make sure that the swim bladder disorder does not return. In almost all cases, this disorder can be treated effectively and the fish will return to swimming normally after just a few days.