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Old 02-01-2004, 09:24 AM   #1
Louis
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Lightbulb SWIM BLADDER DISEASE *Cause and Cure*

I've been asked by many of my friends lately about the notorious "SWIM BLADDER DISEASE" and how to cure it. I found this very informative article written by Douglas H. Thamm.

Why does my goldfish tend to float at the surface of the water and have a hard time going to the bottom of the tank?

Because it's got swim bladder disease.

Swim bladder disease is a multifactorial illness which primarily affects ornamental goldfish which have globoid body shapes, like orandas, ryukins, and fantails. It 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 easily rise. A fish which has normal buoyancy but is listing to one side or the other often does not have swim bladder disease, but may have other diseases.

In order to understand swim bladder disease, a cursory discussion of fish anatomy and physiology is necessary. The swim bladder is a small epithelium-lined sac in the anterior abdomen which is responsible for maintaining buoyancy. It has a close association with blood vessels such that gases can diffuse across into and out of the sac according to the needs of the fish. The sac inflates if the fish needs to be more buoyant, and it deflates if the fish needs to be less buoyant. Goldfish and some other fish have a special addition to this system called the pneumocystic duct, which is a connection between the swim bladder and the esophagus, allowing additional adjustment of buoyancy by letting air out through the digestive tract.

People have debated for years over the cause of swim bladder disease. It is pretty well established now that a number of things can cause swim bladder disease. Some of the things which have been suggested are:


1.A virus. The virus attacks the epithelium of the sac and inflammation occurs which makes the epithelium too thick for gases to diffuse across. Thus the fish is stuck at a certain buoyancy because gases have nowhere to go. This may be more of a factor in non-goldfish species.

2.A bacterium. There is little evidence to support this, but it's widely known that bacterial infections can cause the same kind of thickening of the swim bladder epithelium as viruses.

3.Anatomy. Globoid-shaped fish like ornamental goldfish are predisposed to problems with the swim bladder because their guts are all squashed up in their abdomen. This arrangement predisposes to food impactions, which in turn clog up the pneumocystic duct.

4.Diet. Feeding dry foods which tend to take on water like a ponge and expand in the fish predispose to food impactions. See # 2 above.

What can I do to prevent swim bladder disease?


1. As always, the golden rule of fish disease is WATER QUALITY. If swim bladder disease does have an infectious cause, your fish will be better able to resist this infection (and others) if your water quality is good. Regular water changes and water testing are a must.

2. Pre-soak your flake or pelleted food. This will allow expansion to occur prior to the fish eating it, and will lessen the chance of impaction.

3.Even better, switch to a gel-based food or other food source, i.e. frozen or live food. You can E-mail me at dthamm@dolphin.upenn.edu for a recipe for gel food.

Let's say I didn't read this in time. What can I do to treat it

(Note: Some of this stuff is pretty far out, but effective.)

1. Feed your fish a couple of peas. That's right, peas. Just get some frozen peas, thaw them, and feed them to your fish. A professor of fish medicine at N.C. State College of Veterinary Medicine has done this in several cases with very good results. He thinks that the peas somehow encourage destruction of the impaction. No hard scientific data yet, but it's worth a try.

2.Fast your fish for a couple of days. Withhold all food for three or four days, and sometimes this alone will break up the impaction and return things to normal. Most fish can go a week to ten days without food and be just fine.

3.Periodic aspiration of the swim bladder works very well. Basically, you stick a needle in the swim bladder and suck out some of the air. Not something to be entered into lightly, but does work well. This is not a cure, but a successful treatment. The head veterinarian at the Baltimore Aquarium prefers this method.

4.Partial pneumocystectomy. This is another word for surgical removal of part of the swim bladder. I mention this less as a practical option but more just to let people know that there are vets out there doing X-rays, surgery, general anesthesia, even cancer chemotherapy on fish.

*Note by Louis: Personally I dont recommend you trying steps 3 and 4 unless you are a surgon or doctor*

This arcticle can be found at:

http://www.netpets.com/fish/referenc.../swimbldr.html
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Old 03-02-2004, 12:54 PM   #2
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Default Small & more frequent feeding/Shallow water

GF are domesticated fish that will never survive in the wild. One of the main mutation that the GF underwent is to become "lazy" and are better fed. GF do not have a stomach and the food they eat goes straight into the guts. That is why they are never "full". 2 main preventions are i) feed small amounts many times a day (5 to 7 times), and ii) raise the GF in shallow water (10 inches and below recommended). I have never seen GF with swim bladder problem fully recover. The above steps will prolong its life and prevent GF from getting it but once inflicted, it will never be cured.
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Old 28-02-2004, 10:47 PM   #3
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Default Re: Small & more frequent feeding/Shallow water

Quote:
Originally posted by HN Lim
GF are domesticated fish that will never survive in the wild. One of the main mutation that the GF underwent is to become "lazy" and are better fed. GF do not have a stomach and the food they eat goes straight into the guts. That is why they are never "full". 2 main preventions are i) feed small amounts many times a day (5 to 7 times), and ii) raise the GF in shallow water (10 inches and below recommended). I have never seen GF with swim bladder problem fully recover. The above steps will prolong its life and prevent GF from getting it but once inflicted, it will never be cured.
Have you tried feeding pea, a common recommendation in many of the forums.
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Old 29-02-2004, 12:09 AM   #4
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Default Re: Re: Small & more frequent feeding/Shallow water

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Have you tried feeding pea, a common recommendation in many of the forums.
Sorry. Have not tried feeding pea because there is no need to. Never had any of these swim bladder problems for more than 10 years with my GF.
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Old 02-03-2004, 01:17 AM   #5
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Default Re: Small & more frequent feeding/Shallow water

Quote:
Originally posted by HN Lim
GF are domesticated fish that will never survive in the wild. One of the main mutation that the GF underwent is to become "lazy" and are better fed. GF do not have a stomach and the food they eat goes straight into the guts. That is why they are never "full". 2 main preventions are i) feed small amounts many times a day (5 to 7 times), and ii) raise the GF in shallow water (10 inches and below recommended). I have never seen GF with swim bladder problem fully recover. The above steps will prolong its life and prevent GF from getting it but once inflicted, it will never be cured.
Have seen some big Orandas and Ryukins at 35A. Wonder how such big goldfish can possible be raised in 10" depth of water.
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Old 07-03-2004, 10:41 PM   #6
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I have seen a lot of goldfishes with that problem. But I have seen green water as a good solution also to that problem, but does not have any scientific basis at all. Fasting, peas and high temp will also improve the condition sometimes to the fish. But with no guarantee.

Water level of only about 8 inches is also a good way as the water pressure is much lesser compared with a deeper pond.

PL of the Philippines
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Old 30-05-2004, 12:00 AM   #7
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A friend told me about his remedy of feeding activated charcoal, is there any truth in that

well, when goldfish get swim bladder disease, probably better to cull the fish

really not worth to find a cure
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Old 28-06-2004, 10:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HN Lim
GF are domesticated fish that will never survive in the wild. One of the main mutation that the GF underwent is to become "lazy" and are better fed. GF do not have a stomach and the food they eat goes straight into the guts. That is why they are never "full". 2 main preventions are i) feed small amounts many times a day (5 to 7 times), and ii) raise the GF in shallow water (10 inches and below recommended). I have never seen GF with swim bladder problem fully recover. The above steps will prolong its life and prevent GF from getting it but once inflicted, it will never be cured.
bro..gfs can survive in the wild..when i stayed for a period of time in jurong, i always go to the lakeside area..chinese garden park to fish for shrimps with my pop..and guess what..one particular day an oranda was happily swimming in the vast huge pond..that was many years ago..i guess with the blatant act by some aquarists of releasing unwanted flowerhorns..such rare occurances like this have dissappeared entirely..of course i disapprove of releasing gfs into such conditions as well.
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Old 10-08-2004, 01:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GHETTOKID
bro..gfs can survive in the wild..when i stayed for a period of time in jurong, i always go to the lakeside area..chinese garden park to fish for shrimps with my pop..and guess what..one particular day an oranda was happily swimming in the vast huge pond..that was many years ago..i guess with the blatant act by some aquarists of releasing unwanted flowerhorns..such rare occurances like this have dissappeared entirely..of course i disapprove of releasing gfs into such conditions as well.
Take one more step, disapprove releasing of Flowerhorn in the water sources.
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Old 21-08-2004, 11:46 AM   #10
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Epsom Salt seems to do wonders for fish

Alfalfa: Constipation is the cause of most of floating problems. Dr. Matthews has found that adding Alfalfa to the fish?s diet stimulates the intestinal track reducing constipation. A good dose of Alfalfa has been added to Pro-Gold.

references - fishsempai.com

Spirulina help reduce the problem of upside down floating caused by constipation.
goldfishconnection.com

also they say cod liver oil is a help
atm im still treating one of my fish for chronic SBD and and im trying codliver oil with spirulina pellets. in my case it has worked its wonders as none of my fish have SBd now

If worst comes to worst and it flips when u feed pellet food or blood worms switch to a vegetable and fruit diet
Peas, corn, mandrins, carrot even cooked potatoe
make sure they are all in bite size pieces before throwing them into your tank
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