Swim bladder disease in fish

A fish affected by a swim bladder will swim upside down, have difficulty moving, and appear clumsy due to collisions with surrounding objects.

Fish get swim bladder disease when they swim on their back when seems awkward and doesn’t move naturally or when it affects objects around it, among many other symptoms. Sometimes this occurs as a result of various reasons such as inadequate maintenance of water conditions, viral or bacterial infections, sudden changes in temperature or, in some species, poor nutrition can cause the bladder to not swell or deflate at the fish’s discretion. .

What is a swim bladder

swim bladder This is an internal organ present in most bony fish and serves to control their buoyancy.. It is a flexible-walled sac filled with gas and located in the coelom, just below the spine. The fish is able to regulate the amount of gas inside depending on whether it wants to rise, fall, or be neutrally buoyant, without the need for muscular effort. Bony fish have a specific gravity slightly higher than water, but not all fish of this type have a swim bladder. In addition, many predatory fish do not have it either and have the advantage that they are able to move quickly at different depths, while fish with a swim bladder They are limited to a certain depth in the water..

Symptoms of swim bladder in fish

Fish whose swim bladder is affected It will float upside down, have difficulty moving, and will look clumsy as it bumps into objects around it.. Sometimes it remains at the bottom of the aquarium, unable to swim. In addition, you will experience uncontrolled and uncompensated flotation, general bloating, problems with bowel movements and lack of appetite.

Fish swim bladder symptoms are clearFish swim bladder symptoms are clear

However, there are many other symptoms that will tell us whether our pet is sick: white and black spots, lethargy, blisters with feces, lack of appetite, loss of petioles or broken fins. If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, it is best to contact a professional who can explain what steps to take in your specific case. It is important to separate this fish from the rest.if you have more because you can infect them with a possible virus.

Causes of swim bladder

The main problem that causes swim bladder imbalance is due to eating dry scales, but this is not the only reason. Other causes of this disease are due to bacterial infections, gross negligence in water conditions or congenital pathology. Sometimes, cases of dropsy may occur, that is, an ailment, usually of bacterial or viral origin, that also affects the swim bladder, preventing its proper functioning. Except, Constant interbreeding of related individuals is the most common cause of this disease., that is, due to genetic problems, although it can also occur spontaneously. However, these cases are rare and recovery is unlikely.

How to Prevent a Swim Bladder

Prevention is essential to prevent your fish from developing swim bladder disease, so there are a number of techniques and techniques you should follow to prevent your pet from developing this disease.

Feeding your fish twice a week with raw or cooked vegetables is optimal for recovery.Feeding your fish twice a week with raw or cooked vegetables is optimal for recovery.
  • For now we feed the fish with dry food. First you need to soak it in a glass of water from the aquarium itself for at least 4-5 minutes.. This will prevent food from entering the body of our fish in dry form.
  • Highly recommended Feed our fish a plant-based diet at least once or twice a week. such as: carrots, peas, spinach, lettuce, etc., previously softened in water or cooked and cut into very small pieces. Avoid eating these foods with salt or peel.
  • If, despite our care, the fish is prone to swim bladder disease, we will have to immediately exclude dry food from its diet and feed only plant or live food like mosquito larvae.


This disease only affects certain fish, and its presence in an aquarium does not mean that it causes the disease in other animals, unless its origin is a bacterial infection of the digestive system. Now, whether the disease is caused by your pet’s inadequate husbandry, poor nutrition, or low-fiber diet, Damage to the bag is usually irreparable.. The only possible option is to provide the pet with the best conditions available to us or to painlessly eliminate it in an extremely severe case.

Swim Bladder Treatment

In this section we will see how to solve the problem of bladder swellingThat is, if the cause of our pet’s illness is due to an infection or other medical condition in addition to a bladder problem, other steps will need to be taken, and these steps will not be helpful in other cases.

Aquarium care is essential for the health of our fish.Aquarium care is essential for the health of our fish.

How to solve the problem of bladder swelling:

  • First of all, take our pet out of the aquarium in which he is located and place him in another. This new aquarium should be filled with clean water treated with some kind of water purifier or anti-chlorine. and we will not add any filters, decorations or objects. All you have to do is install an aerator to improve water circulation.
  • If we notice that our fish is stressed and we know that it has been nested for a long time, You can fill the aquarium with a minimum level of water so that it covers only the fish.. This will allow you to move more comfortably and freely, and will also help you get into the correct position.

    Another option is to try to hold the fish straight with your hand. Of course, with great care and holding him in your arms as little as possible, so that the pet feels free and can leave whenever he wants. If we see that the fish is uncomfortable, it is better to leave it so as not to subject it to even more stress and not to aggravate the situation.

  • It is best that the fish does not eat for 3-4 days so that it can evacuate all the accumulated stool and gases. When those days are over, we will give you boiled peas without salt, husks or additives. And peas are an excellent food to prevent and treat digestive problems or related problems, which will allow our pet to remove all the substances accumulated in his intestines.
  • The most normal thing at this point is that your fish has already recovered. Otherwise, you will have to administer a small dose, that is, several 2-3 drops of vegetable or olive oil directly into the mouth using a syringe or dropper. Care must be taken to ensure that drops of oil do not come into contact with the eyes or gills.
  • As an additional treatment in case you have recovered or not, can you give him metrodinazolecommercially known as Flagyl, at a dose of 250 mg per 20 liters of water.
  • In extreme cases, that is, in cases where neither of the two previous treatments has helped, you can ask an experienced aquarist or veterinarian to perform a minor operation on your pet, which will involve removing the accumulated air using a syringe. Only specialists can do this. because it is a dangerous operation that can cause irreversible harm to the fish.

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