Aquatics - Swim Bladder

Aquatics - Swim Bladder

Treating swimbladder infections

You look into your beloved aquarium and – boom – one of your fish is swimming on its side at the top of the tank but it’s not dead. It doesn’t seem to be able to balance or regulate its buoyancy and is struggling to get to the food. This sounds like a swimbladder infection.


How should I treat swimbladder infections?

Swimbladder disorders are stressful for your fish so it’s important to treat them as soon as possible. Delaying treatment may mean their weakened immune system contracts other diseases or that your fish becomes thin and malnourished as they’re unable to feed.

Use a swimbladder treatment such as Swimbladder Treatment Plus, that is designed to attack the bacterial infection that causes the problem. Work out how much treatment you need for your aquarium using the dosage calculator and follow guidelines carefully; taking note of any instructions or repeat dose measures.

This treatment should be used in partnership with Aquilibrium First Aid Salt which will help your fish with successful osmoregulation. Osmoregulation is the way in which the salinity of your fish’s body harmonises with the salinity of the surrounding water, which speeds up recovery. The swimbladder is a crucial organ in successful osmoregulation, so supporting it gives your fish the best chance of recovery. Learn why tonic salts help fish in a freshwater aquarium.

Knowing your fish and their ‘normal’ behaviour will help you spot problems early and enable you to deal with them promptly.



Other causes of buoyancy issues

Swimbladder problems can also be hereditary. ‘Fancy’ goldfish like moors; veiltails and orandas often have misshapen swimbladders and are particularly prone to the problem. Tropical fish such as; Betta (Siamese Fighters), Platys and Angels are also more susceptible to swimbladder disorders, so keep an eye on their behaviour.

Buoyancy problems can also be caused by a fish swallowing too much air. This can happen if they gulp air when eating from the water’s surface. It may be beneficial to hold the food further into the water as you feed (with clean hands), to force the fish to swim down to eat.  Alternatively, purchase a tablet-type food that you can stick on the inside of the glass, part way down.


How to be sure

Swimbladder infections make it tough for your fish to swim properly and keep balance in the water.  This may make them look like they’re swimming a bit lopsided, sinking down to the bottom or floating to the top of your aquarium. It’s also likely that they have a swollen and uncomfortable abdomen and so are not eating their food.


Step 1 – Treat your fish

  • Remove the carbon filter out of your filtration – but don’t forget to return it 7 days after the last dose.
  • Use Swimbladder treatment treatment, you can check the correct dosage for your aquarium size
  • Also dose with Aqualibrium First Aid Salt – it helps boost your fish’s ability to fight the illness.
  • Give your fish some time-out to recover – avoid excessive cleaning, re-decorating or adding new fishy friends.
  • To re-treat, or treat another problem, follow the on pack guidelines for using more treatment.

Watch Out! – Treatments can sometimes reduce oxygen levels in the water. If you see fish gasping at the surface, you can increase oxygen by adding an air pump.


Step 2 – Treat your aquarium

  • When fish are sick, always test your aquarium water for excessive ammonia, nitrite, nitrate or pH imbalance.
  • Treat any unhealthy results to rebalance your water quality and give your fish the best chance of getting fighting fit again.
  • Check all your equipment is working properly – especially filters and heaters (check your aquarium temperature with your thermometer).  Carry out any maintenance needed, or replace faulty or broken parts.


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