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DAllen

How to diagnose intermittent swim bladder problem

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Hi All,

A long time reader of these threads but my first post.

I've a small problem with my beloved comet that has persisted for the last few months. He appears to suffer swim bladder that flares up after each feeding and then subsides in a few hours. It never reaches a degree where he cannot remain correctly orientated, rather he'll remain on the surface unless having a reason to forage around the tank or, when negatively buoyant, rest pointing upwards in a star gazing fashion. Otherwise, he is very healthy and shows no noticeable swelling. I've tried the usual treatment for constipation of starvation for 3 days followed by peas for 3 days and then epsom salt treatment. Neither were successful. I then tried a non-antibiotic anti-bacterial (if that makes sense) water treatment but again with no success. The only treatments for causes that I know of and have yet to try are antibiotics (impossible to get here in the UK with a veterinary prescription) and anti-parasitic. However, given that I appear to have eliminated constipation as a cause and given the rather predictable/mechanical nature of symptoms (directly after feeding), I'm starting to wonder if this is not a physiological issue rather than an infection of some sort. Would anyone have any advice that may help?

He's about 3 inches (excluding the tail) and I estimate a couple of years old but can't be certain as he was a rescue fish. My tank is a fully planted 75 gal/300 liter high-tech with immaculate RO/DI water and a constant 10ppm nitrate (fertilizer-derived, minimal via fish waste). Apart from a dozen or so red ramshorn snails, he has one companion - a common female goldfish of the same size and also a rescue.

Any and all advice greatly received

David

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Sorry I'm not allowed to give advice but I hope he gets better soon also I would recommend to fill out the D/D form below

  • Test Results for the Following:
    • * Ammonia Level(Tank)
    • * Nitrite Level(Tank)
    • * Nitrate level(Tank)
    • * Ammonia Level(Tap)
    • * Nitrite Level(Tap)
    • * Nitrate level(Tap)
    • * Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)
    • * Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)
    • Other Required Info:
      • * Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops?
      • * Water temperature?
      • * Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running?
      • * What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)?
      • * How often do you change the water and how much?
  • * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change?
  • * How many fish in the tank and their size?
  • * What kind of water additives or conditioners?
  • * What do you feed your fish and how often?
  • * Any new fish added to the tank?
  • * Any medications added to the tank?
  • * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment.
  • * Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus?
  • * Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.?
Edited by goldfishfanforever

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Yes, please fill out the form above. Also, i would like to ask a couple more questions:

  • With the RO water, are you adding a trace additive to replenish minerals that the fish need to function?
  • Could you please provide some video of the behavior? (Use photobucket or YouTube to upload, then paste link here.)
  • Is your female fish showing any unusual behavior?

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Hi Goldfishfanforever. Details below:

· Test Results for the Following:

o * Ammonia Level(Tank) 0

o * Nitrite Level(Tank) 0

o * Nitrate level(Tank) 10

o * Ammonia Level(Tap) n/a

o * Nitrite Level(Tap) n/a

o * Nitrate level(Tap) n/a

o * Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 7.4

o * Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) n/a

o Other Required Info:

§ * Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? API

§ * Water temperature? 26C/79F (it's hottest summer here)

§ * Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 75 gal/300 liters Eheim Principia

§ * What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? Eheim Pro 3 350 external

§ * How often do you change the water and how much? 50% every two weeks with RO/DI water of 0-2ppm by TDS measure (but nil Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrites)

· * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? >90% two weeks ago to clear epsom salt treatment.

· * How many fish in the tank and their size? 2 goldies - a common and a comet. Both c.3 inch body size and approx 2 years old

· * What kind of water additives or conditioners? All Seachem - plant-safe pH buffer, equilibrium to return plant goodies to RO/DI water, gold trace for trace elements needed by goldies. I also use EI dosing on fertilisers that I prepare but these are in extremely low frequency doses as the majority of my plants are slow growing. I also inject CO2 (with the usual swing in pH).

· * What do you feed your fish and how often? Twice daily, once in the morning with Saki-Hikari Fancy Goldfish as a staple (a dozen or so baby sticks between both fish) and once in the early evening (a mushed up shelled pea each on alternate days and either sushi nori (seaweed), algae gel, daphnia gel or bloodworm gel).

· * Any new fish added to the tank? No

· * Any medications added to the tank? No

· * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment. API Pimafix and Melafix one month ago and a 50% water change following treatment and 1 tbsp Epsom salt/10 gallon two weeks ago followed by a >90% water change following treatment.

· * Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? None

· * Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? See original post

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Hi ChelseaM. Yes, I am using a replenish and no, the female is in fine fettle!

Unfortunately, uploading a video may be beyond my technical skills but I will try this evening.

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Sorry, guys. Just noticed that I missed one piece of info on the diagnosis list - the tank has been up and running with a fully operational biofilter since June 2013

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If you have a YouTube account, you can upload it there quite easily. Once you've done that, just post the link here :)

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Would you mind testing your "Tap" (water going into your tank, however that may be.) parameters, please? The parameters of the water going into the tank are just as important as those in the tank.

Here is something I noticed regarding your tank's water change schedule: It is generally recommended to do at bare minimum a 50% water change every week. Even better, and as most of us here do, a 75% or lager weekly water change would be great. This is generally not because of the water parameters, but because of the other things we cannot easily test for that the fish produce, such as the dissolved solids from their feces. These fish in general are one of the messiest fish to keep, so a schedule like this is not excessive.

Could you provide the brand of algae/bloodworm/daphnia gels you use? Or the ingredients if they are homemade?

My apologies for all the questions. It's important for the moderating team to know everything that is going on so that they can provide educated suggestions. :)

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Hi ChelseaM - please note that, because of the appalling water quality from my tap (c50ppm Nitirates), I have my own RO/DI system that means the unadjusted water going into my tank is near zero ppm. This is confirmed by using a TDS measuring device for each batch and, where a total ppm >0 is obtained (and it's always in the region of 0-2), I check all the usual aquarium parameters and they are always nil.

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Sorry ChelseaM. I missed the rest of your questions.

Regarding the water changes, please note the volume of my tank and the total bio-load. Please also note that it's a fully planted tank. Given these, wouldn't a 50% change of water already be conservative. After rescuing these two goldfish from a slow poisoning in an inadequate bowl, I did choose this set up to house them until they die of old age and at full size. I'd be mortified if my waterchanges are now inadequate and my inaction could in any way be harming my beloved fish.

The food is of the fresh sachet type produced by Tetra and listed below:

Tetra Fresh Delica Daphnia

Tetra Fresh Delica Whole Bloodworms

Tetra Natura Algae Mix

... and please don't apologise for the questions. I'm relatively new to fish husbandry and am keen to learn.

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I'm aware, but it is generally important to check anyway and record for reference. :)

What TDS device are you using?

What is the PH coming through the RO system? This actually can vary quite a bit, though it should remain at neutral 7 but can fluctuate due to aging.

It's always appropriate to test, so that any fluctuations from the *should be* and the *actual* are noted every time.

As for the WCs, I did note your stocking, parameters, and plants, and would still suggest 50% or better weekly WCs regardless. There are several of us here who have very beautiful planted tanks with amazing parameters, yet still use this same routine. I would check out our moderator Tithra's tanks on YouTube. Personally, 100% of my parameters read zero (even for nitrates) after up to 2 weeks, and I still run my weekly WCs, even up as high as 90% in my 127 gallon pond with 4 goldfish and enough water lettuce and hyacinth to cover it between half and fully. It really would be beneficial for you to bring your WCs from bi-weekly to weekly to prevent a buildup of dissolved solids, as well as to provide a replenishing of necessary minerals that have been used and to provide the fish with clean water in which to grow. It's something that not only I, but the community here as a whole, will tell any new member because it is just that important when dealing with these extremely messy fish. In addition, the water changes create a very clean environment for the fish and will aid in growth and development, as well as maintenance of healthy digestion and activity just because the water is clean. As descendants of river-dwelling carp, goldfish do benefit from a consistently high influx of fresh water whenever possible. If you peruse breeders' forums, you are likely to find a high percentage of them doing daily water changes of significant amount in their tanks while raising fry to aid in their development. While with adult fish we don't need to go that far, I wouldn't recommend going 2 weeks between changes.

Your tap water is a nightmare... have you contacted your water company? :o Serious condolences on that. It can't be too healthy for you or the fish.

Edited by ChelseaM

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Hello,

Does the issue happen regardless of food, or more after a particular one. I noticed that you are feeding a very nice variety of them. :)

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Hi dnalex - It has been following all foods, even the shelled and crushed boiled peas. That said, it's been noticeably less acute in the hours after I feed him the sushi nori but then that's the softest of all the foods. I do, of course, soak all dried food first.

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when you tried fasting for 3 days was he floaty during the fasting time at all?

Have you ever tried eliminating the pellets from his diet for a period of time?

Also, could you :please post a pic of your tank? I just want to see it :D No clinical reason :P

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Sorry ChelseaM. I missed the rest of your questions.

Regarding the water changes, please note the volume of my tank and the total bio-load. Please also note that it's a fully planted tank. Given these, wouldn't a 50% change of water already be conservative. After rescuing these two goldfish from a slow poisoning in an inadequate bowl, I did choose this set up to house them until they die of old age and at full size. I'd be mortified if my waterchanges are now inadequate and my inaction could in any way be harming my beloved fish.

The food is of the fresh sachet type produced by Tetra and listed below:

Tetra Fresh Delica Daphnia

Tetra Fresh Delica Whole Bloodworms

Tetra Natura Algae Mix

... and please don't apologise for the questions. I'm relatively new to fish husbandry and am keen to learn.

Looking at the 'fresh delica's' online it looks like they are freeze dried foods (you can correct me if I am wrong here, but the packaging says they do not need refrigeration which leads me to believe they are freeze dried). Freeze dried foods should be avoided. You can get frozen blood worms/daphnia etc. that are much better for the digestive tract. I would discontinue feeding these foods as a starting point.

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Never mind, I take my comments above back ;) Looks like they are not freeze dried, they are in some sort of gel? huh. :P haven't seen this in the states yet.

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Never mind, I take my comments above back ;) Looks like they are not freeze dried, they are in some sort of gel? huh. :P haven't seen this in the states yet.

Yeah I think I've had those before for my fish and the gel dissolves in the water when fed

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when you tried fasting for 3 days was he floaty during the fasting time at all?

Have you ever tried eliminating the pellets from his diet for a period of time?

Also, could you :please post a pic of your tank? I just want to see it :D No clinical reason :P

Hi Tihra,

He wasn't floaty at all during the fasting period, rather he was sinky. This became obvious only when he was resting pointing upwards using his pectoral fins to remain static. Otherwise he was seemingly okay, just as he is between normal feeding. I'm truly stumped and hate seeing his resting period interrupted as you just know he's more stressed than need be and that's got to take its toll eventually.

Would post a pic but the tank's on night cycle at the moment.

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I might try eliminating the pellets and any other dry foods you might be feeding for awhile and see if that makes a difference. There are several good gel food recipes for floaty fish pinned in the foods section that you could try out. Repashy gel food is another option if you can get it where you are.

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Sadly, I've tried and it's been no help. The only good upside is that I'm now confident that the cause is not the usual impacted food constipation.

Probably a dumb question but how do I attach an image?

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Sadly, I've tried and it's been no help. The only good upside is that I'm now confident that the cause is not the usual impacted food constipation.

Probably a dumb question but how do I attach an image?

Use a photo website like photobucket and copy the img code I think its the img code and paste it here

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I'd like a video of the fish after she's been fed and experiencing issues, please. :)

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You can use tinypic if you don't want to have to deal with setting up an account

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Sorry ChelseaM. I missed the rest of your questions.

Regarding the water changes, please note the volume of my tank and the total bio-load. Please also note that it's a fully planted tank. Given these, wouldn't a 50% change of water already be conservative. After rescuing these two goldfish from a slow poisoning in an inadequate bowl, I did choose this set up to house them until they die of old age and at full size. I'd be mortified if my waterchanges are now inadequate and my inaction could in any way be harming my beloved fish.

The food is of the fresh sachet type produced by Tetra and listed below:

Tetra Fresh Delica Daphnia

Tetra Fresh Delica Whole Bloodworms

Tetra Natura Algae Mix

... and please don't apologise for the questions. I'm relatively new to fish husbandry and am keen to learn.

I agree with the things Chelsea said. While the less frequent water changes may not be causing your immediate problem, large weekly water changes can only do good. I do a 95% weekly water change in my planted tank.

I, too, noticed that many aquarists on planted tank forums recommend very infrequent water changes, and have wondered why this is. It's true that large, frequent water changes may not be needed for tanks that house only plants or a very small number of little fish, but clean water is the absolute best preventive measure you can provide for your fish. With goldfish being such high waste producers due to their larger mass, large, frequent water changes are a necessity, and greatly improve their quality of life.

And I definitely know what you mean about their new tank looking like a five-star resort compared to the bowl they came from. When I got into fishkeeping, our 5 fancy goldfish had been kept in a 10-gallon tank that got a *yearly* water change! Needless to say, my fish are much happier and healthier now.

Have you tried feeding a complete-nutrition gel food like Repashy Soilent Green? My fantail had intermittent swim bladder problems, and they went away completely after I made the switch. Not saying this will definitely work in your case, but it's an excellent staple food and may be worth a try.

Edited by *Amanda*

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Many thanks, Amanda. Will try the Soilent Green. It looks a little difficult to get here in the UK but will give it a try.

Will also try to upload a video and some photos.

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