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How to diagnose intermittent swim bladder problem


DAllen

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This a a very interesting thread, since comets rarely have swim bladder problems. I've been reading various reports of this problem, and a lot of cases occur in fish kept in terrible conditions, which is clearly not happening with your fish. I don't know what to do about this condition, so I'd just like to throw out some things I might try if this were my fish.

Just a couple of questions:

How deep is your tank? Fish with swim bladder problems do best in shallow water. You are in the unusual situation of being understocked. (Bravo!) This gives you the option of lowering the water level in your tank. My own experience with ponds of various depths convinces me that a high surface-to-volume ratio makes for the happiest, healthiest goldfish.

Are you aerating? I've seen the suggestion (which I actually don't believe) that goldfish floating head up may be needing more oxygen. Even though I doubt that suggestion, you can't go wrong by adding more air. Of course a major advantage of shallow water is better gas exchange.

A feeding suggestion: Can you get some duckweed? If so, why not try a diet of duckweed-only for a week or so. Duckweed is close to being a complete goldfish food. Unlike land green veggies, it contains a lot of high-quality protein as well as fiber and vitamins, and can be fed live, without any nutrients being degraded by cooking. If the fish improves with this diet, you can add each the foods you are using now, one at a time, to see if any are contributing to the problem

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Hi Sharon. Many thanks for your reply. Definitely a few things to consider. Thanks also for the nice comment on under-stocking.

It is a deep tank measuring W/H/D 100/55/65cm or 40"/22"/26". I have read with interest other comments on depth suggesting stress on the fish from frequent changes in depth but have no knowledge of its actual effect. I do, however, use a very large airstone to provide additional aeration particularly as I angle my spray bar down into the tank and subsequently have less surface agitation. I angle the spray bar down as I have an external CO2 diffuser on the output pipe of my external filter and this helps maximise the CO2 diffusion.

I'll look for some duckweed but I don't think I've ever seen it for sale which may mean stealing some from a local park. Just a thought, though - how do you control how much they eat. Will they just gorge themselves or do they only eat what they need? Also, would you know if it can withstand a permanganate bath only I'm really really cautious about anything that goes into the tank? I've got some Repashy Soilent Green on order following Amanda's advice. I guess the worst that can happen is that my goldies end up with an even more varied and interesting diet.

One potential item of note from another forum that may be relevant to me is the effect of the CO2. Without the CO2, I have a stabilised 7.4 that I understand to be near perfect for goldies. With the CO2 however, this drops a whole one point to 6.5 and this cycle occurs each 24 hour period. This has been a nagging item at the back of my mind for some time and it's certainly the first thing I'm going to try. I'll not run the CO2 system for the next week and just watch. If this doesn't work, I'll try the food.

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The pressure difference between water that is 60 cm deep and water that is 30 cm deep is imperceptible to you, but it's a big deal for a fish. A fish with SBD will be much more comfortable and functional in the low pressure of shallow water. If you consider the possible consequences of changing water levels on a fish in the wild, it is hardly surprising that they are very sensitive to changes in pressure -- "The water is going down, head for the depths!" If it won't mess up your planted tank, I suggest halving the depth. This means you will have to double the % of water you change to 50% once a week. You will be changing exactly the same volume of water as you are doing now, but you will make Chelsea and Amanda so happy. :nana I think the fish are happier with more frequent water changes, and I use a continuous drip for my ponds. If this would mess up the plants, you could move the fish to a temporary tank in which the water is just deep enough for swimming and see if that helps.

You are so lucky to be able to get duckweed from the park. I have to buy mine and hope I can keep it alive through the hot summers/ Here is a source which includes permanganate treatment for disinfecting duckweed. Bleach is fatal for this plant. If you get some duckweed and put int in your tank, once the fish have tasted it, they will eat every scrap. What you want to do is set up a duckweed tub. You can feed it the water you remove from your tank during water changes and adding some fertilizer doesn't hurt. I wouldn't worry at all about overfeeding duckweed. This plant races through the digestive tract, which is just what you want. The problem is always growing enough duckweed for your fish.

Yes, I saw the comment about the CO2. I'm rather uneasy about putting CO2 in a fish tank. I doubt if that's the whole problem, but do check it out. Goldfish don't like a pH below 7.

Edited by shakaho
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Many thanks for the excellent advice, Sharon. Given so many variables to test, I think it'd be best if I do this in stages so I stand a better chance of identifying the cause. I'll start with exclusion of the CO2 for a week to remove the pH swing and buffer at 7.5 for the whole period. Then I'll do the food, then the water level. Interestingly, I fed sushi nori last evening and the evening before and he's not shown the positive buoyancy immediately following. He was even okay after the usual HIkari sticks this morning as I was at home to watch. That said, he's still been sleeping facing the stars (assumed negatively buoyant) at night though.

I'm looking forward to a ninja-style raid on my local park. They fence off most of the ponds in the parks in London and I get the impression you're discouraged from stepping over.

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I'm looking forward to a ninja-style raid on my local park. They fence off most of the ponds in the parks in London and I get the impression you're discouraged from stepping over.

Be brave! This is for your fish.

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Many thanks for the excellent advice, Sharon. Given so many variables to test, I think it'd be best if I do this in stages so I stand a better chance of identifying the cause. I'll start with exclusion of the CO2 for a week to remove the pH swing and buffer at 7.5 for the whole period. Then I'll do the food, then the water level. Interestingly, I fed sushi nori last evening and the evening before and he's not shown the positive buoyancy immediately following. He was even okay after the usual HIkari sticks this morning as I was at home to watch. That said, he's still been sleeping facing the stars (assumed negatively buoyant) at night though.

I'm looking forward to a ninja-style raid on my local park. They fence off most of the ponds in the parks in London and I get the impression you're discouraged from stepping over.

For food you could try emerald entree. It's a frozen food and comes in a pack like frozen bloodworms or brine shrimp.

It's really messy so I would feed in a separate container.

I don't know if it would work on your fish but it works on some

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Actually, I really would like to focus on frozen bloodworms or brine right now, in addition to the suggestions shakaho has made. I'm sure there will come a time to test other foods that may work, but I think brine and bloodworms are two things that have some pretty good track records. :)

Edited by dnalex
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Actually, I really would like to focus on frozen bloodworms or brine right now, in addition to the suggestions shakaho has made. I'm sure there will come a time to test other foods that may work, but I think brine and bloodworms are two things that have some pretty good track records. :)

Yes! Bloodworms are great, and goldfish love 'em. [emoji1]

I haven't fed brine shrimp in a while, but I remember mine really liked that too.

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