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Last Resort for Swimbladder


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Hey everyone, I have had a red cap with very bad swim bladder for about a year and a half now. She has always had buoyancy issues but as she has got bigger, she is now not able to push herself up and lays on her side. She is in a separate quarantine tank. I was wondering if anyone has had any experience of taking their fish for a operation on their swim bladder? I think it's the last thing I can try now. Many thanks, Alex

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I'm sorry about your fish.

Here is the chart that motherredcap is referring to:

  • 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.?
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* Ammonia Level(Tank) 0

* Nitrite Level(Tank) 0

* Nitrate level(Tank) 0-10

* Ammonia Level(Tap) not tested

* Nitrite Level(Tap) not tested

* Nitrate level(Tap) not tested

* Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 7.6

* Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) not tested

Other Required Info:

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

* Water temperature? Not tested

* Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? Hospital tank of 30 litres. Been running for about 3 months but fully cycled water went into it originally.

* What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? Pf1 interpet

* How often do you change the water and how much? Every week, around 20%

* How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? Changed today around 20%

* How many fish in the tank and their size? 1 fish appx 6 inches

* What kind of water additives or conditioners? Tetra aqua safe

* What do you feed your fish and how often? Hikari sinking pellets everyday

* 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.

Had the fish for a year and a half and she has always had buoyancy issues due to being so egg shaped. She was in my big tank but I took her out as she has trouble getting her food. She has had salt treatments before in my big tank but because it is a physical problem with her shape I have not given her anymore salt treatments since she has been in quarantine.

* Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? No

* Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.?

She just lays on her side and will thrash about a bit to try and eat. She cannot get onto her stomach. She has been like it for around 6 months

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Oh, poor baby!

If you copy in the IMG link, it will embed the photo.

A moderator will be by soon, in the meantime for clarification purposes:

When you say that you have given salt treatments, can you give us more details on that? You've had her in the hospital tank for 3 months?

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Hi. Can you test your water please. 6" fish in 8 gallons of water, changed 20% a week.... No way all numbers that low. Also, water is not cycled. Bacteria can colonize on surfaces and in filters but not in water. It is possible the filter is established after 3 months though. What kind of salt did you use?

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Well, the water is that. I don't get it all out and measure the 20%, that's an estimation. The water is definitely cycled. I have been keeping fish for three years successfully and know that the water conditions are not the problem with this fish. My question was if anyone had any experience with taking their fish to the vet to get their swim bladder sorted. I used standard API aquarium salt.

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Have you talked with the vet at all to see if surgery is an option for this fish? I'd be curious to find that out . . .

Jason is correct in that it is not the water that is cycled but the media in the filter. The beneficial bacteria do not circulate throughout the tank, they live on the filter media/surfaces of the tank.

How does the fish's poop look? Does the belly feel soft or firm? :idont

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I haven't yet but I think I'm going to phone them tomorrow. I have just read on another forum on here that laying on the side may be a detached swim bladder? I bought her and she only had one eye and has been in the wars in her little life before I got her so I desperately wanted to help. Her belly isn't hard or particularly soft it feels the same as my other goldies who are all healthy and she poops fine no stringy poo just all healthy ones. I have literally tried every trick in the book with her but I am thinking now that the vet would be the only option, it's just a bit of a nightmare finding one around me that will look at her

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It's probably a deflated lobe of the swim bladder. Does she always lay on that same side? :idont

I think I'd call the vet and get his/her opinion. Would you be able to send the pic? That might be helpful.

Swim bladders are such a problem with fancy GF.

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She does sometimes flip herself over when she goes to get her food but because she only has one eye I often flip her back over straight away cos I think it must be horrible for her to just have her one eye pointing down. Yep it's such a nightmare! I've been very lucky with my other fish because they haven't had bouyancy problems, but it's effected this one so badly. Thank you for your comments :)

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Was on of the "tricks" you tried, antibiotics? I didn't see that in your form answers. That would probably be the next course of action, after ruling out constipation, as a bacterial infection could be causing the swim bladder to malfunction. However, at this point it may be past the time for antibiotics to help. Are you planning on seeing Dr. Wildgoose? He is currently helping another member on the Forum who lives in London.

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Hi Glitzy, I'm sorry to hear about your little fish, she looks a beauty. I understand your frustration, I have had a sinker for at least 3 years. He lives on the bottom permanently and I have to wipe the floor of the tank most days to try and keep his tummy healthy.

When he first got SBD he would lie on his side and back. He then developed dropsy which I treated with antibiotics. Since then he has managed to keep upright, but I think his huge eyes help him- they kind of act like stabilisers on a bike! I've also considered surgery, but I was informed that his swimbladder is most likely to be permanently deflated and there's nothing that can really be done. I have tried harnesses briefly in the past but it isnt worth the damage that can be done to their delicate slime coat.

Helen on here also has a lot of trial and error with a sinker she had in the past- a stunning calico called Mr Disabled. It might be worth searching for some of her older posts.

Anyways, I just wanted to say that you have our support and understand the frustration. Please let us know what the vet has to say... fins crossed on a treatment plan

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Thank you so much that's really kind and nice to know someone understands how frustrating and hard it is. Part of me feels I should have euthanised her but I just love her too much and want to exhaust every possibility first. That's great I will have a look through old posts. Thank you again and best of luck with your little fighter :)

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Hi Glitzy,

I'm the member going through the same thing with my fantail at the moment and took him to see Mr Wildgoose in Leyton.

Norman has been on his side for 2 months now, he seems healthy in every way other than his inability to sit upright or swim - its heartbreaking - I love him to bits and pieces, he's been with me since he was a baby so 3.5 years now - so I know exactly how you are feeling.

Im not sure if this is any help but thought I would share my experience with you as it can be hard to find a vet to treat fish not to mention it is seriously expensive.

I took Norman to see Mr Wildgoose and after asking his full back story to rule out any obvious causes he then x-rayed him.

The x-ray showed that his swimbladder was being pushed to his left hand side by something going on in his right hand side. He tried an ultrasound but couldnt see what the problem in his right hand side was. As an experienced aquatic vet who has carried out numerous autopsies on fish with the same problem - his best guess was disease/deformity in his kidneys, causing inflammation/swelling and therefore pushing his swimbladder across to one side. He said it is quite common for fancy goldfish to be pre-disposed to kidney issues and this type of thing can come out of the blue. Im inclined to think it is because I let my water quality slip (I know I did, and my other fish got sick at the same time) and this left him vulnerable to a pre-disposed condition. From what Mr Wildgoose has said this would probably have happened to Norman no matter what, so Im trying not to blame myself but its really hard.

I was given Baytril to bathe him in with the hope it would kill anything bacterial and allow his swimbladder to move back across. Unfortunately this hasnt happened. Any damage is either too far gone and irreversible, or it isnt bacterial at all.

Not sure if that helps, but I thought I would share it with you.

Let me know if you have any questions I could help with, I hope you manage to find a remedy for your little guy, I know how horrible it is seeing them so helpless :(

Take care

Dawn

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Thank you so much for sharing that with me dawn. Can I ask you how your goldie is doing now? Is it in quarantine at all and are you just going to continue on as you are? I think I'm in the same situation as you are. If I'm honest I don't think there is anything more I can do, and from reading your comments I think the vet would probably tell me the same. I'm kind of at a loss of what to do next now though. My other tank is a 350 litre and quite deep so I don't think introducing her back in would be for the best. Thank you again and hugs to your little fish! Xx

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Hi Glitzy,

He's not been in quarantine as the other fish was sick too (popeye - which now seems to actually be an eye tumour - how's my luck?!) so they have stayed in the main tank together and I treated them both with various antibiotics before taking him to the vet. The vet also said it wasn't necessary to QT him. They are very close so I think it would be stressful to separate them.

Unfortunately right now I'm just putting off the inevitable. I know I need to put him to sleep really, he has no quality of life. Perhaps if he was bottom sitting and the right way up and could shuffle around and still feed himself then I would look at it differently - but they way he is, on his side all day every day, unable to swim or sit upright or snuffle around for food - it's no life for him, he must be miserable. I think next week I will pick a day and have to euthanise him :( It will break my heart to do it but I love him too much to see him suffer any more. Sorry its not a more positive plan of action, I think you have to take every case on it's on merits so I can't really comment on what you should do for your little fish, but that is what I'm going to do for mine. Its making me cry just typing this :(

I don't know how my other fish is going to cope, I will really need to get her another little friend as they have been together since they were babies, but with her eye in the state it is and the tank looking pretty shabby and only recently recycled after the antibiotics wiping out my cycle Im reluctant to introduce any new fish. Also no fish could ever replace Norman - he's one of a kind :)

Will see how she does, she needs to go to the vet about her eye anyway so will see what he thinks.

350 litre tank sounds amazing!! I would love a tank that size! (mine is only 160 litre)

x

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