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The Sadness And Frustration Of Having A Sick Fish


Dreamgoddess

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Everytime I go by my tank, I just wanna cry. Creamsickle, my oranda, has had SBD for months now. I've tried everything that's been suggested to me by members here. I've spent hours reading countless different websites just trying to find something that will help her. Nothing has helped at all.

At first, she would spend lots of time in a corner basically standing on her head. Then it progressed to the point where she was flipping over when she would swim. Now, it's to the point where she floats upside down at the top of the tank all the time. I just wonder how long she can live like this.

She can't swim to the bottom, she can't stay right side up for more than a few seconds at a time. The only way she can eat is if the food is right in front of her mouth. I have to basically put the food in her mouth for her to be able to eat.

I'm just sick about her and so frustrated that I can't seem to help her. My husband says that there comes a time when you just have to let go. I can't do it though. She's such a beautiful fish and every time I come up to the tank, she's there greeting me.

I keep wondering what I could have done that would have prevented this. Did I not clean the tank as well as I should have or as often? Did I not feed her the right foods, or should I have given her a better balance of foods? The questions are endless.

My husband thinks I'm being really ridiculous over a fish, but I can't help it. Other than floating upside down at the top, she looks perfectly healthy. She has the most beautiful long flowing fins and I can tell that she's really grown just in the six months that I've had her.

I wish I knew if being upside down all the time is making her suffer. For those of you that have euthanized your fish, how in the world did you bring yourself to finally do it?

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I'm sorry your fish hasn't recovered from it's floaty problems. Who knows why these problems start? It could have been water quality or it might simply just be the genetic inheritance of this fish to develope these problems.

I have a similar issue with one fish but she hasn't reached the float upside down at the top all day stage, but she is upside down a great deal of the time. I think it's easier for her to rest that way, it must use a great deal of energy to stay upright when your body wants to flip over.

The bad news is that she may never return to normal. The good news is that a fish can survive indefinately with this condition if it receives good care. You may have to continue to hand feed her but she is happy to see you and enjoys her food. This indicates that she is coping well with her condition. I don't think she is 'suffering' in the normal sense of the word. It's not the ideal life but she is not in pain.

Try not to be sad about it, just think of her as an invalid fish that needs extra care.

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Hello DG,

I'm so sorry about your oranda. :(

As Annette said, they can survive for sometime like this but it is heartbreaking to watch. I understand your frustration and saddness and while I don't agree with your husband's "it is only a fish" approach, there is a point in time when it is best to let her go and release both of you. I can't tell you when that time is but you will know in your heart when the time is right. All the best and our thoughts are with you.

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Tamianth, I'm so sorry to hear about your fish! I know I'm gonna cry too. :cry1

I don't really feel like Creamsicle is at that point yet...or maybe it's that I'm not. I just don't know what else I can do. I soak all their foods, fast and feed peas once a week. I do at least a 50% water change every week.

I don't have the tank salted...I wonder if that would help some.

I think as long as she's still eating and doesn't really act like she's in pain or anything, I'm going to take care of her. I don't care if I have to hand feed her.

I just wish there was some kind of magical cure for SBD. :(

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I know this feeling all too well :crp . My beautiful fantail Harry had SWB for months now. He is always upside down, either on the bottom or floating at the top. I too have tried everything, from medications, to salt. I've just accepted that this is the way he will be now. He manages to swim to the bottom and eat, and I really don't think he's suffering too much. I just try to care for him as best I can. Don't give up hope, your fish may live a long time like this! As long as my Harry seems like he isn't suffering, I'm going to make sure he's living the best life possible :)

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Hi DG,

This is all blue sky stuff but when all the meds have failed, it usually means that there is a problem with the mechanism for inflating and deflating their air bladder. People have tried physical intervention like special jacket or harness to right them or counteract the lack of/excess buoyancy. Most of these do not work and can bring on secondary problems like rubbing their skin raw and give them sores and ulcers but a few have worked to a certain degree. In fact, there are threads on this and other board detailing what was done and how successful they were.

People have also tried to draw out the gas from the bladder with a hypo needle. Same problem. It works sometimes but not always and real risk of phyiscal damage to vital organs. A few have even attempted surgery by a vet. We go to extraordinary lengths for our wet friends.

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Captk's right sadly! :(

I've read many of those same threads myself. A lot of people would like to see a cure for it. Have you tried making gel food rather then sinking pellets? It might help at least for awhile.

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I read some of those too and have to say I wouldn't dare try inserting a needle in her. I'd probably do more harm than good just cause I wouldn't have a clue what I was doing! I did think about the harness, but decided I didn't want to take the risk of sores developing.

I did make some gel food once, but don't think I really did it right. I might try making some again and see if it turns out better than the first batch.

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