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Safe Addition For Goldie With Swim Bladder Problems?


Guest sammyfish

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Guest sammyfish

i have a ryukin named sammy. he is a very beautiful fish, but has had swim bladder problems for the past 18 months: he floats face down and doesn't navigate well. his tankmate, a pleco named flauberta, had to be removed several months ago b/c she had clued in to his difficulties and was latching onto him (they had previously cohabited well for 3 yrs). he is much happier living alone in many respects except for one important one: although he is frisky and eats with good appetite, he really doesn't poop much. as a result i am pretty sure his waste is not sufficient enough to support beneficial bacteria.... or at any rate, he is frequently susceptible to fungal and bacterial infections. i have seen him become septic several times ("bloody" spots, poor energy, fungal spots on his body, or other serious findings) which has resolved each time with aggressive water changes and mela-fix (and if desperate, antibacterial pellets x 7 days).

i use "cycle" with water changes to introduce good flora/ fauna... but am convinced that this tank is doomed as it is. so, my question: is there any small, non-carnivorous critter that could live compatibly with sammy (i.e not harrass or nip him) to help the nitrogen balance, promote healthy bacteria, and help him lead a healthier life? i am very reluctant to euthanize him, as he was once such a feisty little buddy and i know that his current problems are my fault. i was totally unaware of the dietary/ digestive issues of fancy goldfish until it was too late (i tried peas, greens, food changes... now i have given up and just dose every 2 weeks or so with epsom salt to be sure he doesn't blow a gasket). he was my first fish.

any help or advice would be much appreciated.

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  • Regular Member

hm, about your comment "he really doesn't poop much." maybe he might be constipated? try to not feed him for 3 days or so and then feed him peas (even though you said you did feed him peas) because i hear they clear up goldfish's digestive systems well.

also, what type of food are you feeding him? flake/pellet and sinking/floating etc?

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Guest sammyfish

thanks for response. regarding my constipated friend, he basically almost never poops at all unless i help him by giving him epsom salts. i spent the first 4 months after i realized he had problems fasting him and trying peas and other suggestions i read on forums. there was no improvement in his swim bladder problems with anything i tried. so i then returned to using pellets (have to be sinking he can't eat any floating foods) with regular bowel cleansing with the epsom salts. i have read that fancies get constipated easily because of anatomic configurations caused by breeding them. it became apparent to me after several months of this that the poor little guy is not going to get better in that department. i just want to help him live a healthier life by giving him a tankmate who will poop in a normal fashion and thereby generate nitrogenous waste to feed good bacteria which will fight bad microbes that are periodically making him sick.... but not try to eat him or harass him. i have no desire to just "hope for the best" and introduce other fish or critters as i really care about sammy and don't want his tail nibbled or worse (flauberta was trying to eat his eye one morning shortly before she moved to her new 30 gallon home, which was purchased in order to curtail said eye eating). any thoughts in that department?

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My first thought would be a cory catfish as they are probably the most peaceful and would never bother any other fish. However some people said they tried that and their goldie tried to eat the cory! So then that wouldn't work either. But other people say they have gf and cories living together with no problems at all. I've seen some bigger cories about 3 in. long or more and about an inch wide that would probably work the best as they'd be too big to fit in Sammy's mouth--just an idea.

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If you did decided to go the cory route, you could try Emerald Catfish (Brochis splendens) instead. They're a very closely releated species to Corydoras--look almost identical except for a few things, and so are often mislabeled as "Emerald Cories." They also grow a little bigger, usually 4-5 inches, with the females being on the larger end. (It's not too hard to tell the genders apart, as females have pink bellies and males have yellow bellies.) I've seen a few near full-grown emeralds in stores a few times, and while I'm sure a large koi could easily snap them up, I don't think a goldfish could--there's quite a bit of bulk to go with the length.

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Regarding ammonia output, pooping is not the only source - they also excrete ammonia from their gills, too.

I'm wondering how high your nitrate is and also the temp you run the tank at?

It might be worth posting your difficulties in the disease and diagnosis secion in the event that there is something you could do to help him. Maybe something overlooked so far?

Edited by Pixiefish
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Guest Angel

I feel your pain about your little one. I recently lost my first fish Atilla to the dreaded SBD. I tried everything, but I refused to euthanise as Atilla ate well (I had to hand feed, but he had a good appetite) and I just couldn't stand the thought of killing one of my friends. :cry1 You should take Pixiefish's advice and look to see if there's something overlooked but other than that, keep doing what your doing. Keep Sammy safe and comfortable. Good luck finding Sammy's tankmate. :)

I think the cory idea is a good one. I'm about to inherit my Mom's cories, (I'm going to put them in Atilla's old home, a 20 gallon) and they are LAZY!! Very cute, but they sit around in their caves. I don't know if that's most cories dispositions, but if so Sammy would be safe!!

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