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Questions About Sbd, Possibly Permanent

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So I am almost certain my fish, toby, is not well because of or at least part of it, his swim bladder problems. Some of you"main" members probably have an idea what I have been through but here is a quick rundown.

Toby has been at the bottom for maybe 3-4 months. Constantly at the bottom for the past 2 months. Every few days he'll attempt to swim up only if he REALLY tries but has no control at all and gives up and falls straight to the bottom pretty hard.

2 weeks ago he couldnt sit normal, and was constantly tipping over and was stuck on his side the majority of the time. I started prazi at this point because I had no idea what was going on, and was my only safe bet (didnt seem to help at all and its been 3 rounds). I did some constant studying of his behavior and noticed the peas took away his tipping. I have been giving them only peas for the past week and hes been able to sit straight ever since.

So at this point, I am guessing he has SBD? He use to have problems but that was him floating to the top before. Now he must not be able to swim up or something. SO here are my questions, please help as much as you can :)

What do you think caused this?

Since its been 2 months, is it permanent?

Is permanent deflated SB common?

Is there anything I can do to help heal it?

Since he doesnt swim around at the bottom but just sits in the same corner kind of hiding, is he miserable?

Is there something else along with his swim bladder or can this alone make them pretty depressed?

What else can I feed him besides peas to keep him stable? I know gel food is good but I wont have time to make some for a few days so what can I feed him for now? I have already been giving him ONLY peas for a whole week.

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It's hard to say what may have caused Toby's problem, but yes, I'd say it's very very likely the situation is permanent and that he's become what's known as a "sinker." :(

Opinions vary on the happiness/contentment of these fish. I know folks who have kept sinkers alive for months or years, and insist that other than being bottom-bound and/or tipped on their side, the fish are happy. I also know people who feel that their sinkers are miserable and suffering, and opt to euthanize. It's a very personal choice and depends on your interpretation of your fish's situation.

If peas are helping keep him upright, until you have a chance to make homemade gel food (which I wholeheartedly recommend for fish with swim bladder issues of almost any kind), you could perhaps introduce another vegetable or frozen protein and see how he handles it. I would avoid broccoli, as it can cause gas.

My personal experience with SBD fish has been that pellets aggravate the condition tremendously, but that fresh or fresh-frozen foods (particularly frozen bloodworms and/or brine shrimp) don't upset them much if at all.

Best of luck to you and to Toby. It's very frustrating and depressing when our goldfish have a condition that we just can't seem to treat effectively.

Edited by RanchuDressing

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I'm sorry to hear about Toby :(

But I had a 'sinker' who I kept for a year quite happily (IMO), so here are my thoughts.

What do you think caused this? I'm sorry but I haven't been on a lot this summer so I don't know the background. Did Toby have a serious infection at any point, or was he exposed to high nitrates for a period of time?

Since its been 2 months, is it permanent? Sadly, it probably is if this is a swim bladder issue. I have personally never seen or heard of a fish coming off the bottom after having been on it for that long. Maybe others have?

Is permanent deflated SB common? Fairly. Some of us (me included) have had 'sinkers' in the past.

Is there anything I can do to help heal it? You can try changing Toby's food to see if it helps, or lowering the water level in the tank to reduce the pressure on the swim bladders.

Since he doesnt swim around at the bottom but just sits in the same corner kind of hiding, is he miserable? It really is hard for us to know :( My Elaine (the sinker) would sit most of the time, but when she knew it was feeding time would she ever wiggle! My thoughts were that she really had to exert herself to swim, so she didn't bother unless she had a really good reason. Otherwise I honestly had no reason to think she was suffering or miserable. Is he on his belly or side, is he physically touching the bottom and struggling to get off it? A video would help :)

Is there something else along with his swim bladder or can this alone make them pretty depressed? Again, it's hard to quantify the emotions of fish. Since you say he really has to struggle to move up in the water toward the top of the tank, I would think this is purely a swim bladder issue. But if you do feel like he is sick as well, something else may be going on. Swim bladder issues can come from internal infections and organ problems, so he may have something going on that you can't see. I don't mean you should treat him or the tank, but it is possible that something may be going on internally.

What else can I feed him besides peas to keep him stable? I know gel food is good but I wont have time to make some for a few days so what can I feed him for now? I have already been giving him ONLY peas for a whole week. Aside from gel food I don't have any other specific suggestions.

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What do you think caused this? I, too, am not familiar with your history, but I'll just offer my own experience. I got a lovely ranchu through the Dandy Oranda Goldfish Connection auction. She came with a little red spot on her side and she just never got better. She lasted for 3-4 months, then finally succumbed to whatever ailed her. Coincidence or otherwise, I also had a little lionhead who liked to hang out with her, and, really quite out of the blue, this little lionhead "just couldn't swim anymore." I honestly had no warning of problems or symptoms. Regardless of what or how, I moved this little lionhead over to a qt and kept her for, probably 4 months, just lying on the bottom, never moving except for her brief scuttlings to get food. Other than not being able to swim, she ate and appeared to be healthy. I have no idea what caused it, so sometimes, it really can truly be a mystery.

Since its been 2 months, is it permanent? Although SBD can be treated and the fish brought back to a swimming state, the longer it goes being unable to swim, the more likely it is to be permanent. So, yes, I'd say this is going to be a permanent state with this fish.

Is permanent deflated SB common? This, I don't know. All I know is I've only had a fish with SBD once and it was permanent.

Is there anything I can do to help heal it? It IS possible to treat SBD, but after this long of a time, chances are, it's not going to heal.

Since he doesnt swim around at the bottom but just sits in the same corner kind of hiding, is he miserable? SBD is not painful, so from that perspective, he's not miserable. As far as not being able to swim and feel that fun, free sort of feeling, it's hard to say what goldfish feel in that respect. If we put a human outlook on it, some people adapt to being disabled while others never do. It could be the same for goldfish, who knows? Does this help us decide what to do about it? No.

Is there something else along with his swim bladder or can this alone make them pretty depressed? Again, it's difficult to know whether fish get depressed because they can't be "wild and free." We know mammals and birds can get depressed when they can't be wild and free, so are fish capable of feeling this too? I know that fish aren't quite as "simple-minded" as people give them credit for, so maybe I choose to believe it's possible, but this may be one of those rhetorical questions of life.....

What else can I feed him besides peas to keep him stable? I know gel food is good but I wont have time to make some for a few days so what can I feed him for now? I have already been giving him ONLY peas for a whole week. Just keep giving veggies and fruits, peas, whatever, until you can make the gel food. Pellets are just too difficult to digest and can be a cause of SBD anyway.

Ultimately, what you do about this probably permanent situation is going to be up to you. The fish seems otherwise healthy. It just can't swim. So, is it happy is the ultimate decision. If you don't mind taking care of it, if it remains otherwise healthy, then maybe you'll choose to keep things status quo. For me, I decided to euthanize my little fish. It was very hard, but for me, I felt it didn't deserve to live that kind of life and I wish we, as human beings, could make that same sort of choice as well. We're not. So, I chose to give my little lionhead the peace I thought it would want.

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:( ugh, really what I didnt want to hear and to be honest, worse than I thought. But appreciate the help from everyone.

Toby never had any illness at all. Is there anyway there is something going on internal where I could treat him just in case? Or am I just in denial?

I dont really know how to judge this. I am not the type of person who could euthanize an animal unless absolutely necessary. It would just make me sick to my stomach for a loooong time. I cant say he is really swimming around much so that what is making this so sickening, he is obviously not happy :(

When I give him pellets, why would this even affect him if his swim bladder is pretty much ruined anyways? It obviously cant fill up with air.

I'll try to take a video sometime today. my camera is dead and at my parents so Ill have to do that. But yes he is physically touching the bottom. He can get up for a few seconds but its definitely a struggle. He is sitting upright for the past week.

Can someone suggest a really easy gel food recipe for his situation?

Ohhh I am so sad :(

Edited by Thea

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Awww try not to be too sad :(

I do understand how hard it can be to watch your fish like this though. If it makes you feel any better, my Elaine lived for well over a year on the bottom. My friends all loved her, she was very endearing :heart And from what I could tell, she was 'happy.'

As for gel food, go look at the thread with recipes. You could try something with some probiotics and/or garlic. I don't know if either would help, but it never hurts to try some natural remedies.

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Yes that does look like a swim bladder related issue to me.

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oh what a darling. but not all is lost :)

I am more prone to floaters. Chunky Monkey had it pretty bad when he was also anorexic. What I did was move him to a SUPER low tub, but with lots of surface area (to get the water volume up). He started with about 7cm of water and slowly worked up to 15cm. Now he is back in the main 85Gal and is doing very well.

Let me see if I can find the pic.

here:

DSCN4683.jpg

DSCN4682.jpg

It was a very simple set up - just a hide spot, and an airstone for air and low current. I did water changes everyday and didn't have issues. You can also add a sponge filter if you have a small enough one.

What also helps and I have been trying to grow is green water. Apparently cases have been when it even cures it :D

As for food he gets lots of greens and some frozen protein like krill and brine shrimp. Over time I increase the amount of protein.

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I think it would be helpful for him if you were to wipe the bottom of the tank with at least every w/c to keep it mostly clean. With a fish sitting on the bottom like that it puts them at risk for bad bacteria to get on them.

Sorry my wording feels a bit awkward, Trinket has a way of making is sound clear and informative while I'm struggling.

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Aww, thanks so much for everyone help. I am just not willing to give up QUITE yet on him, meaning trying to make him feel better rather than ignore it. I definitely wont euthanize him unless he cant sit upright permanantly. Brian is just so attached to him. As you can see in the video, he is ALWAYS within 6 inches of Toby, and doesnt seem to bother him.

What do you mean by green water? Trying to get algae to grow in the tank?

And I am interested in the whole shallow water gradually moving to deeper water. Is this to "nurse" them back to health. Obviously a long shot, but it can be helpful?

Him being able to swim up aimlessly, is that out of pure frustration and muscle or does his SB have SOME function?

I have been keeping the bottom as clean as possible since all of this. His poop really builds up around him if he doesnt move so I picked up on that right away!

Ok stupid question :peeka Where do you get the krill and stuff? Can you get it at a grocery store or a pet store?

Captain, I remember chunky monkey, but is that the same one in your siggy titled "monkey"? Who was the cute little orange chubby faced one? Did you lose him? :(

Edited by Thea

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And I am interested in the whole shallow water gradually moving to deeper water. Is this to "nurse" them back to health. Obviously a long shot, but it can be helpful?

Him being able to swim up aimlessly, is that out of pure frustration and muscle or does his SB have SOME function?

yes, it is to nurse them and especially find the 'comfort point'. For Chunky Monkey it went from 7cm to 30cm now :) So he is definitely doing much better. But it could be that such sensitive fish will never be able to live in a high water level tank - which is fine with me for now as it is also helping the other babies.

THe lower water level gives them less stress regarding pressure. You will hopefully see him swim around normally as soon as you bring the water low enough.

What do you mean by green water? Trying to get algae to grow in the tank?

Green water is pretty complicated. It is that type of water which looks like green pea soup. Once you manage to harvest it (it can be grown by putting a tub of water with some plant fertilizer and ammonia in the sun for a few weeks (with an airstone)) you place the fish in it and it will act as natural filter (since the algae will eat the ammonia) and it is VERY beneficial to fish. They tend to grow very well in it and it has been seen to cure/help SBD issues.

I haven't had any luck growing it yet because of my super clean water here pffff.

Where do you get the krill and stuff? Can you get it at a grocery store or a pet store?

Not at all a stupid question! I get it from a special petstore but I think you guys are lucky enough to be able to order it - try Drs. Foster and Smith etc.

Captain, I remember chunky monkey, but is that the same one in your siggy titled "monkey"? Who was the cute little orange chubby faced one? Did you lose him?

Yup it's the same Monkey face :D The cute orange one is Blondie :)

PS. FOrgot to mention that it is suggested that young/small fish are kept at a maximum of 30cm of water for this particular reason. It is believed that they grow better without the additional strain from too much pressure.

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Yes the shallow water relieves the pressure so the fish doesn't have to 'work as hard' to regulate the amount of air in the swim bladder. Sometimes reducing the water level can have a really good outcome for SBD fish. :)

The green water suggestion is a great one! Here's a nice thread on the topic http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/79039-for-those-of-you-with-green-water/

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From what I have been told these are a few points:

1. the correct green color is like 0.50 - 1ppm ammonia on the API test kit.

2. You cannot grown green water in a tub with any beneficial bacteria outcompeting it for food. Breeders will put sponge filters in their green water tanks but will sterilize them weekly so no cycle develops.

3. You will need airstones during the night as the photosynthesis stops and the algae produces Co2.

I still haven't managed to grow mine! It gets a yucky brown/yellow color which I have to throw. I might try it indoors with a turtle UV lamp.

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