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Posted: 9/6/2004 4:03:49 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/6/2004 4:07:12 PM EDT by FiveO]
I know there is a fish guy here somewhere as we have at least one of everything on ARF.

My Mom in Law bought my daughter a large goldfish in a glass vase several months ago. The fish has been doing great as far as fish go and my daughter enjoys the thing.

Anyway, for the last several days, over a week actually, it seems that he/she/it is kinda bloated and is laying just below the surface on it's side. You tap the glass and it swims fine and seems energetic but it appears that it does not have neutral buoyancy, it floats right to the top and over onto it's side. It has to work to go towards the bottom and bobs right back up. Eating fine, water clean, looks fine and all of that.

I do not know jack about fish other than how I like 'em prepared but this can not be right, eh?

Ideas? (I bet my wife someone here would post the cause/solution in an hour or less)

Thanks guys!
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 4:06:58 PM EDT
Take a sample of the water in to any pet store and have them test it. Most should do it for free.
If the water is fine, do you have a bubbler?
If all the above check out, then I'd get some fish medicine.
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 4:08:37 PM EDT
is there an airstone in there?, it's possibly oxygen deprivation, if you don't.
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 4:12:13 PM EDT
The wife changes the water regularly and adds a drop of some sort of treatment but no "bubbler."
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 4:12:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AUT_BELLUM:
is there an airstone in there?, it's possibly oxygen deprivation, if you don't.

I wondered about that. We will get one.
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 4:15:06 PM EDT
go to the store and buy a little 1 or 2 gallon fish tank comes with everything you need air pump,filter airstone some comes with stone some don't so you have to check and see
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 4:19:37 PM EDT
Isn't ilikelegs some kind of harcore aquarium nut?

IIRC there are a lot of fish experts on arfcom. I'm not really an expert, my fiancee is.

Is there some filtration in this vase/bowl? If not, how often is the water being changed? We've only ever had tanks with good filtration and a healthy nitrogen cycle (i.e. plants, good bacteria, some active carbon, etc).

If you put regular tap water in a tank/bowl it can kill the fish because of the chlorine in the water.

There are a variety of different diseases that fish can get - but if it was fine for several months, and there are not other fish in the bowl, then that's probably unlikely.
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 4:21:23 PM EDT

Originally Posted By FiveO:

Originally Posted By AUT_BELLUM:
is there an airstone in there?, it's possibly oxygen deprivation, if you don't.

I wondered about that. We will get one.

I remember hearing that those airstones don't actually help that much in terms of aerating the water - in that they don't really aerate the water, but just send bubble through it to the surface. Anyone know anything about that?

My fiancee is very good with freshwater tanks, and she had never used airstones/bubble wands.
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 4:22:49 PM EDT
Sounds like swim bladder disease. All fish have a swim bladder that helps them keep their balance and orientation. go to the pet store and get the antibiotic for it.
do regular water changes to avoid 80% of fish diseases.
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 4:22:57 PM EDT
Sounds like the fish has a diesese or a ruptured floatation bladder, Go to the pet store and look through the medicene. It tells you on the pkg what the symtoms of several things are. I would not hold too much hope for the fish though if he is lying on his side at the top. Miricals happen though.. Russ
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 4:23:50 PM EDT
I can't tell you exactly what's wrong with it, but it's going to die soon (IMO). Goldfish are very resistant to low oxygen levels. They are basically carp and can live in very warm, murky and shallow water. So low oxygen is not the likely problem. They are prone to bowel problems so I would guess an obstruction with bacterial overgrowth causing gas to accumulate, hence the 'bloating'. Maybe a real ichthyologist can chime in. I don't know how old your daughter is, but you can use it as an opportunity for her to learn about death or you can switch it with a more lively fish.
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 4:27:42 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/6/2004 4:29:17 PM EDT by FiveO]
The water is changed weekly and the wifey put in something to neutralize the chlorine. There is only a plastic "plant" and marbles in the bown which is just a vase that holds maybe a gallon, gallond and a half or so...

The fish has been good to go.

I was a bit pissed when the MiL got the thing as I am not ready to teach the baby girl about death yet but again, so far so good, except for this bout. When it started I figured it was about to die.

Thanks all!
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 4:30:35 PM EDT

Originally Posted By FiveO:
.... as I am not ready to teach the baby girl about death yet but again, so far so good, except for this bout. When it started I figured it was about to die.

If it does go belly-up, maybe you can find a similar one and replace it while your girl is out - and then tell her it's feeling much better after "sleeping" on the surfact for a while

Good luck!
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 4:39:04 PM EDT

Originally Posted By atomicferret:
Sounds like swim bladder disease. All fish have a swim bladder that helps them keep their balance and orientation. go to the pet store and get the antibiotic for it.
do regular water changes to avoid 80% of fish diseases.

There's your answer.
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 4:52:21 PM EDT
Triple on the swim bladder disease. I hope this helps. Good luck and let us know of the outcome.



Way More Than You Ever Wanted To Know
About Swim Bladder Disease
Douglas H Thamm


Please note: This is intended for people of all different backgrounds and levels of experience. Please don't be put off if some of this information seems too basic, or if some of this information seems unnecessary or superfluous.

Why does my goldfish tend to float at the surface of the water and have a hard time going to the bottom of the tank?

Because it's got swim bladder disease.

Swim bladder disease is a multifactorial illness which primarily affects ornamental goldfish which have globoid body shapes, like orandas, ryukins, and fantails. It most often presents as a fish which floats at the surface, or a fish which stays on the bottom and doesn't seem to be able to easily rise. A fish which has normal buoyancy but is listing to one side or the other often does not have swim bladder disease, but may have other diseases.

In order to understand swim bladder disease, a cursory discussion of fish anatomy and physiology is necessary. The swim bladder is a small epithelium-lined sac in the anterior abdomen which is responsible for maintaining buoyancy. It has a close association with blood vessels such that gases can diffuse across into and out of the sac according to the needs of the fish. The sac inflates if the fish needs to be more buoyant, and it deflates if the fish needs to be less buoyant. Goldfish and some other fish have a special addition to this system called the pneumocystic duct, which is a connection between the swim bladder and the esophagus, allowing additional adjustment of buoyancy by letting air out through the digestive tract.

People have debated for years over the cause of swim bladder disease. It is pretty well established now that a number of things can cause swim bladder disease. Some of the things which have been suggested are:

1. A virus. The virus attacks the epithelium of the sac and inflammation occurs which makes the epithelium too thick for gases to diffuse across. Thus the fish is stuck at a certain buoyancy because gases have nowhere to go. This may be more of a factor in non-goldfish species.
2. A bacterium. There is little evidence to support this, but it's widely known that bacterial infections can cause the same kind of thickening of the swim bladder epithelium as viruses.
3. Anatomy. Globoid-shaped fish like ornamental goldfish are predisposed to problems with the swim bladder because their guts are all squashed up in their abdomen. This arrangement predisposes to food impactions, which in turn clog up the pneumocystic duct.
4. Diet. Feeding dry foods which tend to take on water like a sponge and expand in the fish predispose to food impactions. See # 2 above.

What can I do to prevent swim bladder disease?

1. As always, the golden rule of fish disease is WATER QUALITY. If swim bladder disease does have an infectious cause, your fish will be better able to resist this infection (and others) if your water quality is good. Regular water changes and water testing are a must.
2. Pre-soak your flake or pelleted food. This will allow expansion to occur prior to the fish eating it, and will lessen the chance of impaction.
3. Even better, switch to a gel-based food or other food source, i.e. frozen or live food. You can E-mail me at dthamm@dolphin.upenn.edu for a recipe for gel food.

Let's say I didn't read this in time. What can I do to treat it?

(Note: Some of this stuff is pretty far out, but effective.)

1. Feed your fish a couple of peas. That's right, peas. Just get some frozen peas, thaw them, and feed them to your fish. A professor of fish medicine at N.C. State College of Veterinary Medicine has done this in several cases with very good results. He thinks that the peas somehow encourage destruction of the impaction. No hard scientific data yet, but it's worth a try.
2. Fast your fish for a couple of days. Withhold all food for three or four days, and sometimes this alone will break up the impaction and return things to normal. Most fish can go a week to ten days without food and be just fine.
3. Periodic aspiration of the swim bladder works very well. Basically, you stick a needle in the swim bladder and suck out some of the air. Not something to be entered into lightly, but does work well. This is not a cure, but a successful treatment. The head veterinarian at the Baltimore Aquarium prefers this method.
4. Partial pneumocystectomy. This is another word for surgical removal of part of the swim bladder. I mention this less as a practical option but more just to let people know that there are vets out there doing X-rays, surgery, general anesthesia, even cancer chemotherapy on fish. If you're interested in more information on this procedure, E-mail me and I'll give you more details and a journal citation if you want.

But the best thing to do is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are nobody's but my own. Please don't sue the University, the Vet School, or me for that matter, if you still have problems after reading this.

I am speaking for nobody but myself in writing this: The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine has nothing to do with my dissemination of this information, so please don't sue them (or me, for that matter) if you still have trouble treating ich after reading this.


More from: http://www.goldfishinfo.com/ailment1.htm#bladder

Swim Bladder- Swim or air bladder problems sometimes occur in freshwater fish. I have personally seen this is fancy goldfish such as Orandas, Ryunkins, and Shubunkins. When the bladder is effected, the fish will experience equilibrium problems. Sometimes, the problem is not the bladder but other problems which directly affect the bladder. Diseased and inflamed internal organs, improper water conditions or nutrition, and wounds received from fighting with another fish can also effect the equilibrium of the fish. Constipation is also known to affect a fish's swimming ability! Symptoms: The fish has problems swimming correctly. They may appear to be standing on their head, or floating to the surface and struggling to go down to the bottom, or possibly even have problems removing themselves from the bottom. At the later stages of the disease, the fish could lose its balance and swim upside down. Treatment: There is no specific treatment for this dilemma;however, you can try isolating the fish to a quarantine tank in which the water is shallow(this provides relief for the fish). Add one teaspoon of salt per gallon of water. Some individuals will feed thawed out frozen peas and this purges the fish's system and has been noted to help many fish. After 1-2 weeks a return to the main tank with deeper water may be tried. The best advice I can give is to maintain proper water conditions, feed your fish a well balanced diet, and possibly try feeding your goldfish sinking foods rather than floating types. They won't inhale so much air this way. The pellets if soaked in water before feeding will expand before the fish eats them and this has helped a lot. Good luck with this!! Check out http://www.koivet.com
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 5:22:38 PM EDT
flush and get a new $0.10 gold fish
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 5:31:39 PM EDT
+1 on the frozen peas. Just throw a couple of them in there and it will straighten that fish up. I know it sounds funny but every couple of weeks "Sam" our goldfish goes sideways and he eats a few peas and he does just fine.

Cant explain it. Also my wife used to run a petstore with her parents and they cured their fish the same way.
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 5:33:13 PM EDT
Oh, and sorry it took longer than the hour you bet your wife... i was eating dinner!!!!

Otherwise I would have answered sooner.
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 5:47:03 PM EDT
Do not stick your finger in the fish bowl after you stick it up the cats ass without washing.
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 5:47:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/6/2004 5:49:19 PM EDT by captainpooby]
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 5:49:04 PM EDT

Originally Posted By captainpooby:
Do not stick your finger in the fish bowl after you stick it up the cats ass without washing.

Originally Posted By captainpooby:
Do not stick your finger in the fish bowl after you stick it up the cats ass without washing.

Such great advice you had to say it twice.
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 6:09:05 PM EDT
A bowl is actually a poor fish tank. Because of the design of most of the "bowls" (which I would actually consider a jar) have relatively low surface area to volume ratio. Thus, the gas exchange isn't as good. Typically, for most coldwater fish (goldfish, fantails, koi, etc), you need around 1 gal of water per inch of fish under 8" and 2-3 gal per inch of fish over 8" (ex: 1 goldfish, 4" long = 4 gal of water). If you are serious, or just would like a couple of pet goldfish, I would suggest a tank with a filter. If you aren't looking to get so much stuff, I would see if you can add a live plant to help "clean" the water (think natural filtration). The plant is important, as well as regular and frequent water changes.
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 6:25:28 PM EDT
Wow! Thanks much guys! the wife and I are reading over all of this now. Again, ARFers to the rescue!
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 6:27:07 PM EDT
Flush, buy new fish, repeat.
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 6:31:09 PM EDT
Sounds like it is a goner, buy new goldfish. There're cheap! The other options mentioned
will cost more than just getting a new fish for the most part.

It's a fish,not like it is a cat or something

Link Posted: 9/6/2004 6:37:32 PM EDT
Believe me the flush sounds like the best idea but WTF, the wife and kid enjoy the thing...
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 6:39:09 PM EDT
here is a fish tank just your child and it comes with everything you need.....www.ferretstore.com/fish.html

I use the web site alot to buy stuff for my son's pet rat and yes you read it right a pet rat they are nicer, cleaner and smarter then hamsters.Me or my son has yet to get bite by a rat a hamster on the other hand will bite you for the hell of it . HAMSTERS ARE EVIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIL!!!!!!!!
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 7:01:20 PM EDT
When I got done reading your post the first thing to pop into my head was, as others have already stated, a swim bladder disease. You can go to a local fishstore and get some medication. Follow the instructions on the bottle EXACTLY. Goldfish are very hardy and your fish should make it out just fine.
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