I've just lost all 8 of my Fish to some sort of Swim Bladder infection, one minute they were fine then one by one they started to float upside down; with the exception of one who fought on for a week the others were all dead within minutes of it starting.
As you can imagine it's been pretty traumatic and my Wife now doesn't want to start again and restock.
I'm guessing there was something nasty in the water and that no matter what I did it would have happened anyway, but does anyone have any suggestions for handling swim bladder problems in the future.
The fish that float after a water change? Odds on thats thermic shock. Because of organ compression fancies have massive problems with swimbladder expansion, and that is most often triggered by changes of temperature that are more or less instant and of more than 2 degrees centigrade. Raised temperatures especially will cause existing air to expand in the bladder. The swimbladder often swells and adheres to the surrounding organs, and is left unable to deflate, or occassionally bursts (often fatal) which leaves the fish with irretreivable air stuck in its internal body cavity. Sometimes a sudden and sustained low can also cause maldigestion in the gut, this leads to gaseous bacterial inflation, and you get a fish that upends.The same can be true of unusual temperature hikes. Moral being, always match WC temps as closely to tank temps as possible, and dont overfeed your fish, and if possible dont feed the fish on or prior to the day you do a water change. Most pet goldfish are horrifically overfed anyway, and a couple of days off feeding a week will probably do them no harm, and often , some real life-saving good.
BTW ten gallon for goldies, not nearly big enough.
Persistant occassional swimbladder problems are usually dietary , based on organ compaction, constipation and maldigestion, others will be based on the age and condition of the fish. Most , rather sadly, will be caused by the consequences of "dwarfing" when an already rather genetically disadvantaged fish is subjected to unsuitably small aquaria, for complete avoidance of dwarfing goldies really need at least 10 gals per young fish at 2 inches, and around 55 gals for a cooking apple sized adult, and thats merely to keep ammonia production under control. Most people really have no idea an adult goldie should really be in a 100 gal plus for truly humane care. Goldfish are really pondfish, and its really only the organ compaction problems that fancy goldfish have that prevents them from being kept outdoors .Exposed to inconsistant british weather many will die from swimbladder failure. Aside from the temperature fluctuations, everything about keeping fancies is much the same as it is for a comet goldfish, except that they dont really swim quite so fast, are less fit, and dont shed the pounds quite so quickly. Oxygenation, temp range, basic diet, space, water quality , should be the same if not better.
Dwarfing, quite aside from the weakness and stunted growth you would expect comes with another more serious problem. The liver of goldfish grows proportionate to age , not to size, and a 5 year old goldie, dwarfed at 2 inches might have a liver the same size as a goldie that is cooking apple sized. The resulting organ compression is usually lethal, and numurous symptoms from dropsy to constipation and swim bladder failure are common. Many people think they have killed the fish with disease or illness, when in fact it the size of the aquarium that is at fault. Goldfish demand good size aquaria for long term health and their fiull potential lifespan of 30 years or so. British people seem to be the last people on the planet to catch on to that idea. The germans, japanese and americans are all years ahead of us in that respect. If you think im being extreme about keeping conditions, let me introduce you to Bruce. Dont know if youve seen bruce or not, and granted he is unusually large, in fact he is a record breaker, but look after your goldies right, and one day they could be fairly close to the mighty bruce here.
Everyone is fighting invisible diseases, and feverishly watching diets when the problem in most cases is avoided by large aquaria, not overfeeding, and not allowing organ compression to take hold in the first place. Very few diseases target the swim bladder directly, nearly all of it is down to sloppy water changes, bad breeding, and the failure to take the responsibility of sensible feeding , and the realistic outlay of cash on a decent sized home seriously. The renal system is intrinsically linked to disease resistance and the immune system, and it also has to shoulder the burden of salts and medications. Keep the fish fit, healthy, free of water pollution, and allow it to grow properly and 90% of these problems just cease, with only the worst of genetic lines still affected.
We as a nation are keeping fat fish in shoeboxes, and thats what we have to change most, alongside our expectations of pleasing fish body shapes.
As for helping the recovery, well the first thing you dont do is add salt or antibiotics, particularly if the fish is also suffering dropsy. A fish with dropsy is in no state to suffer the rigours of medication. This is why most fish dont recover from dropsy, unless its triggered by diet, it swells up, it stops eating, and then just occassionally they recover. So make the first rule of swim bladder failure and dropsy - STOP FEEDING THE FISH.
Next, dont change the temperatures unless they were wildly outside of suitable ranges. If you change temps on a fish in swimbladder difficulty you could burst the bladder or force it to recede having been stuck on other organs, causing it to tear. Let the fishs healing process handle the swelling and bouyancy issues, and dont delude yourself for a second that you know whether the bladder is up, down, adhered or burst. You keep the fish stable as possible and thats pretty much it.
As for treating with meds, well if its obviously suffering from rotting tissue, red patches, major injuries etc, then maybe you can take a shot on medications, but in this situation you have to understand its a kill or cure gamble. More people probably kill fish with swim bladder issues by trying to help them with meds than by doing nothing. Salt incidentally is connected to water absorbtion in fish and a salt vs freshwater osmotic balance. It is not connected to gaseous exchange and cannot help the swim bladder, or any bouyancy issue. Generally its not advised to add salt unless you want to put more strain on the renal system of a freshwater fish that is already ill, youll probably kill it.
Obviously a seriously bouyant fish that gets some part of its body emerge above water for prolongued periods needs to be held below water, or it will suffer massive eventual tissue damage, and be very open to further infection.and with smaller fish you can contain them just below the surface film (minimal water pressure may help facilitate recovery as the bladder has no need to stay inflated and may heal without enduring inflation torsion in the tissues)in something like a perspex fry raising box , its better not to choose something as abrasive as a net. Ive used this trick a number of times with angels , rainbows, and goldfish, and it often gives them the time to heal and recover to fight another day. For large fish an upturned plastic sweater box can sometimes be mounted on a tank so that the fish cant break the surface. Be careful about how much of the surface layer you take up with such devices though, as you may deprive other fish of essential oxygen.
Most organ compression issues cant be cured, only outgrown, and can only be partially controlled with diet, and careful temperature control. So come hell or high water if you want fish to survive they have to make it to bigger tanks at some point.
On the really quite rare bacterial issues that complicate bouyancy, well ,most of the bacteria that produce gaseous inflation tend to produce hydrogen sulphide and are mostly from the aeromonas group of bacteria. By definition they require real antibiotics to cure, as they will already be systemic in the fish, or deep within its digestive system, and this makes stuff like melafix, organic dyes, formadehyde, salts and most other gentle or contact cures completely irrelevant. As for having to treat said fish with such meds, as I mentioned before, its a lottery , and all I can do is wish you the best of british luck with that.
Hope that helps you guys avoid some fishkeeping problems.Sorry if this post is a bit of a shock to the system for some, but hey , its all true, and im here to help .;)
Hmmm good reading! I've never owned a Ryukin before but afeter buying David the milk float sized fish I'm seeing a whole new world of pain ahead. He is in short rather large and has a very high tail which makes me wonder if his struggle to swim and sitting on the bottom may be more a design issue than a swim bladder. I've only had him a week and am still struggling to get him settled. I've posted a concern in the lounge for Master of the Beasts himself outlining the issues so if any clever person could have a gander and get back to me I'd be thrilled. I'm very worried as he is utterly loveable and I'm attached to him. I have done almost everything wrong from the mode of purchase right through to not having my tank utterly cycled so I throw my guilty hands up! Help help help!
Will once again attempt to attach a pic. Thanks Kirstin the fish keeping numpty
White spot, plukes, flukes, dropsy,swim bladder disorder and constipated...otherwise fine thanks!
I have behaved and not medicated David the Milk Float. I think he might have substance abuse issues! I often find him smelling vaugely of Tea Tree oil and waxy and slimey. I'm getting him into a 12 step program. Perhaps you can act as his sponsor Markus Aurelius esq.
Your tanks are beautiful and if I just behaved and waited for the sensable amount of time beofre firing everything into a tank I'd not be menacing the nice forum people. Still it gives you a break from the Antipode lurking and hand wringing in a fretful fashion.
White spot, plukes, flukes, dropsy,swim bladder disorder and constipated...otherwise fine thanks!
My tanks are neglected, as they should be, just the standard water tests, and changes, but i never manage to lay them out as nice as yours with plants etc. I think the plants I got last week are all dying.