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Nikki Nikki
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  • Posted on: 19/5/2013 21:14
Shubunkin with swimbladder?? #1
Hi, I got back from holiday a few days ago and whilst I was away my friend looking after my fish messaged me thinking one was dead. She then messaged me the next day to say it's moving but lying on it's side and swimming on it's side.

She went to maidenhead aquatics who advised anti ulcer which she used and it made no difference. They also said it didn't sound like swimbladder which confused me a little!

When we got home it was lying on it's side at the bottom of the pond moving it's fins but not swimming. It moves when nudging it with a net. No signs of any injuries or disease at all. It looks perfectly normal apart from it can't swim properly, although when I nudged it, it swam up to the top but then sank straight back down.

As it has now been like this for over a week I am concerned about what to do. We went to maidenhead as soon as we got home who advised tonic salt over 2 days which we did and it is still no better. The guy said there is no treatment for swimbladder. I don't think it's eating either. I caught it in a net and put pellets near it, it sucked them in and spat them out. So i tried daphnia and bloodworm as I have tropical fish too and it ate a little of that but only when i literally put the food right next to it's mouth.

Any help/advice? Does this mean my fish is at the end of it's life?

It is an orange shubunkin which we have had for about 5 years.

It's in a fish pond table which is 400 litres.

Only thing I haven't done yet is test the water, but the other one shubunkin it shares the pond with is totally fine.

Can I test with my tropical water tests or do I need to use a pond water test kit?

Would really appreciate some help,

Thank you, Nikki

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Coralline Coralline
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  • Posted on: 19/5/2013 22:04
Re: Shubunkin with swimbladder?? #2
Hi,
I'm afraid it's definitely not a good sign, I can't think of another reason for a fish not maintaining buoyancy than swim bladder problems.
Fish can live with swim bladder problems, that on its own wont kill them, but it can be distressing for the fish if it constantly struggling to right itself or if it is unable to eat. In situations like this only you as the carer can decide when the fish has no quality of life and whether to intervene in the most humane way possible.
Sorry if that's a little gloomy, but there is no cure for a failed swim bladder, don't give up on him just yet though, unless he is suffering, give him a chance to see if he regains his balance. I wouldn't recommend adding medication unless there's a definite need for it though, that won't help a fish on the edge.

Yes you can use your existing test kit, its only saltwater it won't work for.
Gill

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Fishlady Fishlady
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  • Posted on: 19/5/2013 22:07
Re: Shubunkin with swimbladder?? #3
Hi

Sorry your fish is having problems. He does look very bloated for a shubunkin. The problem isn't old age though as these chaps can live for a very long time - around 20 years.

The pond has a good volume of water, but what filtration does it have? Is it heated or room temperature? Are there any other fish in there apart from the other shub?

Do test the water with your tropical test kit as it will be fine as long as it's for fresh water, not marine. Post the results up here (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH).

His problem may possibly be down to a digestive issue - possibly he's constipated and "windy" which can cause temporary issues with the swim bladder. What do you normally feed them? Is it possible your friend may have overfed by mistake?

EDIT: Sorry cross-posted
Nikki Nikki
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  • Posted on: 19/5/2013 22:35
Re: Shubunkin with swimbladder?? #4
Thank you for your replies.

Just tested water:

pH 7
NitrAte 0
Ammonia 0.6
nitrIte 0

The pond has an electric pump in it, it has a heater but we only switch this on in freezing weather.

My friend was very careful with feeding and actually we usually feed every other day but told her a handful every 3 days would be fine.

We feed Tetra Pond variety sticks, this has been their diet since day one and nothing has changed there.

There is only one other Shubunkin in there with him, and he is swimming perfectly well and actually I see him hovering over the sick one quite a lot.

I did think he looked a bit bloated but as he was on his side wasn't sure if he just looked different from a different angle!

What should I do? I don't want to be cruel and keep him going, but at the same time he doesn't look distressed and I would hate to do that if there is a chance he could recover.

Should I keep him in there and try to feed him in the net every so many days? Or move him to a smaller tank (I don't have one but suppose I could try and find one) or better to leave him alone and just see what happens.

Should I do a bit of a water change?

Goldy Goldy
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  • Posted on: 20/5/2013 0:07
Re: Shubunkin with swimbladder?? #5
It is distressing when you watch your fish struggle with balance problems fancy goldfish are prone to this but single tails can too, it can be food related but also bacterial which will need a different treatment anyway to save me a lot of typing I have copied the information below on swimbladder problems from another thread for you to read and hopefully it will shed some light on what is actually wrong with your shubunkin a photo from the top would also help if possible to be able to see his/her shape

Also when you say the pond table has a pump, do you mean filter as your readings show a reading for Ammonia but nitrAte is 0

http://www.fishkeeping.co.uk/modules/ ... iewtopic.php?post_id=4127

My fish are upside-down/ can't swim
This is a common problem whereby fish lose their equilibrium and are unable to maintain their position. This can result in the fish swimming awkwardly, laying upside-down either on the bottom or top of the water, or unable to maintain a horizontal position in the water. This is often attributed to swim-bladder problems and indeed this is the most common cause of loss of equilibrium. The swim-bladder is an air-filled sac laying just under the backbone at the top of the abdominal cavity. By inflating / deflating the swim-bladder, the fish can adjust its position in the water and maintain neutral buoyancy.

The swim-bladder can be affected by bacterial or viral diseases. In addition the swim-bladder may malfunction, leading to over or under inflation. Clearly anything which affects the proper functioning of the swim-bladder will also affect the fish's equilibrium.

However, before diagnosing all equilibrium problems as swim-bladder disease, we should be aware that there are other conditions which can cause buoyancy problems. Disease in other organs such as kidneys and intestines for example can also cause problems. This can happen if there is any swelling of the affected organs leading to either a change in organ density or pressure being put on the swim-bladder. This is often a problem with fancy goldfish whose abdominal cavity is tightly packed.

Treatment is difficult, mainly because it is virtually impossible to diagnose the cause and secondly there are only a few conditions that will respond to treatment. It is always worth considering a course of antibiotic injections in case a bacterial infection is involved. An attempt should be made to see whether the fish is defecating, in case the problem is being caused by an intestinal blockage. If this is suspected it is worth either trying to feed the fish a few frozen peas, which act as a laxative, or else try baths in Epsom salts (70g / litre for 5 minutes) which has the same effect.

If these treatments do not work, there is little else that can be done. There is some work being carried out on exploratory surgery, but there are very few veterinarians undertaking this "cutting edge" procedure.

There are a few reports of fish recovering from balance problems, so it is worth giving the fish some time. One report suggested "wedging" the fish upright between two objects was helpful. If there is no sign of recovery after 7-10 days, the kindest thing is to euthanase the fish.






Why can't my goldfish swim? PFK
Fancy goldfish often develop problems which prevent them from swimming properly. Affected fish usually float at the surface unable to swim downwards, or just wobble about.

All of the problems are caused by the swimbladder, a gas-filled organ which controls the buoyancy, but determining the cause of the swimbladder problem can be more tricky. There are three main possibilities to investigate: diet, infection and genetic defects.

Dried foods, especially pellets, can swell up and the fish may ingest air. Try pre-soaking the food or offering frozen foods like Daphnia, which is said to have a laxative effect.

Fish in less than perfect water may pick up bacterial infections of the swimbladder. These can be tricky to treat. Improve water conditions and try adding Interpet's Swimbladder Treatment 13.

If changing the diet or treating for infection doesn't work, chances are that the problem is a genetic one. Fancy goldfish have been selectively bred over hundreds of years and their body shapes are totally different to that of a "normal" goldfish.

This can lead to internal problems which deform the swimbladder making it difficult for the fish to swim normally. Unfortunately, if the problem is genetic it can't be cured, but the condition rarely proves harmful.
Nikki Nikki
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  • Posted on: 20/5/2013 11:25
Re: Shubunkin with swimbladder?? #6
Thank you Goldy,

Yes it is a large pump with a filter inside. It's a hoselock easyclear 3000.

I did find it odd that there was a bit of ammonia but no nitrate.

I will try and catch him and get a photo from the top, getting him upright will be a mission!

I did read the page you pasted, wasn't sure about the epsom salts, if I do this do I assume I have to do this in a separate container so as not to get the other fish? What is suitable as I don't have another empty tank.

Or shall I try the peas first?
Fishlady Fishlady
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  • Posted on: 20/5/2013 11:46
Re: Shubunkin with swimbladder?? #7
Hi

You are best to do the Epsom salts bath in a separate container - anything that's safe for food will be fine such as a big tupperware container or similar. Apart from anything else you'd need a lot of salts to treat a pond

You do need to work out why you have ammonia though as that's quite likely to be one of the precipitating factors. 0.6 is quite high and as the final product of the cycle, nitrate, is reading 0 this is quite worrying. How long has your pond been set up and running?
Nikki Nikki
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  • Posted on: 20/5/2013 11:55
Re: Shubunkin with swimbladder?? #8
It's been up and running for about 5-5.5 years now and we have never had problems with the water before.

Could it be a problem with the pump/filter?

We also have a fair bit of blanket weed could that be an issue?

Should I do a partial water change too?

And where do I get epsom salts from? Chemist?

Sorry for all the questions, used to problems with my trpocal tank not the coldwater!
Fishlady Fishlady
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  • Posted on: 20/5/2013 12:12
Re: Shubunkin with swimbladder?? #9
I would check that the fiter isn't clogged at all - blanket weed can clog things up and if the flow through the filter is affected some of the beneficial bacteria can die off, giving problems with ammonia and/or nitrite. The missing nitrates may be a clue that the biological filtration isn't working well right now.

Partial water changes to reduce the ammonia and any nitrite if it should appear are the best answer, though on a large volume you're in for some work

If you can get hold of a bottle of Seachem Pond Prime, it will dechlorinate but also can be overdosed to detoxify ammonia and protect fish from nitrite poisoning. Redosing daily while the spike lasts will be helpful to the fish. Both ammonia and nitrite will still show on tests for as long as they're present, but will be in a form that is far less harmful to the fish.
Nikki Nikki
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  • Posted on: 20/5/2013 15:31
Re: Shubunkin with swimbladder?? #10
Right, I have tried to feed it peas, although it seemed to suck them in and then spit them back out but maybe it nibbled a bit before spitting out.

Seems very strong when in the net, moving around, just still sinking.

I just cleaned out the filter again, it was very clogged which is odd as my husband only cleaned it out thoroughly when we got home a few days ago. Removed about 4 handfuls of blanket weed.

I have taken some photos from the top and i noticed on one side of it's face it's a little red, I don't know if this is normal but on my puffers when they went red they had a bacterial infection.

I will try and get some of that pond prime... I have fresh start, does that do the same or is it only a dechlorinator?

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