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Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11067
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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I have an angelfish that tries to swim to the top and mostly

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I have an angelfish that tries to swim to the top and mostly to the middle of the tank but she goes down and stays in the bottom. It is like she didn't have the strength to stay floating. I feel helpless since I don't know what to do. Can you help me?

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a biologist with over 30 years of fish-keeping experience. I'd like to help you today. I apologize that no one has responded to your question sooner. Different experts come online at various times. I just came online and saw your question. I'm sorry to hear that your angelfish is having a problem.

It sounds like she is suffering from swim bladder disease. The swim bladder is an organ that enables the fish to properly orient itself in the water. When something goes wrong, the fish may float, swim upside down, or at an angle. Poor water quality can be a factor, so test your water to be sure it is free of ammonia and nitrites, . There are a couple of things that may help the fish. If she will eat, give her a couple of thawed out and peeled frozen peas. If the peas are too large, you can smash them between your fingers before putting them in. You should also remove one-third of the water in the tank, and replace it with fresh water at the right temperature and de-chlorinated. You can also add one teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon of water. Don't use table salt - it sometimes has toxic additives. Keep feeding nothing but the peas for a few days.

In angelfish, swim bladder disorder is often caused by bacteria, so you might want to put the fish in a hospital tank and treat her with an antibiotic, such as Maracyn. It's best not to treat the main tank so the healthy fish won't be subjected to the antibiotic, which they don't need.

If you have more questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope your fish will recover quickly.


Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Thank you!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

If the fish is not eating, what should I do?

An alternate treatment for swim bladder disorder is to put the fish in the hospital tank for treatment with a n antibiotic, and don't feed it for 3-4 days. Unfortunately, there are problems with t he swim bladder that are fatal. It can be punctured or impacted. Infection can spread from it to the rest of the body. I'm not trying to discourage you from treating your fish, but I want to be honest with you about what may happen. When a fish won't eat, it can be a sign that the problem is serious. I hope that it isn't.


My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

hi again, another question, I have tested the water with a strip I purchased and the results are like this: General Hardness: 120, Carbonate Hardness: 80, PH: 6.0, Nitrite: 1, Nitrate: 80. I think Nitrite and Nitrate are high, if so, what should I do and will this help her recovery?



Yes, both are high. when nitrites are high, ammonia usually is, too, even though you didn't test for it. The best thing to do is a 50% water change. Make sure the water is the same temperature as what is in the tank, and that it is de-chlorinated. Ammonia and nitrites alone can cause illness, so yes, improving the water can help. Nitrates typically have to be higher before they cause problems, but once they go over 60, that is too high. After today, continue testing the water each day. If it isn't acceptable, do a 10% water change. Repeat this every day until the water is good. If water changes don't help, it's possible your tank is too small for the fish you have. I hope water changes will be adequate to solve the problem.


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