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Joan, Vet Technician
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 18181
Experience:  Vet Tech for 35+yrs. Small Animals and Fish
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I have a 6 year old goldfish that I woke up to this morning

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I have a 6 year old goldfish that I woke up to this morning with an extremely bloated stomach, laying on his side and very lethargic. He has been acting fine until this morning and thought that he might be dying. Is there any suggestion to help save my goldfish? Thanks a bunch!


My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am a Vet Tech with years of Fish keeping experience. I do need to ask a few questions.

Is Jingle Bells the only fish in the tank?

Have you checked the water parameters?

How big is the tank?

Is it filtered?


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Jingle Bells is the only fish in the tank. I have not checked the water parameters? How would you do that? The tank is a 20 gallon tank and yes it is filtered.


I suspect that you are seeing Swim Bladder Disease which affects a fish's swim bladder.This is the organ that helps in maintaining a fish's ability to balance and swim in a normal position. When it becomes blocked up or too full of air it stops functioning properly. This can be a result of water quality, over feeding dry foods or a Bacterial infection. Poor water quality can play a major issue contributing to the Swim Bladder problem. The first step to helping is to check your water quality. The Ammonia should be 0, Nitrites 0 and the Nitrates 20 ppm or less. You should have an API master test kit to check the levels.
We can try some first aid to help Jingle bells with some first aid.
1) First do a 3/4 water change and be sure to add some de-chlorinator or use bottle Spring water for replacement.
2) Next please feed a couple of frozen peas in which the shell has been removed. You will need to be sure you crush the peas for the fish. This helps the stool to pass and will sometimes help to relieve the problem.
3) I also suggest using aquarium salt at 1 teaspoon of the salt per gallon of water.

The Salt helps to draw out fluids that can cause swelling in the swim bladder disease.
These are a few links that can give you information about swim bladder disease:
There are some other methods of treating swim bladder which include reducing the amount of water in the tank which helps to decompress the swim bladder, but I would only use that as a last resort.
This link will help you locate Fish Vets if the treatment does not help:
My goal is 100% satisfaction. Please hit reply if you have further questions, so I can meet that goal and give you the best possible answer.

Joan and 3 other Pet Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I am going to get a API master test kit today and then follow all of your instructions to try and get Jingle Bells healthy again. Thanks for your help!!