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Joan, Vet Technician
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 18530
Experience:  Vet Tech for 35+yrs. Small Animals and Fish
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My daughter recently purchased two small golf ball goldfish

Customer Question

My daughter recently purchased two small golf ball goldfish one of which had started to swim on the surface on its side eventually swimming on its back apparently in distress. The next day however it seemed to have made a miraculous recovery. Now two days later the problem seems to be repeating itself with the fish not yet swimming upside down but again swimming on its side and struggling to swim at the bottom of the bowl
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Joan replied 2 years ago.
Hello,My name is ***** ***** I have been a Vet tech for 30+ years and a Fish keeper for over 40 years.Where are the fish housed? What size tank?Do you have filtration?Have you tested the water parameters?Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates and PH?How long has the tank been set up?Joan
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The two fish are each about the size of a thumb nose to tail and in a bowl about one foot across and one foot deep. There is no filtration and I wouldn't know how to test the parameters. The fish have been in the tank about a month and the water is changed regularly. Prior to this we did have another goldfish not a golf ball that lived for several years in this environment.
Expert:  Joan replied 2 years ago.
Hello, 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. Gold fish should have a minimum 15 gallons per fish and also should have filtration in the tank. We can try some first aid to help the fish. 1) First do a 50% 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 couple of links that give you information about swim bladder disease: If the fish is in with other fish it may be wise to set up a hospital tank which will make it easier to treat the fish. 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