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Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11417
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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I have a fancy goldfish with a serious swimbladder issue. It's

Customer Question

I have a fancy goldfish with a serious swimbladder issue.
It's been ongoing for about 6 or 8 weeks now. It floats upside down. I had it in a 130 gallon tank with two other fancy goldfish. Right now it's in a 10 gallon hospital tank.
The 150 gallon tank always had a water quality of 0 Ammonia / 0 Nitrites / and always in the range of 0 - 10 ppm Nitrate. It is filtered by a large sponge filter with three air jets that push 300 gph. It also has a mechanical "wet dry" filter filled with nitrate absorbing pads that are changed every three weeks which pushes 400 gph.
The fish was ALWAYS fed a combination diet of sinking pellets (that were soaked in aquarium water for 10 minutes prior to feeding) along with frequent feedings of peas and soilent green paste food.
The problem started when she was hanging out at the surface a lot - and gradually progressed to full upside down, no swimming.
I pulled her out and put her in a 10 gallon hospital tank that is salted with 1 table spoon of salt per 5 gallons. She has been in this tank for about 2 weeks.
Seven days ago I began a treatment of Metronidazole in her hospital tank. The product "Metro Plus" is what I'm using and I'm following the directions on the bottle. Also - the tank has been treated with PramiPro for parasites for the whole time she's been in the tank.
Two days ago I began hand feeding her flaked food was purchased already soaked in Metronidazole.
I have seen no change in her condition. She was WORSE in the 130 gallon tank because she couldn't get food. Now that I'm hand feeding her - her strength has returned - she will try to get away from me if I touch her belly but she can't swim with any equilibrium.
Any thoughts? Most of my friends think it's an internal parasite, am I doing the correct things to get rid of it, if that's true?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with a special interest in fish. I'm sorry to hear of this problem.You have done absolutely everything right. It's extremely unlikely that your fish's problem is caused by an internal parasite. If it was, you've treated appropriately for that, too. Unfortunately, fancy goldfish are just extremely prone to swim bladder problems. Their body shape causes the difficulty. Swim bladder disorder usually progresses in these fish just the way it had in yours. They often, but not always, have more than one episode before it becomes this serious. The swim bladder can rupture, and their is no cure for that. There is no way for us to know if that's what happened. In rare cases, there is a bacterial infection of the swim bladder. In those cases, antibiotics, such as Maracyn 2, can help. However, it wouldn't be good to treat with an antibiotic at the same time you are treating for parasites.Your remaining options are limited. You can finish the parasite treatments as the package instructs. When that treatment is finished, you can do water changes to remove the remnant medications. Then treat with the antibiotic. Just as it would be rare for the parasite medications to work, it would be rare for the antibiotics to do any good. That's because most of these swim bladder problems are not caused by anything other than the fish's body structure.The thing most likely to lead to success would be to consult an aquatic vet. Vets can relieve pressure in the swim bladder with a needle. That results in a rapid improvement. Even then, the problem is likely to recur. If you want to consult a vet, give me your location and I'll see if any are in your area.Some goldfish keepers will simply euthanize a fish n this condition. But, that's hard to do with a fish that is eating and regaining strength. In summary, I would either follow your present protocol with an antibiotic, or consult a fish vet.If you have more questions, or want help finding a vet, just let me know. I wish you success in reversing this condition.Anna