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Joan, Vet Technician
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 18370
Experience:  Vet Tech for 35+yrs. Small Animals and Fish
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I have a betta named and he is normally a healthy active

Customer Question

I have a betta named George and he is normally a healthy active fish. I came in last Monday and he was lying on his side with a distended belly and his color was paler. I read some articles online and I think that he might have swim bladder disease. He is in a heated filtered tank, but I put him in a separate container temporarily. After 3 days I fed him a very small piece pf frozen pea, but he is still not better.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about George?
Customer: I've had him for 1 year now, He is normally fed a few small pellets and some boodworms, but that is all.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Joan replied 4 months ago.


My name is ***** ***** I have been a Vet tech for 30+ years and a foosh keeper over 40 years.

Swim Bladder Disease affects a fish's swim bladder which 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 a test kit to check the levels. THe API Master Test Kit is what I suggest.

We can try some first aid to help the fish. First do a 3/4 water change and be sure to add some de-chlorinator or use bottle Spring water for replacement. 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. 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.

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 has to do with 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:

Please hit reply to discuss this treatment for George.


Expert:  Joan replied 4 months ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?