Goldfish is floating with head up and tail down. He's floating up. When he swims he kind of twitches. Nothing has

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Customer: Goldfish is floating with head up and tail down
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What is the matter with the goldfish?
Customer: He's floating up
JA: Where does the goldfish seem to hurt?
Customer: when he swims he kind of twitches
JA: Can you see anything that looks wrong or different?
Customer: Nothing has changed in the tank This started about a few days ago and I thought that's weird
JA: Is the goldfish eating normally?
Customer: He's eating but kind floats to the surface
JA: OK, abnormal eating. What is the goldfish's name and age?
Customer: Harvey about 8 inches I'm not sure on age. I rescued him from a sewer drain he was swimming in when Houston flooded a couple of years ago.
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about the goldfish?
Customer: I think he came from a pond when the neighborhood was 4 feet under water.
Answered by Anna in 25 mins 3 years ago
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Anna
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17,038 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Dog Veterinary, Cat Veterinary, Bird Veterinary, Reptile Veterinary, Exotic Animal Veterinary

Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I’m a biologist with over 40 years of experience keeping fish. I’m sorry to hear about this problem. Some additional information may help me determine the best steps for you to take.Is Harvey’s abdomen bloated at all?Have you been able to test the water? If yes, what results did you get in parts per million (ppm) for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates?Thank you.
Customer
His abdomen might be slightly bloated
Customer
The pH is a little alkaline
Thank you. Is her abdomen bloated enough that it makes the scales stick up, giving her a pine cone like appearance?A slightly alkaline pH is fine. Are you able to test for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates?
Ok, I suspect you don’t have a test kit to check for those harmful chemicals. It sounds like Harvey has swim bladder disorder. The swim bladder is the organ that enables a fish to stay upright and swim with proper orientation in the water. When something goes wrong, the fish may float, sink, swim upside down, swim sideways, or be unable to keep itself upright. Water quality is often a factor. There are treatments, but they won’t work if there are bad chemicals in the water. That’s why the first step is testing the water. Most pet stores will test for free if you bring in a sample of your water in a clean glass jar. You won’t be able to do that tonight. Perhaps you can do it tomorrow. You want ammonia and nitrites to be at zero. Nitrates should be under 20 ppm. If you have more than any of these amounts, let me know, and I’ll help correct the situation. If the water is fine, you can go ahead and try treatment.The most common cause of swim bladder problems is constipation. Unpassed droppings put pressure on the bladder so it can’t function properly. Feed Harvey nothing but peeled and thawed out frozen peas for 3-4 days. Sometimes that can get things moving again. You can also add one teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon of water in the tank. That can help balance body fluids.Another possibility is infection. If 4 days of the peas and salt don’t result in any change, you can try treating for infection. Melafix is sold in most pet stores. It is safe to use at the same time as salt. Just follow the instructions on the bottle.The worst case scenario would be if the swim bladder ruptured. When that happens, there is no cure. I’m only mentioning this in case nothing helps Harvey. Constipation and infection are far more common.If you have more concerns, or your water is not good, just let me know. I’m glad to help. I hope Harvey will be fine.Anna
Customer
I tested the water and the nitrates was higher so I took him out and did a partial water change and vacuumed the bottom. I have been using the salt and Melafix since your email. He would not eat the peas and only eats the flake food. He is still upright and one of his eyes appears to be swollen.
This sounds like something more than simple swim bladder disorder, then. Salt should only be added once, not every day like the Melafix. If you have been adding salt every day, I would do another water change of about 50%. Continue the Melafix according to the instructions.The swollen eye is very concerning, but we are limited in what we can do for a sick fish. There are vets that specialize in fish, and such a vet would have access to better treatments and medications. I can look for one, if you’d like to do that. Do you still live in Houston?
Customer
i just did the salt the day after then added appropriately for the 20 galloons of fresh water I put back in
Ok, good. Did you want me to look for a vet, or would you rather wait and just continue the Melafix?
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Anna
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Anna
+ years of experience
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