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Thread: Swim bladder

  1. #1

    Swim bladder

    I have a large koi pond in London and I added two small fish last year. One of them is having buoyancy problems and has been lying flat on its side at the bottom of the pond. I thought he wouldn't survive but it's been two weeks and his fins are still constantly moving. According to my research it could be a swim bladder problem. I separated this fish into a small tank and added swim bladder treatment yesterday morning but so far it's made no difference. Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Rank = Adult Champion Twhitenosugar's Avatar
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    Apr 2020
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    Sorry to hear that.

    When you say swim bladder treatment, what exactly was it you put in the water?

    My understanding is that most swim bladder issues are usually caused either from a perforated swim bladder or due to a bacterial infection.

    For the latter, well aerated warm water with salt and Acriflavin added can usually help, but probably best see what others say before taking any action.

    Sent from my Pixel 4a (5G) using Tapatalk
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  4. #3
    Thank you for responding. I bought a solution from a pet shop which says Swim Bladder treatment on the bottle.

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    Extreme Koi Member Rank = Supreme Champion john1's Avatar
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    Hi Jak,
    Try as Mr T said,what is the temp of the water?
    Some koi sit on the bottom if the water is too cold not saying it is that but it could be worth raising the temp slowly to see.

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  8. #5
    Senior Member Rank = Supreme Champion RS2OOO's Avatar
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    Feb 2018
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    Unfortunately products like that are typically no more than snake oil. In 33 years of keeping fish I've never once seen evidence of a swim bladder treatment actually doing anything, and with the product you linked to you'd have to spend an absolute fortune to have enough to treat a large Koi pond, i.e £225 for one dose in a 15k litre koi pond, and the chances are it will do nothing!

    Swim bladder issues can be complicated, and not the easiest thing to resolve due to the wide number of potential causes. Taking this time of year into account, the following list is the route I would go down, assuming the fish has no body shape deformities:

    Check water temperature and temperature stability.
    Check and rectify water paramaters, specifically Ammonia, Nitrite, pH and KH.
    Is the fish eating, what food is it eating, or was it eating prior to the symptoms, and at what water temperature when it was eating?
    Is the fish carrying eggs?
    Are there any indications of any problems with any other fish in the pond, flashing, lunking, bottom sitting, clamped etc?

    If all aspects of the above can be ruled out as possible causes, check the fish:

    Any sores or marks?
    Any raised scales?
    Any bulges or lumps?
    Do the eyes look slightly protruded?

    If the above is all clear then ideally a Quarantine tank to add that fish and a companion, don't feed them and keep on top of water parameters, gradually raise temperature 1 degree a day, and add salt, initially to 0.3%, and if no improvement after a few days increase further to 0.6%.

    If that doesn't work then its likely to be something more serious, maybe bacterial, and the swim bladder treatment you bought is still unlikey to resolve that as the bacteria issue will highly likely be an internal issue requiring antibiotics.

    If the above does work and the fish starts recovering, feed it a quality food without too much protein unless its live food like earth worms or mussels etc, gradually bring the temperature back down by 0.5C every other day until it matches the pond, use pond water when changing water in the quarantine facility to gradually match the water to that of the pond, then return it to the pond once everything matches.

    BTW, I have a fish with a swim bladder issue right now. Had it before with a different fish at this time of year, both were females and questionably carrying eggs. In the last case I was fortunate that stabilising temperature fluctuations and only feeding small amounts of live/natural foods when temperature was over 10C was enough to fix it. I stopped feeding immediately when spotting this latest one and after 2 days the fish improved enough that it was able to hold itself straight in the water. Yesterday I fed her frozen mussels and fortunately the water temp has increased by itself now the sun is shining on the polycarb covers, and today she's looking a little better still with just the odd twitch of the tail required to remain balanced when shes stationary. Unfortunately I always suspected this fish would suffer swim bladder issues once it reached a certain size as the body shape looks conducive to that (long straight back and a bit of a belly leading to a fairly weak back end), plus she's a big egg producer which can also mess up her balance when heavily laden, and again after spawning when she's suddenly lost all the weight.
    Last edited by RS2OOO; 03-04-2023 at 10:20 AM.

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