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Why goldfish swim upside down, and how you can help them


This article contains: goldfish swim bladder disease antibiotics

Q: We have owned our goldfish for nearly 11 years now and he has always been healthy. But he's started swimming upside down. What's wrong with him?

A: Your goldfish may be suffering with swim bladder disease. This is basically where he has too much air in this specialised fish organ, causing him to be more buoyant than he should be and float to the surface. Swim bladder disease is usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Some vets may prescribe antibiotics or even try to relieve the swim bladder with a needle, but the stress of such a procedure can have dire consequences, and the problem can reoccur. Others suggest feeding a fish a few frozen peas, which act as a laxative in case of an intestinal blockage or bloat. Sadly, if a fish continues to swim awkwardly for 10 days, even with these simple treatments, he may be on his way to the great goldfish bowl in the sky.

Scott Miller, vet


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