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Swim bladder issue - seeking guidance

Discussion about fish health and water chemistry.

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Post Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:14 am
TChris Level 1 Member
Level 1 Member

Posts: 1
I have a Ruby Red peacock cichlid that started having swim bladder issues about six days ago. When I first noticed it, he was struggling to stay horizontal, swimming head up and tail down. His appetite was fine, he did not appear to be bloated, and otherwise looked healthy.

I moved him to a quarantine tank and observed for about a day. In that time, his malady progressed to the point where he could still swim, but he would sink to the bottom and rest there (and that's how he's remained). He still looked (and still looks) ok besides that - no clamped fins or rapid breathing. However, I haven't seen any poop (normal or white/stringy) so I assume he's constipated, and that's putting pressure on his swim bladder, causing the issues. I've had fish with bloat before and successfully treated them with epsom salt, elevated temps, Clout, and metronidazole flakes, but so far he doesn't appear "sick" like my past experience with bloat, nor does he look bloated (yet).

Here's what I've tried so far (several days ago) to try to alleviate the constipation, with no change (better or worse) in the fish's behavior, and no evidence that he's pooped:

1) Elevated tank temp to around 82 degrees and increased aeration
2) Stopped feeding the fish
3) Added 2 tablespoons per 10 gallons of epsom salt (it's a 20 gallon high tank)

I have NOT tried to feed the fish yet. It's been 6 days since onset of symptoms.

At this point I'm concerned that a bacterial infection will set in, or that it might be bloat, so I suppose my next step would be to treat him for bloat. Trying to feed with shelled peas could also be an option, but since he hasn't pooped haven't tried that yet. I've read suggestions elsewhere to treat for a bacterial infection.

I'd rather not expose the fish to meds and the added stress unless it's warranted, but I'm a little unsure of how to proceed with the best chance of saving the fish. Do I wait to try something new? If not, what should I try next?

Guidance or ideas would be much appreciated! This is a beautiful fish and I'd hate to lose him. Thanks.

Post Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:51 am
Passionfish Level 20 Member
Level 20 Member

Posts: 12302
Location: apple valley, mn
Missed this when first posted. Fish recovered or not, if recovered what treatment successfully restored fish?
Agree with swim bladder issue and treatment, although systemic antibiotics could help.
Constipation or infection of gi tract would be an unlikely cause of swim bladder issue. Swim bladder issues result from inflammation of "valve mechanism" responsible for adding or releasing air.
Speculation as to cause of inflammation is what determines treatment.
Like a complete unknown


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