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Treating Fish with Disturbed Swimming EquilibriumTreating Fish with Disturbed Swimming Equilibrium

Treating Fish with Disturbed Swimming Equilibrium

Aquarists’ role is full of responsibility towards all the lives they are nurturing in their aquarium. With the highs and lows attached with each life, you as an aquarist will also encounter different issues at different times, pertaining to the overall health and the behavior of fishes. An awareness of these situations beforehand will help you deal with the problem effectively and avoid any unnecessary panic and complications later. One such condition among captive fishes is disturbed swimming equilibrium, which usually is the result of Swim Bladder Disease. This article delves into disturbed swimming equilibrium in fishes, including its treatment.

Disturbed Swimming Equilibrium - Symptoms. The following are the abnormal swimming movements fish reflect when suffering from disturbed swimming equilibrium (buoyancy):
  • Fish floats more rather than swimming.
  • Struggles to stay more at the top of tank.
  • Floats uncontrollably.
  • Sinks to the bottom and remains there, as it is dead then suddenly dashes to the top in the search of air to breathe.
  • Struggled swimming.
  • Swimming at an unusual angle.


  • Disturbed Swimming Equilibrium – Reasons.
    Fishes are equipped with a Swim Bladder, which helps them swim by maintaining their equilibrium in water. Swim Bladder is a small Epithelium-Lined Sac in the Anterior Abdomen of the fish. This sac inflates with the air diverted from the Gastrointestinal Tract, if the fish needs to be more buoyant, while it deflates if the fish requires less buoyancy.

    Now, as can be inferred, problems in Swim Bladder cause fishes to experience disturbed swimming equilibrium. These problems may be rooted to food impactions, and Viruses & Bacteria can inflame the lining of Swim Bladder making it difficult for the gases to diffuse across. As a result, the swimming equilibrium of the fish may get disturbed.

    Disturbed Swimming Equilibrium – Treatment.
    Swim Bladder Disorder can be caused due to several factors such as, Constipation, Over-Feeding, Feeding with Dry Food, Parasitic or Bacterial Infection, and the deformation of Bladder due to injury. Now, these different factors require different treatment. Therefore, it is crucial to ascertain the cause of the problem to follow the right treatment.

    When treating fish with disturbed swimming equilibrium, you need to follow all the required segregated recovery processes. In segregation, you keep the sick fish in a separate hospital tank with shallow water, where it is not only easy to treat the fish without risking any other of your aquatic pet, but you will also be comfortable monitoring the behavior of the fish, just in case your initial diagnosis is not correct. You may take on the following steps to treat your fish:
  • Constipation. Constipation is the major cause of Swim Bladder Disorder. If the fish is otherwise healthy, first treat it for Constipation to rectify the Swim Bladder Disorder.
  • Overfeeding. If the fish displays the symptoms of Swim Bladder Disorder stated above, just after feeding, then Overfeeding may be the cause of disorder. In this case, try to feed in the micro amounts many times a day instead of one single big meal. Initially, you may even stop feeding for few days. Remember, fish can live without food for 8-10 days.
  • Injury. Sometimes because of injury, fishes permanently damage their Swim Bladder. Though there is no real treatment for this but with adjustments, fishes with permanently impaired Swim Bladder can lead normal life. Adjustments include keeping the water level lower than normal to allow for easy access to air, or providing large-leaved plants near the water surface from where fish can easily launch off for air. You can make similar adjustments for fishes having problem of Swim Bladder right from their birth.
  • Infection. If any of the above treatments are not working, there is a possibility that the Swim Bladder Disorder is the result of some Bacterial or Parasitic Infection. In this case, usual treatment with good, broad spectrum Antibiotics should be started, in consultation with your Veterinarian.
  • Green Pea Treatment. Though unusual, yet Green Pea works wonderfully well to rectify Swim Bladder. A single Green Pea once daily often helps curing this problem.


  • Disturbed Swimming Equilibrium - Precautions.
    Prevention is always better than cure. For preventing the Swim Bladder Disorder and the other type of infections too, maintain high water quality in the tank. Avoid giving dry and fatty foods to your fishes. Do not over feed them.

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