Fantail may have swim bladder issue after freak accident (video of his symptoms)
My beloved fantail goldfish of 5 years (Pog) is acting very abnormal. Here's a video below that i took about an hour ago:
IMG_0820 | Flickr - Photo Sharing! The video is a little under 2 minutes long but it shows all of the symptoms if you watch the whole way through
There was a freak accident while I was at work-- the automatic feeder malfunctioned and dumped probably 3 weeks worth of food into the tank. I noticed the water was extremely cloudy when I got home and when I saw what had happened I knew I had to change 100% of the water. I tried to vacuum up the food/ waste too but it was impossible so I removed the gravel to be washed.
Pog's behavior is scaring me (I posted the symptoms in the form below). I tried to Google it and it sounds like the extreme amount of food he ate crushed his swim bladder. The cure is supposdly cooked peas-- but he won't eat them, he just spits them right out and swims away. There are also some new behaviors from Days 3-4 that I couldn't figure out online.
I have to go home to Boston for Christmas today or tomorrow... it's a 2 hour drive. I really don't think he's going to make it in the 5 gallon travelling bucket. Is his behavior normal healing? Can I leave him here..? I can come back in a week or so to feed him, but I'm afraid he'll be dead. But I'm also afraid he'll be dead 30 minutes into the car ride to Boston so I'm totally stuck.
Any help would be immensely appreciated!! I love my fish like someone would love a cat or a dog.
1. Size of tank?
2. Water parameters
I don't know... I left all of my testing supplies out of the state. There's a (probably unreliable) ammonia sensor that is reading "safe." I will try to run and get a testing kit now if that will help
4. FW (fresh water) or BW (brackish)?
5. How long the aquarium has been set up?
6. What fish do you have? How many are in your tank? How big are they? How long have you had them?
Just the one fantail goldfish. You can see how big from the video. I've had him 5 years.
7. Were the fish placed under quarantine period (minus the first batch from the point wherein the tank is ready to accommodate the inhabitants)?
8. a. Any live plants? Fake plants?
No live plants, a few fake plants I've had in there for about a month
b. Sand, gravel, barebottom?
There was a layer of gravel but I had to remove/ clean it. I haven't put it back in the tank because I don't want to stress him
c. Rocks, woods, fancy decors? Any hollow decors?
9. a. Filtration?
20 gallon HOB. I know it should be more but it's never been a problem with just the one goldfish, and I change the filter once every 2 weeks
10. a. Lighting schedule? What lights are used?
I turn the light on about half the day usually. The light is flourescent
b. Any sunlight exposure? How long?
11. a. Water change schedule?
100% 2 days ago, and I've been vacuuming up the waste since then once a day because of the lack of gravel
b. Volume of water changed?
100%... all 20 gallons
c. Well water, tap water, RO water?
d. Water conditioner used?
no, i left everything in Boston
e. Frequency of gravel/sand (if any) vacuumed?
every time I change the water, which I try to do once a week but is usually every 10-14 days
a mix of flakes and pellets
How often are they fed?
twice a day, just a tiny bit
13. a. Any abnormal signs/symptoms?
Day 1 he was floating at the top, tilted to one side, and not wanting to sink down. Day 2 he was just sitting on the bottom, gulping water very heavily, and occasionally darting to the surface to gulp a massive bubble of air, but sometimes he couldn't make it all the way to the top so he would rest and try again later. Days 3-4 he isn't gulping water quite as severly, he is on the bottom of the tank, swimming WAY faster than usual sometimes and bumping into the sides of the tank when he sees me, swimming in circles, or just sitting there listless for long periods of time. He will swim into the middle of the tank now, so I thought his swim bladder might be improving, but he doesn't spend much time in the middle. 90% of the time he's just sitting on the bottom. He also has a red streak or two in hs tail.
b. Appearance of poop?
white, sometimes stringy
c. Appearance of gills?
14. a. Have you treated your fish ahead of diagnosis?
no... I tried to feed a pea but he spat it right out
15. Insert photos of fish in question and full tank shot if necessary.
IMG_0820 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Sorry bout the auto feeder, hope you got it fixed.
His swim bladder is displaced, but at least he is not going topsy turvey yet.
Starve him for 3 days, then light feed and try a pea now and then for a week, increase the tanks air stone supply.
He has a discomfort but you don't want to shove any food in him till the 3 days are over.
He is swimming, seems alert so I don't think a 2 hour drive will make him much worse off.
Let us know how he gets on, if he gets worse let me know and I will advise on a suitable laxitive.
Mandy (marine biologist\vet
I just tested the water parameters, and these numbers look really off:
I've tried to find standard numbers for fantail goldfish but I can't find anything consistent.
These numbers do worry me though, could this be the secondary reason my fish is just hanging out on the bottom of the tank, listless? He doesn't seem to be getting any better, it's been 4 days.
Since the initial 100% fill-up of tap water 4 days ago, I've just been vacuuming up a little waste on the bare bottom of the tank, maybe 20% per day. Could this also be the problem, should I just let the waste sit until the water settles a little more?
I think I'm bringing him to Boston today unless it's a better idea to leave him where he is? I'm terrified of risking his life, I am really fond of him, but I can't take care of him if I'm out of the state
He will cram as much as he can until he is stuffed, the amount of excessive food that was in your tank means that he was really inhaling food as well. it will not go through his gills as water bypasses the gill, he was inhaling food into his stomach as well, until his system could take no more, his stomach bloated pushing his swim bladder backwards, hence he is swimming head down as in the video.
This is why I advised to starve him for 3 days to see if his body will naturally get rid of the excess food, after 3 days try him with a shelled pea ,,,and some Daphna if he will eat it, this is a natural laxative.
If he will not eat it and does not seem to respond to this treatment then I will advise on a water based laxative that should ease his problems.
A 100% water change will obviously upset him, but you had no choice, luckily goldfish are fairly hardy,
Even if things do not go too well at least you know we have done our best.
As long as he is swimming and seems alert, he stands a chance.
Just starve him for now, you should see a noticeable change in his swimming after 2 days.
Keep me informed, and a merry Christmas to you all.
Mandy (marine biologist\vet)
Pog is doing so much better! He is now able to swim around anywhere he wants-- and can move from the surface to the bottom with no difficulty.
He had become motionless on the bottom of the tank for over 24 hours. Entirely heartbroken, I was wondering if I should just go buy some clove oil, but I tried again to feed him a pea and he finally ate it.
He is almost 100% back to normal, but his movements are very quick and jerky, which is not usual for him. But I'm just glad to see him moving at all, and not just sitting on the bottom. I also have not seen any waste since I fed him the first pea a day or two ago-- it may have been filtered when I wasn't paying attention, but I'm still worried about feeding him more food if I can't see any waste in the tank. How long would pellets or peas take to move through a fish of his size?
just lightly feed him with his normal food, a pea now and then does them no harm, looks like he has got over the worst now.
Clove oil is a last resort treatment, not really advised as it can badly irritate gills.
Anyway hope you have many more happy years with Pog
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