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Bacchus 03-11-2010 12:20 PM

Serpae Tetra with swim bladder issue
hey there, i have a school of 12 serpae tetras in my 30-gallon work tank. for going on 3 weeks, one of them has been dealing with what i assume is a swim bladder infection or disease. he is constantly having to swim to keep from sinking to the bottom. he is still able to eat and is not being picked on by the others. will this eventually get better or is this fish going to forever be struggling to keep from sinking?

is there anything i can do to help?

Bacchus 03-12-2010 08:03 AM


nothing at all??

aunt kymmie 03-12-2010 12:18 PM

I wish I knew. Hopefully someone will come along soon with some advice.

Bacchus 03-15-2010 11:35 AM


please help me figure this out. i left another fish keeping forum because literally nobody offered advice on this topic. it has now been 3 weeks that this fish has been struggling and i cannot get any help for it. there must be something i can do to save this fish

dramaqueen 03-15-2010 05:22 PM

It does sound like swimbladder disorder. Is there any way you can put him in a hospital tank by himself? Then you can lower the water level so he can reach the surface better. I really don't know much about other fish but you can try fasting him for a few days then feed him some daphnia. I hope this helps.

aunt kymmie 03-15-2010 10:55 PM

The info Drama gave really works well with bettas so you could give it a go with your tetra. How's he doing today? I wish we could be more concrete in a diagnosis, sometimes it's difficult to know exactly what to do. I'm sorry I can't be of more help. :-(

Bacchus 03-18-2010 10:45 AM

things are pretty much the same with that fish. he is not being picked on, surprisingly, so i am letting nature run its course. i am hoping he will get better. i will think about maybe bringing it home from work and setting up a hospital tank for him. thanks for the advice

kelly528 03-19-2010 11:15 AM

Try feeding him a pea to clear everything out.

SBD (swim bladder disorder) can either be caused by improper feeding OR it can be bacterial. So what we need to do is eliminate either one or the other. I find it really weird to hear of a tetra with SBD, usually it is more a problem with bettas and goldfish as a result of overfeeding them.

What types of food are you feeding and how often do you feed them.

Also, how old is the tetra? Is it possible he's jsut getting old?

Can he swim to the surface at all?

Like I said, VERY unusual for a tetra to contract SBD. Probably why nobody had any throughts on it.

Bacchus 03-19-2010 11:32 AM

i really doubt it is an overfeeding issue or an age issue. the fish in question is not all that old, really. also, i do not feed them very much, just a very little pinch of crushed flakes each day, and it is all gone within a minute. i dont even feed them at all on saturday or sunday. i like fasting them over the weekend when i am not there, though i do have an automatic feeder for long weekends.

the fish stays in the bottom half of the tank, mostly, but is able to make it to the surface if it wants to. all of the fish in the tank look really good, their colors are all a deep red and very healthy looking. the struggling fish's color even looks good for the most part. occasionally it looks a little faded, but at this moment it looks great. i change out 50% of the water every other week and top it off every other.

thanks for the suggestions; i will try feeding it a pea next week and if it is still struggling i will bring it home to a hospital tank. the fish seems to be a real fighter and i am hopeful. colors are still good, it still eats, and it is not being picked on. it just cannot hover in the water column

kelly528 03-19-2010 12:19 PM

I would quit with the flakes. They swell up with water in the fish's gut, causing the stuffed stomach to press on the swim bladder which stretches and distorts it. You will want to look for 2 or 3 good sinking pellets to comprise the tetra's diet. Some of my favorite (tetra-sized) sinking pellets/granules are

-Hikari Micro Pellets
-Hikari Micro-Wafers
-Any New Life Spectrum pellet/granule
-Any Ocean nutrition pellet/granule.

I would do a 'pea cleanse' for a few days then try a diet of sinking granules for a few weeks and see if he improves.

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