Bloated goldfish. Tried everything

wicca1971

Member
HI guys. I'm so upset right now. My fish has been fighting what I was thinking was bladder disease but now I'm thinking it may be more serious. It started slowly several months ago and I've tried everything except bringing him to an actual fish doctor. Raising the temp, changing to sinking pellets, feeding peas, not feeding for a while. With each "treatment" he seemed to improve a little but he has suddenly just gotten worse. It's breaking my heart and I don't know what else to do.
He is one fancy tailed goldfish in a 75 gallon tank. All water perimeters are in normal range and he looks healthy in every way. Any other suggestions?
 

SM1199

Member
Can you provide pictures? What sort of food do you regularly feed? How much do you feed? Is he having any swim bladder symptoms like uncontrollably sinking or floating? How long ago did you get him?

It's very hard to judge without pictures and symptoms. You say he looks healthy in every way, so what exactly is making you think something's wrong? Fancy goldfish are bred to be very round, so I'm curious to see if he's actually very bloated, or if he's just a nice round fancy goldfish. He might even just be well-fed and was skinny when you first got him, which is why you noticed such a difference. It's hard to tell without more information.
 

BettaNgold

Member
I wouldn’t raise the temp. Goldies don’t like warm water and it could stress him more. Only raise temp if you suspect ich or fungal infection.
 
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wicca1971

Member
I've had him for about 6 years and I feed him Omega One sinking pellets, just a few once a day. He's been floating upside down, hanging in corners, having trouble getting himself right side up.
It's not bad enough that he can't eat but it's very disturbing to watch. I do weekly water changes, about 25-30%. I'll try to add a video so you can see what he's doing.

It won't let me upload the video
 

BettaNgold

Member
I would do a 75% water change myself so I’ll advise you to do a 50%. If you only do 25% then you’re leaving 75% of the gunk in the tank. Hardly seems worth it.
 
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wicca1971

Member
BettaNgold said:
I wouldn’t raise the temp. Goldies don’t like warm water and it could stress him more. Only raise temp if you suspect ich or fungal infection.
I've been told by many fish enthusiasts that raising the temp helps them digest better if they are having issues and I've done 50% water changes once or twice hoping that would help but it didn't.

I figured out how to share the video.
 
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wicca1971

Member
I don't have the exact numbers on me right now but they were all in the normal range.
 

SM1199

Member
Unfortunately, sometimes guides aren't very clear as to what "normal range" really means and accept that there might be some ammonia or nitrite, which in reality is not acceptable or healthy. Your best bet is to get an API master test kit and verify that ammonia and nitrite are zero, and nitrate isn't off the charts or anything.
 
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wicca1971

Member
I do use the API kit. I'll post the numbers when I get home.
 

DIYbetta

Member
I didn’t see anything wrong with it? To me it looks like it’s just the body type/shape. Maybe I just don’t see something...
 

BettaNgold

Member
That is one fat goldfish! Even for a fancy. She is definitely swimming oddly. I have one that does that too but mine has a curled Gill. I would cut back on feeding. An Epsom salt bath may help. Place 1/2 tablespoon of epson salt in a gallon of dechlorinated water. Dissolve it and allow the fish to bathe in it for 5 minutes. Then put it back in tank. You can do this 3 times a day. It may pull some fluid off. The good news is that there is no pine coning. Keep us posted.
 
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wicca1971

Member
Honestly, she only eats like five medium size pellets a day but I will cut back.
Should I use the water from her tank? I have well water (so no chlorine) but I don't want to shock her. And what is everyone's thoughts on the raised temperature? So many people told me its suppose to help with digestion.

DIYbetta said:
I didn’t see anything wrong with it? To me it looks like it’s just the body type/shape. Maybe I just don’t see something...
She never had this issue until several months ago. She swam like a normal fancy, a little awkward but not upside down
 

vyrille

Member
wicca1971 said:
Honestly, she only eats like five medium size pellets a day but I will cut back.
Should I use the water from her tank? I have well water (so no chlorine) but I don't want to shock her. And what is everyone's thoughts on the raised temperature? So many people told me its suppose to help with digestion.
That looks like a swimbladder issue. You can try epsom salt baths as suggested to draw fluid out. As for heat, I can't recommend either way as my fish are at the upper limit of heat tolerance as it is and never tried it. I have doubts it will work though, if the food has impacted already in the gut.
 
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wicca1971

Member
I will slowly lower the temp back to normal and cut back on feeding but as far as salt baths how much Epsom salt per gallon and how long do I leave her in it?
I've read many different variations of the directions.
And thank you EVERYONE for helping me out. This little girl is part of the family and it kills me to see her distressed
 

vyrille

Member
wicca1971 said:
I will slowly lower the temp back to normal and cut back on feeding but as far as salt baths how much Epsom salt per gallon and how long do I leave her in it?
I've read many different variations of the directions.
And thank you EVERYONE for helping me out. This little girl is part of the family and it kills me to see her distressed
Epsom salts has many other uses, and used of other fish as well, which probably explains the variations. Though, for goldfish swim bladder issues, in a bath, I would suggest 1 tbsp per gal of water, for 30mins daily, for a few days to a week. If he still doesn't improve in a week it's unlikely that it would be resolved by epsom salts and you may need to seek other means, such as manual evacuation. Dr. Loh has a good guide here:

For reference, the bladder is along the lateral line, thus:

source:
Should you attempt manual evacuation, remember to keep the needle close to the skin, while lifting it, to avoid the kidney and intestines..
 

BettaNgold

Member
I agree on the epsom salt dose/bath. I was a little less aggressive with doseage because it’s not my fish. However, I do the tablespoon in mine. I suggest only 5 minutes the first time to see how the fish reacts. Then go to 30 minutes. You can do this 3 times a day. Please, do not do the surgical technique. That should be left to pros who have done it many times before.
 

TheeLadyG

Member
(Fyi, my goldfish tank is regularly 70-80 unheated... they're fine)
 
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wicca1971

Member
I'm going to do the salt bath tomorrow but I had one more question.....
Does Epsom salt expire? I have a container that is a few years old but not sure if I should use it or go buy a new one?
 

vyrille

Member
wicca1971 said:
I'm going to do the salt bath tomorrow but I had one more question.....
Does Epsom salt expire? I have a container that is a few years old but not sure if I should use it or go buy a new one?
epsom salts, so long as it's pure magnesium sulphate, and the container properly sealed and dry, does not expire
 

AverageDewdrop

Member
Yep! You want pure. Nothing with fragrance. With my goldfish I always do at least 50% water changes and vacuum the gravel every time every few days or weekly. Hopefully the salt helps! The only other thing I could recommend for swim bladder is the link of dr.loh
 
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wicca1971

Member
Thanks everyone for all of your great advice yet again. I'll keep you posted.
 
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wicca1971

Member
So, I did the Epsom salt dip for my fish with no change. I left him in it for 10 minutes. I was really hoping for a miracle.
Should I do several dips? I read online somewhere to do the dips daily for 3-5 days.
If the dips don't work does anyone know what the next steps are? Should I try medication to treat for a bacterial infection? I was actually looking for a fish doctor (that's how desperate I am) but there are none in my area. I don't think she's pooped in days.
Starting to loose hope
 
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wicca1971

Member
Another crazy idea...
Could she be egg bound? I keep calling her a "she" but I honestly don't know if she's male or female. If she's egg bound does that kill them quickly or can it take a while? She's been behaving this way for about a month getting worse as time goes by.
 

goldface

Member
It looks fine, in terms of body shape. Six years can be pretty old for fancy goldfish, and some may develop buoyancy issues as they grow older. Not much you can do about that, except accept that you may have to deal with this issue for the rest of its life. Besides that, he/she looks fine.
 
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wicca1971

Member
Ugh! I wish there was a fix. Sometimes she's so bad, laying upside down, I have to gently right her. Do you think the Epsom salt baths are pointless if the first one failed or should I continue to do more?
 

goldface

Member
wicca1971 said:
Ugh! I wish there was a fix. Sometimes she's so bad, laying upside down, I have to gently right her. Do you think the Epsom salt baths are pointless if the first one failed or should I continue to do more?
I say continue trying, but at a certain point, if nothing works, accept it for what it is: genetic.
 
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wicca1971

Member
Yeah, I think I'm coming to that realization. If it is genetic, can they live a satisfactory life and for how long? She still eats but I don't want her to be suffering.
 

vyrille

Member
wicca1971 said:
Ugh! I wish there was a fix. Sometimes she's so bad, laying upside down, I have to gently right her. Do you think the Epsom salt baths are pointless if the first one failed or should I continue to do more?
Imo epsom salt baths are supposed to be done twice a day, over several days (even up to a week). I found it very rarely will work for swim bladder on the first dip. Personally I think if the problem as persisted this long I'm not very optimistic, but it's worth the try! I wouldn't treat with antibiotics though, as he doesn't appear to be infected.
 

mattgirl

Member
Epson salt baths are for fish kinda like antibiotics are for us. It takes more than one to get the job done. We have to run the full course to get the job done. You may have to do it a couple of times a day for a few days to have any effect on her. Good luck. I know it is hard to see them like this and I know how helpless one can feel.

Try the epson salt baths a couple times a day for up to a week and see if it will help her. If it doesn't at least you will know you are giving her a fighting chance. If it is just age related the baths might not have any effect but at least you will know you did all you could do for her.
 

goldface

Member
wicca1971 said:
Yeah, I think I'm coming to that realization. If it is genetic, can they live a satisfactory life and for how long? She still eats but I don't want her to be suffering.
Give it a good effort, but don't overly stress it either. I'd give it a good 2 weeks. If no improvement then, oh well, at least you tried. And once fish get swim bladder issues, it tends to stay, meaning you may be able to resolve it, but will likely comeback, so it's an on and off problem. Some people build fish wheelchairs, but you bring up a good ethical question.
 
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wicca1971

Member
Thanks guys! I had no idea I could do it twice a day. I think I'll stick to once a day because removing her from her tank, which I did for the first time in years for the dip, did stress her out a bit but then she settled .
I appreciate your input.
 

SM1199

Member
If the whole course of epsom salt doesn't make a difference, and she is still eating and acting just fine otherwise, I would consider experimenting with the goldfish "wheelchairs." Maybe that's just me because I like to make things, but I think it might be fun! In her case, since she isn't floating straight up or sinking straight down but rather just doing little flips, I would imagine your focus would have to be more on balancing the harness rather than making it more or less buoyant than her. A harness with a pebble to weight the bottom and a piece of styrofoam (convenient because you can cut it back until it works) to pull up the top might work best.
 
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wicca1971

Member
The wheelchair looks like a great idea! but I haven't found any videos on how to actually make one and more importantly, how to fit it properly so it works.
Any suggestions?
 

TheeLadyG

Member
So, I remembered a posting I saw from Jenny of Solid Gold aquatics regarding a fish she had with swim bladder trouble (who eventually had to be euthanized) and I finally dug it up, you may find it informative.

It can sometimes take a little while for a malformation to become a problem for an animal. From what I gather, the Goldfish wheelchairs idea is super bloggable and an internet sensation in the short-term, but isn't really going to work out very well in the long term for the fish. I'm sorry you're going through this these fish are such mutants and not always well bred for physical health.
 

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