Treating gas bubble disease


Hello everyone,

First post. Today I went out and bought two cardinal tetras to round out a small school of them I have in a five gallon aquarium (they will soon be moved into a 29 gallon). After getting the little guys home and starting to transition them, I realized that one of them has a strange looking bubble thing either right in front of or directly on top of his right eye. The fish is so small it’s hard to tell for certain. It does not look like Popeye to me as his eye is not actually popping out, so I did some research and decided that this appears to most likely be gas bubble disease, which is something I had not previously known about. He is also listing slightly to the side, which makes sense as the bubble would be tipping him off balance.

After some debating I decided to add both of the fish to the tank, as this is not something that is contagious. I plan on calling the fish store tomorrow to get a refund on the one fish since I got him sick (they are good about that), however I don’t want to euthanize him right away. His color is good and he eats and swims fine, although he is staying in a corner away from the school. I have been getting mixed results when searching for wether or not gas bubble disease can actually be treated and improve. I’m thinking aquarium salt and maybe some kanaplex to ward off infection, although I don’t want to stress him more. Have anyone here had success treating this before?

Right now he’s in a well established five gallon tank with four other cardinals that are off doing their own thing. Ammonia, nitrate and nitrite are all zero, and ph is neutral. I took the best picture I could of his eye but he was darting around a bunch and my camera is not great.


GBD only happens under certain circumstances. Also would kind of expect both eyes and other fish to be affected. I wonder if it's just a strange presentation of an eye infection.

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