Constipation In Goldfish: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention & Treatment

If your fish has not been eating properly for a few days, and you are worried about what is wrong with it. If your fish has been acting like that, there are chances that your goldfish is constipated. However, do not worry as I am going to tell you everything you need to know about constipation in goldfish. I am going to go through the causes, symptoms, treatment, and measures that can be taken to avoid constipation.

Constipation is a common ailment that can affect goldfish, particularly those kept in aquariums. It occurs when the fish is unable to pass through waste, resulting in a bloated and uncomfortable appearance. Some of the common causes of constipation in goldfish include overfeeding, a lack of fiber in the diet, and poor water quality. Fortunately, constipation in goldfish is usually treatable through simple adjustments to the fish’s diet and environment.

Before we get to the treatments of constipation, it is important to understand the cause as that is going to help you treat it.

What causes constipation in Goldfish?

There are several reasons that can lead to constipation in guppies. There are important to understand that there can be different treatments for different causes, often constipation is a symptom of a disease that your goldfish is suffering from, in which case you will have to look into the treatments of that particular disease instead of constipation.

And with that being said, here are some of the causes of constipation in guppies.

What Causes Constipation In Goldfish

1. Overfeeding

The most obvious of the reasons is overfeeding.  Your goldfish might have a proper healthy diet, however, goldfish will eat whatever food is available, and this often leads to overfeeding. As the goldfish might eat more than its digestive tract can digest, leading to many problems including constipation.

2. Poor Diet

Some people confuse a poor diet with underfeeding your fish, this is far from the truth as you could be feeding your fish enough food for the recommended time (two to three times a day) and your fish might still get sick. A poor diet is one that lacks the nutrients your fish needs to stay healthy.

Goldfish are omnivores, like many other fish species. This means that they require a feed of both vegetables and meat. There are many different fish flakes available online and in pet stores that fulfill both requirements for your fish, however, depending solely on those can also prove to be problematic.

Apart from giving it fish flakes, you should also try to give those brine shrimp, as it is not high in fat and is a great source of nutrition. Another great source of protein is blood worms. Blood worms are a staple go-to diet for most fish keepers as it is not only a good source of protein, but the fish enjoy eating them too.

3. Over-Crowded Fish Tank

Having an overcrowded fish tank can also increase the chances of constipation in goldfish, this is due to the fact that with too many fishes in a fish tank, your goldfish might not have enough room to swim around freely. This lack of exercise will slow down the digestion of food in your fish, leading to constipation.

4. Different Diseases

Constipation is also a symptom of many different diseases that your goldfish might be suffering from. For example, swim bladder disease (you can learn more about swim bladder disease from other articles). 

OR, you could be confusing constipation for an entirely different disease, dropsy. The symptoms of Dropsy are very similar to that of constipation.

What are the symptoms of constipation in Goldfish?

Now that you know what might have caused constipation in your fish, it is time to identify and diagnose it. But keep in mind, that the symptoms of constipation can be confusing as fish keepers often confuse them with the symptoms of different diseases.

What Are The Symptoms Of Constipation In Goldfish

1. Bloated Belly

One of the most obvious signs of constipation is a bloated belly. If your goldfish continues to eat without being able to pass stool, its belly will begin to expand. Slightly, and the more you wait, the bigger the belly gets.

2. Stringy Feces

To learn about constipation, you must pay attention to your Goldfish poop. Another symptom of constipation in your goldfish is stringy feces. The normal fish feces will simply fall off, and constipated fish feces will be stringy and will hang on to the fish. This is because the fish produces mucus, which acts as a lube to make it easy for the stool to pass, with constipation, the fish only expels the mucus, which hangs on to the fish’s body.

3. Lethargic goldfish

Another symptom of constipation in goldfish is lethargy. You might notice that your fish is swimming slower than it usually does, or slower compared to the other goldfish, or worse, just hanging out at the bottom. These are clear signs of lethargy and fishes are only lethargic when they are sick.

If you notice that your fish has been lethargic, you should remove them from the fish tank and move them to a quarantine tank as lethargy can also be a sign of many different diseases, and some might be contagious, thus to avoid a sudden outbreak of the disease in your fish tank, you should remove the sick fish and treat it before placing it back on the main fish tank.

4. Loss of Appetite And Spitting Out Food

Another one of the main signs of constipation is loss of appetite. This one is quite obvious as with a full digestive tract, your fish will probably not want more food, as that might make them sicker.

Furthermore, if you notice that your goldfish is spitting out food after putting it in their mouths. This is also a sign of constipation as your fish might want to eat food, but is unable to swallow as its digestive tract is full.

How to treat Constipation in Goldfish?

Now that you have identified constipation in your fish, it is time to treat it. Fortunately, treating constipation is very easy as you can treat it using methods that are very convenient.

1. Fasting Your Goldfish

 First and foremost, you should fast your fish for a few days. Do not worry as nothing will happen to your fish if it does not eat for a few days.

Fasting your fish for a few days can stop constipation so it is the best way to start treatment.

2. Feed Them a Pea

Constipation occurs due to the aftermath of a lack of fiber in your diet. So naturally, the most obvious treatment for constipation is feeding it a fiber-rich diet.

Something that most fish keepers, including me, recommend is feeding your fish pea as a pea is very high on fiber. You will have to prepare the pea. The preparation technique of the pea is very simple and takes only about 2 minutes.

The first thing that you are going to want to do is boil one single piece of a pea. For about 1 minute, make sure you don’t overcook the pea so that it falls off or the pea is not undercooked either so that it is not too hard for the fish to eat, as that might make the pea lose its nutrients.

After that, you should peel off the outer layer of the fish. And wait for the pea to cool down; you can cool the pea down by drenching it in water that might also expand the pea slightly so that it does not expand on your fish’s stomach

Feed the fish half of the pea and fast them for 24 hours. Repeat this process 3 times and that might be enough to cute constipation in your fish. 

3. Epson Salt Treatment

The second alternative is to treat constipation with Epsom salt. When peas aren’t cutting it and constipation is becoming worse, try this.

Start by collecting some tank water and moving it to a smaller container if you’re going to use Epsom salt. After that, add some Epsom salt to the water. 1 teaspoon should be added to every 5 liters of water.

Once the Epsom salt has been thoroughly mixed with the aquarium water, return it to the tank. After that, wait three to four days before performing a complete water change on your goldfish. Also, make sure the chemical filter is removed so Epson salt isn’t eliminated.

Please note that these procedures should not be employed before peas because they are often more stressful on the body of your fish.

How do you prevent Constipation in Goldfish?

Fortunately, preventing goldfish constipation is simple, and if you do it right, you’ll never have to worry about treating it!

How Do You Prevent Constipation In Goldfish

Here are some of the greatest ways to keep your goldfish from being constipated!

1. Make Sure Your Goldfish Gets A Varied Diet

You must not only avoid overfeeding your goldfish, but you should also provide them with a well-balanced diet. Goldfish will require a diet that includes both meat and plants.

Goldfish flakes should make up the majority of their diet, but you should also feed them live food and blanched vegetables on occasion.

2. Have A Big Enough Tank For Your Goldfish To Get Enough Exercise

As I previously stated, if the tank isn’t large enough, your goldfish won’t get enough activity, and if they don’t get enough exercise, they’ll become constipated.

Make sure you have one goldfish in a 20-gallon tank and another 10 gallons for each new goldfish if you’re keeping them together.

3. Avoid Overeating

Overeating is one of the main causes of constipation and must be avoided at all costs. Overfeeding disrupts the digestive tract of your goldfish which results in constipation.

As a general rule, you should not feed your fish more than 2-3 times a day for no more than 2 minutes, anything above that is a big no-no.

Furthermore, it is also worth fasting your goldfish every few days as that does a bit of cleaning of the digestive tract.

I would also recommend giving your goldfish a blanched pea every once in a while as peas are high in fiber and fiber avoids constipation.

4. Clean Water Parameters

Another way to avoid constipation is to have clean water parameters. Dirty water can cause different diseases and it undermines the immune system of the fish. Constipation might be a symptom of any of those diseases, like dropsy.

You should perform regular water changes; the recommended time is once every week. Clean water will ensure stronger fish as their immune systems will be strong.

The Bottom Line on Constipation in Goldfish

You now know everything you need to know about constipation in goldfish.

Make no mistake: if you aren’t treating or preventing constipation, it is entirely possible that it will kill your goldfish. If you catch it early enough, you should be able to treat it and your goldfish should be fine.

Prevention is always better than remedy. Therefore, you should kill off any chances of constipation in your fish to its core, you can achieve this by giving your fish a fiber-rich diet, having a clean fish tank for your fish and of course, only feeding your goldfish the food it needs to eat, no more than 2 minutes.

Finally, if your fish does get constipation, you can cure it very easily with things that you can find in the comfort of your home, or you can order Epson salt online and cure your goldfish’s constipation.

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