Swim Bladder Disease In Guppies: Symptoms, Causes, Prevention & Treatment

If you notice your fish swimming backward, there’s excellent news. It is not a death sentence, and there may still be time to remedy the condition. However, before you can begin treatment, you must first understand the condition.

An issue with the swim bladder, which is the organ that helps the fish swim and stays buoyant in the water, is nearly invariably the cause of guppies swimming upside down.

Let’s take a look at some warning signals to look for and a step-by-step list of things you can do to keep your guppy happy.

What is the Nature of a Guppy’s Swim Bladder?

The swim bladder of a guppy is a gas-filled organ that helps the guppy to float in the water without wasting energy swimming. Above the guppy’s stomach is the swim bladder.

What is a Guppy’s Swim Bladder Disorder?

Swim bladder dysfunction refers to an issue in which the guppy’s swim bladder no longer functions properly. Swim bladder dysfunction is still the most common cause of this sickness; it is not a disease or infection, but it is a symptom that your guppy’s health is in bad shape. The swim bladder is the engine that propels any fish through the water; it is usually gas-filled, checks fish buoyancy, and aids in the free flow of all aquatic organisms.

What is a Guppy's Swim Bladder Disorder

What Causes Guppy Fish to have a Swim Bladder Disorder?

Swim bladder dysfunction can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Concerns about the Environment (such as low water temperature)
  • Infections caused by parasites or bacteria
  • Other organs are enlarging
  • Another fish has injured you
  • Excessive Nitrate in the Aquarium
  • Feed Expansion in the Belly
  • Swallowing Air
  • Constipation

Concerns about the Environment (such as low water temperature)

Guppy food digestion is affected by water temperature. Guppies may struggle to digest their food if the temperature in our guppy tank is constantly too low. As the undigested food decomposes in the guppy’s stomach, gases are released, causing the stomach to expand. The swim bladder may really migrate as the stomach grows larger. Unfortunately, once a guppy’s swim bladder has relocated, it is unlikely to return, even if the stomach has returned to normal size.

Infections caused by Parasites or Bacteria

The swim bladder, as well as other internal organs, can become enlarged or inflamed as a result of parasites or bacterial infections. As previously stated, once the swim bladder moves as a result of other organs growing in size, it typically does not return, implying that the damage is irreversible.

Other organs are Enlarging

Other organs can increase as a result of cysts or tumors growing in them, fatty deposits (particularly around the liver), or becoming egg-bound (in the case of females).

A female guppy’s swim bladder might sometimes shift because of the development of so many kids inside her. This is generally a long-term migration.

Another Fish has Injured you

Although it is less typical in tiny fish like guppies, predator fish are known to ram their potential victim in order to injure or rupture the swim bladder. The prey fish has little chance of swimming away after the swim bladder has been pierced.

Constipation on a Regular Basis

Constipation causes problems in the swim bladder, but it doesn’t always happen as a result of improper eating or too much food. It inhibits the veins that go to the swim bladder, causing the fish to miscalculate how to swim.

Inhaling Air

This is also an issue with guppies, which is why it is usually recommended not to feed them floating flakes because when they reach the top surface to receive the food, they end up gulping extra air along with the food, causing bloating and affecting their swim bladder.

Feed Expansion in the Belly

If you’re raising guppies, appropriate nutrition is crucial to their growth and well-being. Some feeds expand when they come into contact with water or get damp. When the guppy eats, the feed grows inside the guppy, affecting the swim bladder, and causing swimming problems if the feeding is not halted.

In the Aquarium, There Is An Excessive Amount Of Nitrate

When there is a lot of ammonia and nitrate in the aquarium, it causes a lot of problems and diseases. It’s a good idea to use salt to wash your tanks every now and then; germs will die as a result.

Swim Bladder Infection in Guppies Symptoms

To begin with, swim bladder illness is rather frequent in fish. The majority of the causes have to do with the fish being traumatized, either internally or externally. It might also be congenital, which means they were born with the problem.

Unless you hatched the fish yourself, you won’t know if it was congenital or trauma-related until treatment works or doesn’t work. During observation, the ideal first step is to isolate your fish in an isolation tank.

If you don’t have access to an isolation tank, keep them apart from the other fish in a tiny fish net. Take note of the following:

The Fins were Clasped

The majority of the fins will extend out to provide maximum drive. The fish will preserve energy due to the lethargy associated with swim bladder illness, which includes the energy necessary to expand the tail fin.

The Stomach is Bloated

Swim bladder illness frequently affects other organ functioning, although it can also be caused by stomach issues. Examine your guppy’s tummy, which is generally transparent. It will be easier to look through and see bloating and stored food waste if it is swollen.

What is a Guppy's Swim Bladder Disorder

Swimming that is Irregular

The swim bladder aids your fish in remaining stationary with little effort. It enables fish to surface and dive at their leisure. It will be unbalanced if it is squashed by other difficulties, just like having inner ear problems would lead you to stumble. They can swim sideways, upside down, or even very quickly without appearing to move.

How to Treat Guppies with Swim Bladder Disorders?

Swim bladder issues can be difficult to treat, especially if the origin of the problem is unknown. In my experience, there is a checklist of things to attempt to resolve the problem.

Check the Temperature of the Tank

Only ten percent of cases diagnosed at home as “fish bladder illness” are genuinely connected to fish bladder disease, according to Dr. Jessie Sanders. The temperature of your tank is the primary culprit. Allow the temperature to gently increase to normal if it’s out of whack, and the problem should go away.

Check the Temperature of the Tank

Change their Eating Habits

 If your guppy’s abdomen is bloated, it’s because of external shock from bullying or constipation from low-quality food. Isolate them and give them three or four cooked and peeled peas a day until the problem is resolved.

Use an Epsom salt float if the diet and Temperature haven’t helped

Epsom salts have the same muscle-relaxing effect on guppies as they have on people. It can often help with traumatized organs that have invaded the bladder space, as well as constipation issues. The Epsom salt procedure is as follows.

  • One gallon of water at the same temperature as the tank should be placed in one bucket.
  • Remove the chlorine from the water.
  • Add one spoonful of Epsom salt to the mixture.
  • For fifteen minutes, add your guppy.
  • De-chlorinator a gallon of water in a second bucket and add a teaspoon of salts.
  • Allow fifteen minutes for your guppy to get this therapy.
  • Put them back in the tank.

If the first three measures haven’t worked, you’re probably dealing with a bacterial infection or swim bladder illness. For product recommendations, talk to your veterinarian. API Melafix for bacteria is the best commercially available product. Betta Max is a better option if you feel it’s a parasite-related problem.

What Can you do to Keep your Guppy from Getting Swim Bladder Disease?

As we often say, the greatest thing to seek is prevention rather than treatment for sickness. The sickness should not develop in the first place, and as a fish owner, you should be aware of any potential complications. So, as you can see below, there are a few things you may do

The importance of keeping the water clean cannot be overstated. Having a decent filter is half the battle, but water changes on a regular basis are essential. Every week, I attempt to replace roughly 30% of the water in my guppy aquariums. This keeps their water pleasant and prevents the accumulation of nitrates.

Guppies’ digestive systems are kept in balance by regular feedings of live or frozen daphnia or brine shrimp. Both items are natural laxatives that aid in the passage of food through the stomachs of your guppy.

The Bottom Line On Swim Bladder Disease In Guppies

Finally, we’d like to emphasize that this condition is neither lethal nor communicable to the other guppies in the tank. However, if constipation is the source of the swim bladder disease, keep a watch on the other fishes as well, because if one has it, the others may as well. And how you care for your fish is entirely up to you. Give them your full attention, and constantly double-check them in case there is an issue.

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