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Care of Fish
Freshwater Aquariums

What should you do if your goldfish swims lop sided and repeatedly floats to surface?


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December 09, 2010 9:17PM

Unfortunately, this sounds like "Swim Bladder Disease." Fish have a swim bladder that helps them to float up and down throughout the tank. When there are problems with the swim bladder, the fish will no longer be able to regulate its floating level in the aquarium. Goldfish are the most common fish to have these problems. It happens as a result of goldfish's eating habits. Goldfish will swim up to the top of the tank to eat their food, gulping air while sucking down their food. Unfortunately, this excess air that gets trapped in their stomachs and swim bladders causes the floating problems. Once a fish is showing these symptoms and can no longer stay below the surface, this situation will most likely be fatal. There is also nothing that you can really do. You can, however, make the fish as comfortable as possible by adding a product such as StressCoat to the water to reduce the fish's stress. Now, to try to prevent this from happening again, there is a better way to feed goldfish. Grasp a small pinch of flake food (use flake, not pellets, because the pellets normally can't sink) and hold it under the tank surface to ensure that the flakes are wet. Afterwards, release the flakes below the surface so that the goldfish does not have to come up to the surface to eat. This should help prevent the excess air from entering your fish's stomach and swim bladder.

I've actually had this happen to my goldfish. I took him out and put him in a small, clean coffee cup with fresh distilled water for about 30 mins. I cleaned his tank put him back in and so far he is still alive. Hope this helps.