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Swim bladder problem

Dyna - On my web site under developing betta babies are two pictures of fry. One showing the swim bladder well developed and another showing a fry without a developed swim bladder. The photos are good for comparing what you may have verses what you would like to see. Along on the same page is a series of photos showing the ages and sizes of fry at different stages of development. These are not hard core photos to go by as each litter will develop at different rates depending on quantity of food, variety of food and litter size. Some varieties of bettas also grow slower than others. Over years of breeding, I have culled all my swim bladder problems as soon as they became noticable. Now I do not get them in any of my litters, regardless of diet how often they are fed. Some breeders insist is it the overfeeding certain foods, or not having enough variety in the diet. I am one who believes it is a genetic disorder, and just like any genetic disorder, there are variations in the degree of how bad it is, which can be influenced by environmental factors. - Feb 18, 2001 link
- Fish are ectrothermic, which means the only have limited if any ability physiologically maintain a constant body temperature. In most fish it is usually the same as the temerature of the water it is in. In any one environment, fish acclimatize to relatively narrow tempature range. Any rapid change to that range will stress the fish. Rapid changes in tempature can cause swim bladder problems. - Jan 1, 2001
Donna - The fry that look as they want to walk upright are bellysliders. Their swim bladders have not developed properly, sometimes caused by overfeeding. Sometimes this problem corrects itself and sometimes it does not. - Dec 27, 2000
Chiu Kok Onn - How soon the swim bladder starts developing depends, larger fry will develop faster, if you look at the fries close enough, you'll see an air tube thing developing near the stomach and thats the time, if they're always full, the air tube(which is the bladder I think) cannot grow to the back of the fish , and then it'll curl round the stomach and the fish cannot swim properly, if the fish will to make it bigger, you'll see that he can't swim properly, tail down head up.... That is what I've observed .... - Jan 17, 2001
Matthew J. - I had a problem with one of my fish doing this. To me it sounds like bacterially-induced swimbladder disorder, only my fish that did this was floating sideways at the top. I fixed him with a product called Paragon II, on BeltaneBetta's recommendation. It's a bacterial infection -- just like a sore throat or a stomach flu -- in their swim bladder, which is the organ that helps them stay balanced in the water. A lot of goldfish get this and get stuck on the bottom of the tank, but in goldfish it's caused by constipation (this happens in bettas, too, but if they're floating at the top it's usually bacterial in nature). - Jan 27, 2001
Donna - Your fry and their swim bladders may just be developing at different rates. You can also try the green pea treatment. Rinse off a canned green pea, pinch the skin off and feed your betta the inside. This is an old remedy for goldfish with swim bladder problems, which are sometimes caused by constipation/blockage and the resulting pressure on the swim bladder. You can do this for several meals to see if it helps. It's always worth a try. Usually if my bellysliders are going to recover, they will do so by 8-10 weeks of age. I won't keep them longer than that unless some have especially good fins and/or color patterns and I want to give them a bit longer. Once I had a really exceptional dt turquoise marble bellyslider that "mostly" recovered and now he is a treasured pet of one of my grandchildren. Of course, I wouldn't breed him. - Dec 28, 2000
Donna - green peas are more helpful in grown bettas that have swim bladder problems due to constipation. This is after their swim bladder is already fully developed. Getting fry to eat green peas will be difficult, and I doubt the peas will help a swim bladder that has not developed in the first place. - Feb 18, 2001
Michelle M. - Depending on what caused it in the first place, the cure rate for swim bladder disease is not high. Try Paragon II by Aquatronics. It comes in a yellow powder form. I have had results treating with this, both in bettas and cories. - Dec 27, 2000
JJ - Problem when some of your fries FLOATS and have difficulty swimming downwards - I've heard of the saying that when the fry are young, up to 1 or 2 months or even longer, you should not change their water (especially quick water changes) when they are on a full stomach. The reason being that the bladder is easily affected by the sudden change in pressure. I've found this to occur quite regularly when I change the water too quickly, especially on full stomachs. Not too sure if the cause is really the sudden change in water pressure, but it seems to have some baring on the problem. Just remember that there may be several causes to the swim bladder problem, as with internal problems, so take each one in it's stride and try it out to see if it works. Now I try not to change water too quickly, choosing to let the new water drip into the tank slowly. Seems to help, as the swim bladder problem is less of a problem now. As for belly sliders, sometimes they do grow out of it, so as long as they are kept healthy and fed well, you'll still have a chance to get them back to normal. I've had close to an entire spawn belly slide at about 1cm size and later recover!

Here's some theories which you may be interested in. After feeding, the fry are usually very full and the bloated stomach is pressing on the bladder, causing it to be presurised more than normal. That could be why sometimes the fish will appear as if it is very heavy in the stomach, and sinks to the bottom of the tank after a heavy meal. If there is a sudden change in pressure now, you can guess what happens to the swim bladder. Like always, take all this with a pinch of salt, because as long as there is no conclusive tests done on it, no one can say for sure that water pressure is the real problem. - Jan 20, 2001

Goh - I also believe that a change of diet can sometimes lead to this : you see when I bought blue Deltas from a bettahan member, I switched the diet to food pellets & all of my Deltas from that batch get this bladder problem. - Dec 21, 2000
Michelle M. - I currently have some bellysliders that are almost two months old. The cause was obvious: overfeeding. This was the first spawn of which I kept the lights on 24/7 (only turned it off at night recently), and in my zeal to make sure they had enough food for the night, I fed too much. Many more fry than usual have swim bladder problems, and I can visually see that the swimbladders in many of them haven't grown much, yet. The fry are still small, though. However, I would say that if the fry weren't suffering, to let them continue to grow. I've never had a fry yet that didn't outgrow a swimbladder problem. I'm now feeding them much less, and I already see improvement. There are dt fry in this spawn, and some of them have shortened bodies which is adding to the problem. I won't cull them unless it becomes obvious they can't live a comfortable life. - Dec 28, 2000
Matthew J. - You should stop feeding her altogether for about two days. That's if you're SURE it's caused by constipation. Bacteria can also cause swim bladder problems, and for that I HIGHLY recommend a medicine called "Paragon II." - Feb 3, 2001
betta5 - My personal observation is that you can feed fry anything up to 4 weeks of age. After that, big portions of anything can cause belly sliders and an occasional floater. Despite the fact that I know this, I sometimes forget to keep track of the exact age of my fry even though it is written down. If I forget and keep feeding as much as they can stuff themselves with, that is when I get into trouble. - Dec 28, 2000
Peter - I have many frys that has the same problem. Once they have the problem, some recovers a little but none will ever recover fully i.e.. they will be inactive or sluggish fishes. I suggest monitoring them for a week or 2 and save them from their misery if they don't improve. Try changing their diet immediately. I normally wean the frys over to tubifex after 3 weeks of age (only if you are comfortable). You may want to try daphnia. Stop bbs completely after 3.5 to 4 weeks and watch them grow like monsters. Hopefully it will also solve your problem. - Jan 19, 2001
JJ - There are several causes to swim bladder problem, such as indigestion, internal infection, etc. You have to know what the cause is before you can treat it. That's why it is often difficult to treat swim bladder problem, and what works for someone may not work for you. Some fish do grow out of this problem, so you could problably hang in there and hope for the best. - Dec 21, 2000
Matthew J. - One of my favorite fishies has swim bladder disease. I'm basically following the instructions on by adding a bit of extra aquarium salt, doing frequent water changes, and cutting down on food. He has the kind that makes him float at the top, not the congenital kind that makes them "belly-slide." - Dec 27, 2000
Misty - I'm not an experienced betta breeder, but my first batch of fry I only had 2 survive. They both suffered from bad swim bladder disorders. In an attempt to give up on them and let nature take its course I placed one in a 1 gallon tank with gravel, a lot of horwort, and an underground filter. The small fry would anchor himself in the plant and occasionally I would put microworms in the tank or some HBH Fry bites. After a couple of days that poor pitiful fish began swimming around normally. He has now grown three times his size, eating like a pig, and swimming beautifully. The second fry is still in a bowl with his swim bladder problem, but living and eating. I'm working on another setup like the above to fix him now. For some reason the plants seem to help a lot, maybe by giving the fish a way to keep themselves at a "normal" location the swim bladder is able to reform. Give your fish some time and their swim bladder problem may just fix itself. With what you have been through already, I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to try and wait it out. Just my experience. - Jan 11, 2001
Chiu Kok Onn - if this JUST happen recently, try not to feed them for 1 or 1.5 days, then see if their stomach become flat and then feed again, hopefully this will allow the baldder to grow to the back, if not the fish will swim head tail tail down.... - Jan 19, 2001
Mark T - Do u know what does a swimbladder looks like? It looks like and air bubble running parallel to the spine of the betta. For a healthy betta it should reach from the stomach until just slightly before the claudal fins . If your betta don't have that or have an underdevelop one, he will have trouble keeping afloat. I notice mine have this problem when I overfeed with brine shrimp and also dirty water.. Use a sponge filter instead of air stone, that will help provide a biological filtration and keep the water cleaner for longer periods. Also make sure the current is not too strong. If u feed then solely BBS, try switch to other food source. I feed mine chopped live tubifex worm after about 2+ weeks. They will still wriggle in the water and easily attract the frys. For my case almost 90% of them will recover and grow up to be healthy bettas. - Feb 18, 2001

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