How Long Can a Fish Live with Swim Bladder Disease? Our Investigation

Swim bladder disorders are not uncommon. Fish can suffer from these diseases because of many factors including stress and parasites. But the question is how long can you fish live with this disorder? Can the fish live happily if it can’t swim properly? And these questions are not so easy to answer. We’ll have to look at different situations and circumstances.

Today, we’ll tell you about situations that may be dangerous for a fish with a swim bladder disorder. We’ll also look at some ways to help your fish in these cases. The most important thing is to be aware of the potential danger. If you know what can happen, you can always avoid bad situations and save the life of your aquarium fish.

We’ll be talking about the following:

  1. What can cause a swim bladder disease and how to recognize it?
  2. What are the main dangerous factors of a swim bladder disease for your fish?
  3. Permanent and temporary swim bladder disease in your fish.
  4. How to cure the swim bladder disease in your fish?

Let’s get started!

What can cause a swim bladder disease?

The first question is how can you understand that your fish has a swim bladder disease? It’s not that hard to see – just look at the way your fish swims. Usually, fish swim calmly and don’t shake when they swim. They can move sideways but their moves are still calm and very natural. When a fish has swim bladder disease, it starts moving weirdly and very slowly, although all its body shakes from side to side in an attempt to swim faster.

Also, you can see that the fish doesn’t control the direction it swims in. Sometimes it may bump into an aquarium wall or into some decorations. Of course, the grade of the swim bladder damage can be different. Sometimes, it will just slightly affect the way your fish moves.

Here are some possible reasons for the swim bladder disease:

  1. Very often, your fish may overeat and this will cause the so-called extended belly and the swim bladder will move from its usual position. This is a temporary situation, no actions are needed.
  2. Low water temperature. This may cause problems with digestion and again sweltering of the belly. This will mean that swim bladders will move from their initial position and will not be able to work properly. So, you will need to control the temperature of the aquarium water.
  3. If a fish carries a lot of fish eggs, it will swelter a bit. Of course, nothing can be done in this case. You should just wait until the natural process comes to an end.
  4. Parasites that dwell on swim bladders. They may cause swim bladder disorders and cause big problems. This is the case where your actions are needed. You will have to cure the fish because otherwise, it may just die.
  5. Fights between different fish. If you have an aggressive fish in your aquarium, it will fight other fish from time to time. This may cause problems with swim bladders because this is exactly what they usually attack.
  6. Birth defects. A lot of fish have minimal swim bladder disorders. It means they are OK, they can happily live, but they will need to acquire a special lifestyle in order to cope with all their natural needs.
  7. Other problems. We can also think of allergies, injuries because of inappropriate aquarium decorations, chemical changes in the tank water, etc. But these cases are much less common than the ones we’ve given above.

So, many factors can cause swim bladder disorders. And some of them are not under your control. Anyway, if you see that your fish suffers from swim bladder disease, you shouldn’t just hope everything will be fine. You have to do something to prevent other consequences.

At first, you should pay attention to the fish that you suspect of swim bladder disease. Then, if you see some problems, you have to make sure that the fish is out of danger. For example, if you have a lot of other fish in the tank, you shouldn’t let those fish offend your injured pet. Because it may cause its death, in the end.

How long can a fish live with a swim bladder disease?

A fish can live long with a swim bladder disease if it’s a permanent problem (for example, a birth defect). In this case, the fish will just from its own habits that allow it to find food and to swim faster if needed. So, if the defect is not that huge and the fish can get used to it, it can live a happy life and not have problems at all.

But if the defect is temporary, you should know the reasons for it. A sweltering belly is never a good sign. So, you should take care not about the swim bladders, but about the belly and possible diseases.

Here are some bad signs:

  • your fish looks sweltered – it means it has some problems with food, water quality, inner organs diseases, or parasites;
  • the fish looks weak – it may be ill or it may have parasites which you should take care of as soon as possible;
  • you can see bleeding – this may be caused by fights or just by parasites residing on swim bladders or other organs;
  • the fish swims near the surface or on the bottom which is not natural for it – these changes should make you worry;
  • the fish looks inactive and doesn’t react to feeding which means it’s bothered by something bad.

Also, some fish species will start fighting the injured fish when they see it’s unable to move properly. This is true for some guppies and other species, especially if there are a lot of fish in one tank. If you see this, you should do something to prevent the death of your injured fish.

Also, it’s a great idea to separate the fish with the swim bladder disorder from other water tank inhabitants because if it’s a disease or a parasite, other fish can be in danger, too. For this, we recommend having a quarantine tank that can be used for these purposes.

Why is swim bladder disorder so bad?

First of all, your fish can’t get the food. Other fishes will be much faster and more active when you feed them. And the slow fish with the swim bladder disease will not be able to get enough food.

Also, it may not want food. Because when a fish experiences pain and stress, it may not want to eat. This will cause problems because hungry fish will not live long.

Also, this fish will not be able to react to any attacks. If you have any aggressive fish in your aquarium, you will observe how these aggressive fish attack your injured pet from time to time.

One more problem is the pain and stress. A fish can just die because of stress. A stressed fish is in danger because it can’t react optimally to anything. It may not eat. In the end, it will die because of exhaustion.

What can you do to save your fish with a swim bladder disorder?

To save your pet, you can get a quarantine tank. This is the first step. You can even make your quarantine tank from a glass jar. It doesn’t matter, the main idea is that your fish should be alone. After that, you should try to understand what was the initial reason for the swim bladder disorder.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to investigate the problem well without a vet. A professional and experienced vet will easily tell you what was the reason for the problem and will prescribe some medications.

Here is the step-by-step guide to what you should do:

  • put your fish into a separate water tank or a jar;
  • make sure that the water conditions are optimal;
  • give enough food to your fish;
  • contact a vet and ask what you should do;
  • observe your pet and control its condition;
  • don’t forget to use medication that was prescribed by a vet.

Fish are hard to cure. But if you have some experience of how to deal with fish, you will not have a lot of problems. Your main task is to isolate the injured fish and then understand what’s happening with it. If nothing puts your fish in danger when it suffers from swim bladder disorders, you shouldn’t worry much about its life.

Final words

We know for sure that swim bladder disease is a dangerous thing for fish living in a big water tank with a lot of other fish. It may not get food and it will be stressed all the time. What’s more, this fish can get attacked by other inhabitants of the fish tank. So, you should put it into a quarantine tank and then take some action to save your fish. One of the best options is to contact a vet and let him or her deal with the problem.