Like all creatures on this planet, the fish in your aquarium may catch diseases. It is disheartening to wake up in the morning and see your fish discolored or, even worse, at the bottom of the tank or floating at the top. What was once a relaxing morning routine – drinking a cup of coffee and staring at your fish – has turned into an aquatic infirmary. A number of diseases can affect your fish. Some, however, are more common than others are, such as swim bladder disease.
Out of all types of aquarium fish, goldfish are the most vulnerable to swim bladder disease. The disease is a rough one because it alters a fish’s buoyancy. Every fish has a swim bladder, which is an internal gas-filled organ that helps a fish control its buoyancy. The swim bladder allows fish to conserve energy by not swimming. They are able to stay at whatever depth the water is. Think of it this way: imagine if we humans had an organ that reacts to gravity, allowing our feet to stay planted firmly on the ground. If something were to happen to this organ, we would be floating in space. The swim bladder is that important and without a healthy one, fish will simply sink to the bottom or float to the top.
You may be wondering, are there any cures? Well, if you feed a green pea the affected fish, it may counteract the disease. Green peas are good for both man and fish! You can always take the affected fish to a fish surgeon (yes, there are fish surgeons). Other owners are coming up with more…creative ways to battle swim bladder disease.
One such owner, Leighton, built a little life jacket out of recycled tubing for an affected fish named Einstein, and it only took him three hours! He said, “I wanted to build something that would allow Einstein to move his fins a little bit and be comfortable at the same time.” Leighton is certainly innovative; you cannot deny that and thus far, his goldfish lifejacket is working well, as Einstein is thriving.
When life throws a curveball your way, best be innovative and hit it out of the park. More of us need to emulate Leighton. Swim bladder disease presented a problem, but he dug into his heart and mind and came up with a solution. This is the way we should lead our lives!
If you have any questions about aquarium fish disease, such as swim bladder disease, contact Arizona Aquatic Gardens!
*Image courtesy of Peter Griffin