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Old 08-09-2012, 07:10 PM   #1
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fonejacker's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Weybridge, Surrey, UK
Posts: 13
Calico Fantail - severe swim bladder issue.

I have Calico Fantail with what is now a long standing swim bladder issue (5 weeks). I will be posting my water parameters and methods already tried to resolve in due course.

I've posted a video to demonstrate some of his swimming, but to be fair, he makes more of an effort when he knows I'm there. If I see him from across the room, often he's just floating upside down on the surface.

Calico - YouTube

~What type of fish is afflicted? Calico Fantail, approx. 8 months in tank. Shares 55 gallon home with one healthy (and cheeky) Black Moor, and one Black Ranchu.
2~What are your tank parameters Ammonia 0ppm, Nitrites 0ppm, Nitrates 20ppm, temp 68-69 degrees Fahrenheit
3~ How large is the tank? 55 gallons, set up 8 months
4~What type of filtration are you using?Fluval U4
5~How many fish are in the tank? see above, small Black Ranchu, 1 inch, larger Black Moor 3 inches
6~When is the last time you did a water change and vacuum the gravel? 40-50% water change weekly, gravel vaccuumed weekly. Without fail
8~Have you added anything new to the tank--Nothing new added, use Seachem Prime to condition water
9~What kind of food have you been feeding your fish, have you changed their diet recently? Feed sinking Tetra pellets on a daily basis, feed peas to aid bowel movement, they love spinach, bloodworms and daphnia occasionally.

I've tried increasing the vegetation they eat, I've tried fasting as suggested elsewhere too. I've tried sitting it out to see if any improvement, but seems worse if anything. Hate to see the little fella suffer (if this is the case). He still feeds fairly normally , although this seems to be harder for him as his buoyancy varies.

I have very reluctantly read up on euthanasia, I don't want to go down this road if I can avoid it, but something needs to give.

I appreciate any advice, and thanks.

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Old 08-10-2012, 12:38 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Johnson City, NY
Posts: 156
Dear Fonejacker,

You seem to be doing almost everything you can can for your pretty calico fantail. The egg-shaped body seems to attract buoyancy issues--weird center of gravity. Since the goldie shares a tank with other piggy goldies, it is possible that s/he has not been getting a share of the veggies and sinking pellets.

The only thing I can think of is this--Do you have a 20 US gallon tank to use as an isolation tank for a while and another filter? A 20 gallon rubbermaid storage tub can also work in a pinch. Try isolating your calico and feeding soaked pellets and mashed peas for a bit and see if the calico improves.

Good luck.

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Old 08-10-2012, 01:11 PM   #3
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Location: philadelphia suburbs
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Hi Fone!
Your fantail actually is a ryukin with its classic 'hump' and actually looks very healthy with the exception of the buoyancy issue. As RevChristine mentioned, fancies are prone to swimbladder disorders simply due to their poor conformation. There really is no 'cure' for poor conformation. You can try switching everyone to a homemade gel food diet and see if this helps. If you dont want to make homemade gelfood, theres a brand of gel food called Repashy that has become quite popular & has rave reviews in the goldfish community recently. Moving him to a tank such as a 20long may or may not help- it sometimes does due to the decreased water pressure from a tank that has less depth.

As long as he is active and still has a good appetite, he can live ( and swim) quite happily upside down or sideways or however he is getting around. It is disconcerting to us humans to watch a fish in this manner though and I wont deny this because I have ryukin with buoyancy issues as well. If he reaches a point that he no longer is eating or remains at the surface 24/7, then a decision in respect to his quality vs quanity of life should be considered. Finquel (MS-222) is the top choice for euthanasia for a goldfish with clove oil second. I am not sure though if finquel is available in your country. Heres a link to homemade gelfood recipes & more info on buoyancy issues in goldfish:

Gel Food Recipes
Swim Bladder/Flip Over
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fantail, swim bladder

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