Red-capped Oranda Goldfish; Probable Swim Bladder Disorder. Any hope?

Asked July 29, 2020, 7:59 PM EDT

Hello, Our daughter’s 1 year old Oranda is in dire straits. She’s had progressive problems orienting herself upright for about two weeks, the last three days becoming really, really bad. From what I’ve read it seems that she likely has some kind of swim bladder ailment. Her tank mates are fine. Until today, she was still peppy and with good appetite, just had problems staying upright, particularly at night. She ingenuously began to find places around the tank to wedge herself at night, presumably to help ensure periods of comfortable rest? At this point she spends most of the day head-down in the corner of the tank. She is still alert, but not eating. There are ZERO aquatic vets in northern MI. The very nice gentleman at Pet Supplies told me that to give her skinned green peas for a few days. She eats them but is still declining. He then said there is a procedure that one can try to drain/empty the swim bladder—with a needle? Yikes. Is there anything else you guys can think of that may help? I don’t understand why all the rest of the fish are still fine, only she is ailing. Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated. Pics attached. She is about the size of the palm of my hand, and just a lovely, docile, interactive fish.

Emmet County Michigan

1 Response

Yes-she is not looking well. And, yes, likely a bladder disorder from a variety of possible causes. Other fish in the tank may not have the issue because it could be specific to her, whether she has a genetically lower tolerance, or is suffering from stress or another ailment that made her more vulnerable.

I am sure you have searched on-line for ways to address the problem at sites such as the one below:
https://www.thesprucepets.com/swim-bladder-disorder-in-aquarium-fish-1381230

As a former fish biologist, I could talk about what is happening to your fish physiologically, but I am not trained to provide treatment advice. However, contacting a fish veterinarian would be your next best bet. Fish veterinarians are not common in northern Michigan as you have discovered, so I searched the American Association of Fish Veterinarians and found the next closest veterinarian that may be able to help: Alissa Smitley in Portage, MI, near Kalamazoo.
https://www.fishvets.org/tools/locator/locations.asp?Srch=w

See if you can get a hold of her for help! If not, run another search at the above website for the next closest person. Good luck to you!