Swim Bladder Disease Cure for Fish in Ponds

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Fish ponds are pleasing, decorative additions to the yard or garden. Many people choose to fill their ponds with flowers and plants, as well as numerous fish. But any aquatic environment can present challenges for the fish. Swim bladder disease is a dramatic but treatable condition for pond fish.

Swim Bladder

The swim bladder is an organ in a fish's abdomen. The empty bladder fills with air and empties when necessary to give and take away buoyancy. This helps the fish control its body while swimming and helps the fish move to the surface or to greater depths.

Swim Bladder Disease

Swim bladder disease occurs when the bladder incurs some sort of damage. There are several possible causes for this damage: trauma from an attack, running into a rock or wall, poor diet, virus, bacteria, genetics and poor water quality.


The most obvious symptom of swim bladder disease is erratic, uncontrolled swimming. This may be as simple as a lack of coordination while swimming, or as serious as floating at the surface. A fish with a dysfunctional swim bladder may also lay on the bottom of the pond, unable to rise. There is a chance its abdomen will swell, though this is not always the case.


The immediate treatment for swim bladder disease is an altered diet. Fish owners should move the fish onto a high-quality gel, live or frozen diet. These foods are more nutritious and easier to digest than standard flake food. Improved water quality also helps a fish recover from bladder disease. According to NetPets, feeding fish peas may also improve its chances of recovery because peas are a good source of fibre and seem to break up any impaction in the area.


If a pond fish has swim bladder disease, the best option is to separate it from other fish and the pond environment. If the disease is caused by a virus or bacteria, this keeps it from spreading to other fish. If the fish in question was the subject of abuse, this also gives the fish time to heal and gives the fish owner the best chance at controlling water quality during the fish's recovery.