Why Does A Goldfish Swim Belly Up

Why Does A Goldfish Swim Belly Up

Goldfish. very beautiful, graceful and also unpretentious inhabitants of home aquariums. However, many novice aquarists may encounter such a problem when a goldfish swims belly up. Such a condition can be triggered by a variety of causes and factors, ranging from improper care and maintenance, ending with any diseases. Why does the fish float to the surface of the aquarium, breathe heavily and swim up belly?

Possible reasons

If yesterday, goldfish felt fine, and today they roll back, swim belly up or lie at the bottom of the aquarium, it is very important to establish the root cause of this behavior.

Important! Some aquarists believe that by eating dry food, the fish swallows air, which leads to a violation of coordination of movements. But this is an absolutely wrong proposition.

If a goldfish swims up the belly, as a rule, the main cause of this condition lies in a viral, parasitic, or bacterial disease.

  • obesity;
  • swim bladder disease;
  • the presence of a foreign body in the digestive tract;
  • oxygen starvation (hypoxia);
  • gas embolism;
  • congenital abnormalities, genetic abnormalities;
  • severe stress;
  • unbalanced parameters of the aquatic environment;
  • infectious, parasitic diseases.

Goldfish are quite voracious creatures, and if you feed them too often, the pets are disturbed by metabolic processes, banal obesity develops. A similar condition can also be triggered by a uniform diet, in which food with a high protein state (bloodworm, pipeker) prevails. Goldfish are representatives of the carp. They have no stomach, so there are no enzymes that break down animal proteins. The main diet of small and adult fish. plant food.

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With obesity in fish, the liver increases, which squeezes the swim bladder, which leads to impaired coordination of movements.

Why Does A Goldfish Swim Belly Up

If the fish has become inactive, hiding in the secluded corners of the aquarium, algae or decorative elements, it is likely that she suffered a lot of stress, which can also provoke a violation of swimming functions. Such behavior can also be in the first days after placing the fish in the aquarium. As a rule, after a period of adaptation, the condition of the fish is normalized.

Swimming Bladder Disease

If a goldfish swims up its belly, on its side or stays close to the bottom, the movement disorder causes pathologies and swim bladder diseases, which cause a malfunction. Loss of control over buoyancy can be associated with injury, birth defects, gas accumulation in the intestines, or certain diseases (Malawi edema, neoplasms).

  • the fish swims like a "float", often floats to the upper layers of the water in the aquarium;
  • lack of coordination of movements;
  • enlarged abdomen;
  • rachiocampsis.

Why Does A Goldfish Swim Belly Up

In sick fish during swimming, the tail fin rises above the level of the head. The fish becomes inactive. It lies on the bottom, floating on its side or up belly. Perhaps a decrease or complete lack of appetite.

With a decrease in the temperature of the aquatic environment, the load on the swim bladder increases due to a slowdown in digestion and metabolism in the body of the fish. Often, squeezing of the bladder occurs due to an increase in other internal organs. Cysts in the kidneys, fatty deposits in the liver, the impossibility of spawning for females are frequent causes of pressure on the swim bladder.

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Parasites, viral-bacterial infection can provoke inflammation of the swim bladder, which also leads to disruption of its functioning.


If a goldfish swims up its belly, and all the symptoms indicate a swim bladder disease, consult with a veterinarian, ichthyologist regarding treatment.

First of all, 2-3 days soak fish on a hungry diet. On the fourth day, feed the pet with cooked and peeled peas.

Warm up the water in the aquarium to 26–27 degrees to make it easier for the fish to reach the upper layers. Lower the water level in the tank that contains the pet.

If the fish is constantly pushed to the surface, a part of its body is exposed to the open air, a special conditioner (Stress Coat) can be added to the water, which replaces the secretion of protective mucus on the body of the fish.

If all else fails, the treatment is performed with broad-spectrum antibiotics. The dosage and drugs will pick up a veterinarian.

Foreign bodies

Goldfish love to dig in the sand, gravel in search of food, so they often swallow small pebbles. If the fish swims upside down, most likely, a third-party object is stuck in the throat, and if the belly upwards. in the intestine. In this case, you need to catch the sick fish and conduct its inspection. Foreign body can be gently removed from the throat with tweezers.

If a goldfish swims up the belly, there are visible growths, sores, white dots on the body, in case of discoloration, we recommend that you contact your veterinarian. It is possible that the fish is sick parasitic, fungal, viral disease.

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First of all, deposit the infected fish in a separate container. Some fish diseases are incurable, characterized by a rapid course, high mortality. At the same time, if you know the characteristic symptoms of the main pathologies of fish and begin timely treatment, the prognosis is in most cases favorable.


To avoid the development of pathologies and diseases, it is necessary to systematically monitor and measure water parameters. The temperature of the aquatic environment should not fall or rise above 23-25 ​​degrees.

Feed your pets high-quality, balanced food. Use dry food that is intended for goldfish. Supplement the diet with herbal supplements. Once a week you can arrange a fasting day.

Why Does A Goldfish Swim Belly Up

Do not overfeed, which can cause obesity. Gravel on the bottom should not be fine. Siphon periodically and clean the bottom of food debris. Aeration in the aquarium should be around the clock.

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