If you see your goldfish floating kind of listlessly at the top of your tank, you probably think that it is dead. Time to flush it and get a new one right? Well, that might not be the case. Goldfish actually have this problem of floating upside more often than you would think.
While it is not a good thing by any means, it does not necessarily mean that it is the end of your aquatic friend. Let’s talk about why your goldfish is floating upside down, what causes it, what you can do about it, and what you can do to prevent it from occurring in the future.
Why Is My Goldfish Swimming Upside Down?
This is a problem that is harder to answer than it may seem. You may have seen your goldfish floating upside down at the top of the tank. While it may momentarily look like they are dead, it may not necessarily be the case.
Goldfish have been bread a certain way for the last few decades that has rendered them susceptible to both bacterial and internal organ issues, both of which can cause this odd phenomenon. You might just see your goldfish swimming and spiraling through the water uncontrollably, after which it will float to the top, upside down, and get some rest. It may then just float there for a while or try to work up the energy to attempt diving to the bottom again.
Generally speaking, this is because they have too much air in their bellies. Air is of course buoyant and lighter than water, so having too high of an air content in their stomachs will increase their buoyancy and make them float to the top. This may be caused by a variety of bacteria that can cause bloating and therefore floating.
It may also be a digestive problem in which the goldfish cannot properly digest food, the result being extreme bloating, gassiness, and that weird upside down floating thing that we are talking about here. The bottom line is that your goldfish has way too much air inside of it. It’s a like a submarine that has lost control of its ballast and can no longer dive into the water properly.
How To Help My Fish
There are a few things that you can do to try and help your goldfish recover from this. Beware that being like this for too long can cause more serious problems and even death after a prolonged period of time. One of the first things that you should do is to change the water in the tank. You should change at least 40% of the water when you notice your goldfish floating upside down. This is just because having clean and clear water is always better for recovery than dirty water, much like clean air and water is better for you than the dirtier alternatives.
Another thing that you can do is to feed your goldfish some peas. Take some frozen peas and let them thaw out. After you have done that, just peel off the thin shell of the pea and feed a few to your goldfish. If there is food and gas stuck in the stomach of your goldfish, these pea pieces will help push all of that into the intestines and then out the backside. If this does not work, your goldfish probably has a bacterial issue.
Now, bacterial issues in goldfish are notoriously hard to treat effectively. Pretty much the only thing you can do in this case is to feed them medicated foods or give them some other form of medication to get rid of the bacterial infection. You can use medication that goes into the water, but that will take much longer than digestible medications. So, if the issue is bacterial and time is of the essence, medicated foods are the way to go.
What Can I Do To Avoid & Prevent It From Happening Again?
There are also some things that you can do in order to stop this problem for reoccurring in the future. First off, try to avoid feeding your goldfish flakes and pellets. Yes, these are the cheapest and easiest foods to go with, but they cause your goldfish to swallow a lot of air with each gulp, thus bloating them and making them float all weird (more on food and feeding here).
The whole feeding them peas thing is also a good preventative measure. Just give them a few peas once or twice per week and everything should be fine. Also, in terms of bacteria, making sure there is nothing to break the skin of your fish in the tank is a good start, plus clean water helps a lot too.
The sad reality is that these treatments and preventative measures may not always be the solution. Sadly, sometimes you might just have a goldfish with genetic issues that cannot be solved. They won’t all make it and will not all recover from this issue, but you can always try your best! If you need more help looking after a goldfish then checkout our ultimate guide here.