Enhancement through knowledge

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Curing swim bladder problems

In my years of keeping arowanas, I was lucky to be blessed with healthy arowanas but this is not to say my arowanas are and will be immued to the dreaded swim bladder problem (SBP). So what exactly is SBP?

I quote from this website, SBP is any disorder that affects the swim bladder. It can be caused by either disease, physical defects or mechanical environmental. Symptoms usually include the inability to float and hence the fish would sink to the bottom and struggle to rise or swim with tail higher than the head.

D24 and Vic from Arowanaclub had written an article on how they cured a fish with swim bladder but its unfortunate that article was lost. If someone still has that, please send it to me. I have however managed to retrieve the pictures and with some research, I think I managed to figure out what the treatment was. What I am writing here is modified from their work and what I discovered on the internet.

These 2 pictures above clear showed the arowana unable to maintain its usual swimming posture, a clear indication of SBP

Arowana droppings. If the arowana is able to pass out waste, then its unlikely to be caused by constipation.


From research and comments posted on the ArowanaClub page on Facebook, Epsom salt is also used in the treatment. Epsom salt, which is also magnesium sulfate, is used as an occasional laxative to treat constipation. It can also be administered as a bath to relax sore muscles. Thus, the modified treatment is place the arowana in a separate tank and add Epsom salt and starve the arowana for 2 to 3 days. Look for evidence of the arowana passing out excrement or regain its buoyancy. If it passes out excrement, then its likely a constipation problem. Raise the temperature and if problem is resolved after 2 or 3 days, slowly increase the amount of food before returning it to the main tank.

If the arowana passed out excrement, then the problem is likely caused by bacteria or the swim bladders have been severely damaged.

The arowana was able to pass out excrement but still remained in the same position. This indicated the SBP was not caused by indigestion or constipation






Medication was injected into the food. The name of the medication was not published but I believed it must be some controlled drugs that are not easily available




After consuming the medication, the fish recovered. There was no mention of how long the treatment took





Although we do not know what was the medicine used, I suspected it is some controlled medication which was not disclosed. This medicine was able to treat the bacteria infection affecting the swim bladder. I did a search on the internet and found that Interpet has a medication for SBP. I am not sure what this medication does but I would be glad to use it if my arowana has bacteria infected SBP.

Alternatively, I would use any medication that could treat intestinal issues and treat my arowana with SBP because I believe the SBP is bacteria related and infecting the swim bladder.

Disclaimer: we are not responsible for any effects of using the above medicine or treatment. This is merely a guide and in no way are we responsible for any death or injuries that arose from adopting the treatments. 



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