What To Do If My Fish Is Bloated And Moving Upside Down

What To Do If My Fish Is Bloated And Moving Upside Down

April 26, 2011 | Fish Health | Leave a Comment |

The owner should first observe the fishes to see if it is too sick so that it has to be euthanized. Still, in most cases, the ailment is very simple to treat.

My Fish is Bloated

  • Not all causes of bloating are lethal and very serious. Most of the time, bloating is simply caused by overfeeding and swim bladder disorders.
  • Out in the wild, fish stock up on food by eating food when it is available since there is no way of knowing when the next meal will arrive.

    This also applies to fishes in the tank/aquarium. That is the reason why fishes can easily become bloated due to overfeeding.

  • Dropsy is one of the serious ailments that can affect fish and could cause bloating. It is caused by bacterial infection and causes kidney failure.

My Fish is Bloated and Upside Down

  • Swim bladder disorder is the simplest reason why the fish is bloated and could be floating or swimming upside down. If the swim bladder is filled with too much gas, the fish loses its balance and turns upside down.
  • Constipation is also another culprit. If the fish is eating too much starchy food, then constipation is often inevitable.

What to Do

  • When the exact cause is determined, the correct treatment can be provided.
  • For bacterial infections and constipation, aquarium salt or Epsom salt can help provide treatment.
  • Antibiotics are also great options to treat a variety of bacterial diseases.
  • Adding green vegetables and using pellet foods will help solve constipation and swim bladder disorder.
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If the constipation is left untreated, it can lead to complications and other diseases, even fish death.

To say that overfeeding the fish is the sole cause of constipation will be disregarding other factors that can potentially lead to constipation.

Constipated Fish Warning Signs


  • Bloating
  • Stringy, trailing feces
  • With chronic constipation, the fish will become lethargic.
  • Loss of appetite is also an indicator of fish constipation.


  • Constipation is largely caused by feeding the fish a diet that is deficient in dietary fiber, which allows for the normal functioning of the digestive processes.
  • Fish fed a diet composed solely of pellets or flakes lack the dietary fibers needed to push out the feces from its digestive tract.
  • Dried foods can also cause constipation.
  • The lack of physical exercise in fish–especially for those confined in small tanks–can cause constipation.

Constipated Fish Treatment

  • A change in the fish’s diet is in order.
  • A fish that has constipation should be fed fiber-rich foods that encourage proper functioning of its digestive processes.
  • Tinned peas are known to cure constipation in fish.
  • Peas can be fed whole for larger species or mashed for smaller types of fish.
  • Chitinous live foods are also good for fish’s digestion and can alleviate constipation.
  • Fish that is kept in closed quarters should be transferred to a bigger tank where it can swim about.
  • Epsom salt has mild muscle-relaxant properties.
  • Depending on the severity of constipation, 1-3 teaspoons of Epsom salt is added to 5 gallons of water for use as treatment for moderate to severe cases of fish constipation.

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