My fish is bloated. What should I do?
If your fish has a swollen abdomen, it could be caused by several things. Run down this checklist to see which disease your fish may have:
- Obesity: If you are overfeeding your fish, it may be overweight. In this case, fast the fish for 3-7 days and then decrease its food portion size.
- Constipation: If the fish is unable to pass any waste, its digestive system becomes backed up with food. Stop feeding the fish for 3-7 days and then feed it high-quality fish food with lots of roughage, such as frozen daphnia, frozen cyclops, baby brine shrimp, and peas.
- Full of eggs: If your fish is female and otherwise seemingly healthy, she may just be full of eggs or babies and will soon release them when ready.
- Full of worms: If your fish has red worms coming out of its anus, it may have a belly full of camallanus worms. Purchase Fritz Expel-P or another fish medication that contains levamisole or fenbendazole. If your fish has another type of internal parasite, try using Fritz ParaCleanse instead.
- Malawi bloat: Certain African cichlids require a diet high in vegetation. If they are fed too much protein or fats, they can become bloated, so research the proper foods they need to eat.
- Bacterial infection: Treat the fish an antibiotic like Maracyn or aquarium salt. (See this article for salt treatment instructions.) Give the fish lots of clean water, high-quality foods, and a stress-free environment to recover.
- Dropsy: This symptom is seen in fish with scales that stick out like a pine cone because their abdomen is filled with fluid from organ failure or infection. The survival rate is very low, but you can try treating with antibiotics and/or salt like the instructions in the previous bullet point.
For more information, read our article on how to treat sick aquarium fish.