What is Swim bladder disease in angelfish?

In this article we will discuss swim bladder disease in angelfish.We will also discuss reasons,symptoms,treatments and other things to cure swim bladder disease in angelfish. 


In this blog

  • What is Swim bladder disease in angelfish?
  • What is a swim bladder organ and where it is located in the body of the fish?
  • What is a swim bladder disorder?
  • What are the symptoms of swim bladder disease in angelfish?
  • Swim bladder disorder treatment
  • How to avoid swim bladder disease in angelfish?
  • What can be fed to an angelfish with swim bladder disease?
  • What are the signs of a happy and unhappy angelfish?
  • Is swim bladder disease a contagious condition in angelfish?
  • Summary
  • Frequently asked questions

What is Swim bladder disease in angelfish?

There are several reason which can cause swim bladder disease in angelfish:

  • Stomach protrude inwards or distended stomach
  • Overeating or overfeeding or rapid eating
  • Constipation or hard or lumpy stool 
  • Gulping air on the water surface,due to the lack of dissolved oxygen in their tank
  • Swim bladder compression.

What is a swim bladder organ and where it is located in the body of the fish?

Swim bladder organs also known as air bladder,glass bladder,or fish maw is an internal organ filled with gas,and helps bony fish to maintain buoyancy.

It helps fish to swim in depths without wasting their energy.It is also known as a resonating chamber to produce sounds.

Swim bladder organs are outpocketing of a digestive tube.It is present in the dorsal region of the fish and is flexible in nature,it contracts and expands according to ambient pressures.

What is a swim bladder disorder?

Swim bladder disease could be temporary or permanent,the cause totally depends on different factors.

This disorder will cause your angelfish to lose control of buoyancy and suffer severe stress due to an unbalanced body.

This could be fatal,if not treated on time but sometimes lifestyle modification can also save your fish from such disorders.

What are the symptoms of swim bladder disease in angelfish?

There are various symptoms which indicates swim bladder disease in angelfish:

  • Pressure fluctuations
  • Swimming abnormalities/swimming discomforts
  • Wiggling back and forth
  • Body balancing issues
  • Floating on the surface or sink in the bottom 
  • Look sluggish,energy less and don’t interact much.
  • Lose interest in eating and their favorite food too.
  • Isolate themselves or hide away in their hiding spots.
  • Nose down,tail upwards
  • Sometimes tail get cropped inwards
  • Hard to keep up with the water currents

Swim bladder disorder treatment

  • Swim bladder disease could be permanent or temperory.As such any particular treatments are not available.
  • A temporary swim bladder disease can go away with some lifestyle modifications.
  • Whereas the permanent swim bladder disease is not so easy to treat.If it gets severe then your angelfish will either need to be euthanized or they will only die off due to such severe conditions.
  • If aquarium lights are a source of stress in them then kindly turn off the lights for sometime to help them recover from swim bladder problems.
  • If they are stressed about any particular source in their aquarium,then that should be removed.

Epsom salt treatment for swim bladder disease in angelfish

  • Epsom salts also known as magnesium sulfate.It is added to freshwater aquariums to change the water conditions.
  • Epsom salts not only treat swim bladder disease but also treat constipation  and dropsy in angelfish.
  • There is no similarity between epsom salts and aquarium salts.
  • The water treated with epsom salts helps angelfish to eliminate waste from their bodies.
  • Epsoms reduce bloating and swelling too.
  • Water reduction will allow angelfish to return to their normal state.
  • One to two cups of epsom salts should be mixed with a tablespoon of olive oil in a standard tub.This mix is then added to a running warm water to enhance the dissolving process.Let it soak for some 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Or else mix one tablespoon of epsom salt with half gallon conditioned water.Then you can replace the aquarium water with the epsom salt conditioned water.
  • Then put the angelfish inside the tank for 15 minutes to clear constipation.
  • Keep monitoring them and if they recover well and swim properly then you can remove them from epsom salt treatment.
  • If they don’t move and remain in the same place then don’t remove them from the treated tank.
  • Epsom salt bath should be given twice to a severely ill angelfish.
  • Epsom salt bath should be given once to a mildly severe angelfish.
  • Epsom salts or magnesium sulfate can be used as a laxative too.

Hospital tank for angelfish

  • Always keep your angelfish in a separate hospital or quarantine tanks for at least 4-6 weeks until they recover from swim bladder disease.
  • Maintain the hospital tanks exactly like their main tanks & equipping it with all the important tank equipment and accessories to provide the right conditions for their treatment.
  • Aquarium heaters and filters are mandatory along with some aquatic plants to enhance the treatment.
  • You should use quarantine medicine like melafix to cure them.
  • Always monitor the angelfish for their stools.

Interpet swim bladder disease in angelfish

  • It is a very effective treatment for swim bladder disease
  • A kind of water treatment to cure bacterial swim bladder disease.
  • This treatment is available online and in pet stores to cure.
  • This treatment plus will kill the bacteria which is responsible for swim bladder disease 
  • It will reverse the angelfish condition to normal from swim bladder dysfunctionality.
  • You can check the product properly and read the product manual to know about the dosage requirements. 

How to avoid swim bladder disease in angelfish?

Maininating the right water parameters:

Water parameters for angelfish:

  • Water type- They are freshwater species
  • Water temperature – 75-86F(warm water) will keep them happy.
  • Breeding temperature-Suitable breeding temperature is 80-82F
  • Water pH-6.8-7.8 (acidic)
  • Degree of water hardness-3-8 dKH
  • Water movement-They prefer slower water currents in their tanks.
  • 15-20 % water changes should be done once every two weeks.
  • Keeping their aquarium free from chlorine, nitrite,nitrate and ammonia as they are very sensitive to poor water conditions.
  • Washing filters every week with the same aquarium water and a good quality scrub will do the needful.
  • Keeping the aquarium clean always.

Avoiding overfeeding angelfish

Overfeeding should be avoided at any cost,as it causes constipation and indigestion in angelfish.Feeding frequency and amount of food should be kept in consideration.

  • Overfeeding can increase their body weight.
  • Younger angelfish 3 to 4 times a day
  • Adult angelfish should be fed twice a day
  • Check the food expiry dates before giving them.

Feeding quality food to angelfish

  • TetraMin plus tropical flakes fish food 
  • Aqueon tropical flakes freshwater fish food 
  • Tetra bloodworms freeze-dried fish food 
  • API fish food flakes
  • Fluval bug bites granules
  • Hikari first bites

What can be fed to an angelfish with swim bladder disease?

Like any other aquarium fish suffering from swim bladder disease,angelfish can also be fed frozen peas.

The peas are a great debloater and also acts as a natural laxative that cleans the angels digestive system and also restores them to work normally.This will heal their bloating a little faster.

But keep in mind if your angels are not accepting flake food then they won’t accept peas too.If you are giving them peas then before that kindly don’t feed flake food to them.

For that day make sure apart from peas you are not feeding them anything and its digestive system has nothing but just peas.

The frozen peas should be defrosted or thawed in a microwave or boiled for some seconds by maintaining their consistency and properly peeled before feeding them.

Peeling is important because it will be harder for angels to digest them.Give 4-5 peas to them.You can drop or hand fed those peas to angels.

What are the signs of a happy and unhappy angelfish?

Happy angelfishUnhappy angelfish
Hearty appetiteSwim actively,back and forthNo signs of diseaseFlared out finsNormal breathingLook absolutely vibrant Lose appetiteDon’t swim properly,lose balance or side ways.Will get many infectionsClamped finsLabored breathing Looks dull and sluggish

Is swim bladder disease a contagious condition in angelfish?

It is not clear if swim bladder disease is contagious or not,but if it is due to some shock,stress or some internal stimuli then it can’t be contagious.

But if it is caused due to infections,especially bacterial and parasitic infections then definitely it can spread to other tank mates too,if they are not separated on time to a hospital or quarantine tank.

It is very important to build a hospital tank to cure swim bladder disease,irrespective of its contagiousness.


  • It becomes difficult for angelfish to swim properly with swim bladder disease.
  • Most fish have either one or two chambered swim bladders that just sit on their vertebral column.This gives them neutral buoyancy and being able to stay in the middle of a column of water.
  • If the angels have too much air in their bladder,they become positively buoyant and float at the surface of the water.
  • A negatively buoyant angel will be seen sinking at the bottom of the tank.
  • Give your angels a sinking diet,as this will help them to avoid gasping air at the water surface.
  • Make sure the water chemistry is proper for your angels,as it is one of the major reasons for such disorders.
  • Always monitor their water chemistry and keep the levels of ammonia and other organic pollutants in check.
  • Fast them for 3 days,as it removes the blockages from the digestive system 

Frequently asked questions

What is the fastest way to treat swim bladder disorder in angelfish?

The fastest way is to avoid feeding your angelfish for three consecutive days and by increasing the aquarium water temperature and wait for the fish to revert their condition to a normal state.

How to remove air from an angelfish swim bladder?

This will be done with the help of a fish veterinarian,they will remove air by sticking a needle attached to a syringe into their swim bladder,until they don’t return to their normal state,i.e maintain neutral buoyancy.

Are canned peas better or fresh peas?

Canned or frozen peas contain lots of preservatives and sodium while fresh peas come with pesticides.Choice is yours.

Is there any alternative to peas for debloating?

Daphnia is an alternative to peas and has the same laxative effects but it is not easily accessible,so mostly peas are used to debloat.