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Swim bladder problem?


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  • pH: 7.5
  • Nitrates: >5.0 ppm 
  • Hardness: 180 ppm
  • Nitrite: 0.0 ppm
  • Ammonia: 0.0 ppm
  • KH/Buffer: 80 ppm 
  • Water Temperature: 76˚F 

One of my honey gouramis is having trouble swimming. He keeps sinking to the bottom and has to work very hard to swim up. He'll sit on the bottom, sometimes on his side unless he's actively swimming. But he's breathing normally, eating and pooping. 

He also has a swollen area in the part of his abdomen closer to his tail (could it be the swim bladder?). His abdomen where his stomach and intestines are is not swollen. I also notice his eyes are bulging slightly. My other gouramis are doing fine. 

Here is a link to a video of him where you can see how he's swimming and see the swollen part near his tail: 


Is this a swim bladder issue? I'm not sure what I should do. Thank you!

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It's hard to say.  Just as a general help when you're trying to ID something, the vertical video makes it really hard to see what is going on because it sends out a really low resolution. 

What I see in the video is just a really stressed out fish.   It might be trying to stay on the substrate, but the more active fish may be freaking it out.  The color on the fish looks a little pale or bland and I do see something hanging from the anus, but it's hard to see the details.

I don't have a ton of experience with gourami and their behavior.  I am unsure if they are salt sensitive or which course of action is best for this. 

To start, hold back food for at least ~5 days to see if the fish can clear whatever internally is going on.  If you can, I would move him to QT with a sponge filter and a little easier flow and see how the behavior of the fish is. I would start with aquarium salt, if safe, and catappa leaves.  By the time that is going, hopefully someone can chime in as to what you're dealing with or indications on how to move forward as well as if the salt is a good idea.

Water parameters and the setup seem fine, so it's difficult to say what is going on.

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Thanks for the tip re video orientation! I'll pick up a QT tank tomorrow after work, and I have an extra sponge filter that's cycled, so I'll use that. I was away for the long weekend so he'd already been fasted for 3 days, but unfortunately I fed him last night before I posted on here. I didn't really capture it well in the video but any time he stops actively swimming he rapidly sinks to the bottom. Also, I noticed his poop looks a bit stringy and segmented.. I'm wondering if maybe he has internal parasites and it's affecting his swim bladder? 

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