One of our most beloved patients, Lemon, suffered from a fancy goldfish buoyancy disorder. After correcting her congenital oral deformity, Lemon was not able to take in enough air to swim correctly. In order to improve her quality of life, she was fitted with a temporary float.
Are goldfish buoyancy disorders common?
Our office sees many buoyancy disorders, most commonly in fancy goldfish. Given their internal anatomy, it is very hard for fancy goldfish to maintain correct buoyancy throughout their lives.
My fish has the opposite problem and floats, most commonly after eating.
Being physostomous fish, goldfish have a pneumatic duct between their esophagus and swim bladder that allows for buoyancy manipulation. Vigorous surface eating can cause too much air in the swim bladder or GI tract, causing post-meal floating. Learn more about this disorder and how to prevent it.
Why don’t you make a permanent “wheelchair?”
Many online sites post pictures of goldfish with external “wheelchairs” made from airline tubing. Unfortunately, these setups debride the mucus layer and allow penetration of bacteria, causing a secondary infection. A temporary float allows a goldfish to swim to the surface and inflate their swim bladder normally, correcting the disorder.