How to Treat Swim Bladder Disorder In Guppies

Swim bladder disorder is not one particular ailment, and it is the compilation of diseases affecting the bladder.

This disorder affects every guppy species, including bettas and goldfish.

How to Treat Swim Bladder Disorder In Guppies?

Epsom salt will help cure swim bladder disease in guppies as it reduces the swelling of the fish and helps to kill bad bacteria in the water and guppy.

How to Treat Swim Bladder Disorder In Guppies

How to Treat Swim Bladder Disorder In Guppies?

If your guppy is suffering with swim bladder disorder you will need to stop feeding them for 2 days and also increase the temperature of the water to 78 – 80 degrees fahrenheit.

Raising the temperature will help to kill any infections the guppy might have.  To raise the temperature of the water you will need an aquarium heater (Available on Amazon)

On the third day you should feed your guppies medicated fish food (Available on amazon) twice a day with enough food that they can eat for no longer than two minutes.

It is also a good idea to feed the guppies food that is high in fiber as this will help their digestion system. I recommend to feed them peas that have been boiled and cooled down.

Another thing you can do is add aquarium salt (Available on amazon) to the water as this will help the guppy to recover.

Guppy Swim Bladder Symptoms

The main symptoms you should look out for are

  • Buoyancy Issues
  • Constantly Swimming at Bottom of Tank
  • Guppy swimming upside down
  • Guppy swimming sideways
  • Having Issues Balancing
  • Protruded Belly
  • Bent Spine
  • Not Eating
  • Guppy having trouble swimming

Guppies suffering from this disorder show lapses related to buoyancy. You will see them finding it difficult to swim out of the bottom of the tank. Some stay on the water and find it strenuous to swim around, but generally, you will notice they have issues maintaining balance in the aquarium.

If you check any affected guppy physically, you will discover protruded belly, bent spine, loss of appetite, affected guppy stay at the surface, or bottom of the aquarium.

The below video shows you the symptoms of swim bladder in guppies

YouTube video

Causes of Swim Bladder Disorder in Guppies

Research shows it is caused when the bladder shrinks as a result of gulping air, bulged stomach from excessive eating frozen flakes, and the likes can lead to this deadly disorder, which also affects the intestinal tract. Below are other causes of a swim bladder disorder.

Guppies prefer warm and moderate water; they dislike chilly water because it makes their gastrointestinal tract swollen, which pressurize the swim bladder.

This ailment can shut down the entire fish system if urgent steps to cure it is not taken. Whenever there are cysts around the kidney and fat residue in the liver, the fish is at the risk of developing swim bladder disorder.

Bacteria or parasites infection often leads to a swimming bladder disorder. It is not also advisable to throw your guppy into the aquarium because that simple exercise can affect the bladder.

There is a school of thought that swim bladder disorder is hereditary though it has not been scientifically proven. However, affected guppy usually exhibits these symptoms in their early stages, and this is why it is good to watch your pet closely.

Can Guppies Die From Swim Bladder Disease?

If swim bladder disease in your guppy goes
untreated it can lead to the death of your guppy.  This is rarely the case as guppies can also live with permanent swim bladder disease.

If your guppy has permanent swim bladder disease they can still live a full life but they will have many limitations such as feeding.  They will not be able to eat food as fast as they once did which means they might get less food if kepts with other guppies.

You might need to hand feed your guppy if they are having issues to eat food.

Your guppy will have buoyancy issues and this could cause them to lay on the aquariums floor more than normal, If this is the case you need to make sure the substrate in the tank is cleaned frequently.

How Does Epsom Salt Cure Swim Bladder In Guppies?

Epsom salt will help cure swim bladder disease in guppies as it reduces the swelling of the fish and helps to kill bad bacteria in the water and guppy.

The salt also promotes fish healing by calming them down and reducing the stress they are under.

The epsom salt also improves the guppies gill function which will make it easier for them to breathe.

Will Swim Bladder Disease In My Guppy Cure By Itself?

Swim bladder disease will rarely be cured by itself. You will need to identify the root cause of the disease and then treat the disease.


Other treatments include the addition of salt to the aquarium; this disorder renders guppies motionless. This is why you should reduce the water in the aquarium for them to move around and introduce a stress coat to the sore part of the affected guppy.

There is no straightforward treatment to this disorder, you need to tackle it as it comes. Fish with protruding belly sue to swim bladder disorder should not be fed for 24 to 48 hours while the temperature of the aquarium water should be raised to 80 degrees Fahrenheit within the 48 hours the treatment will last.

Moreover, you need to avoid flake feeds or any floating feeds when your guppy is diagnosed with a bladder disorder. Start feeding your guppies with peas from the fourth day, you can boil or microwave the pea, then remove the chaff and feed affected fish the peas. Feed them with this once daily alongside other foods apart from the pellet.


Hello, I'm Jason. I'm the guy behind I volunteer at my local fish shop and I created this site to offer tips and advice on the fish I care for.