Home Problems & Solutions Can Fish Have Seizures? (Quick Read)

Can Fish Have Seizures? (Quick Read)

by gvald

Do your fish have a particular behavior? It swims on its side, it floats upside down, in most cases, it is a problem of the swim bladder, which “distorts” its balance.


It may even be a goldfish. Indeed, these are things that happen particularly often in this species of aquarium fish. So you are probably wondering if a seizure can occur in fish, it is obviously the case, since they have a brain.


What is a seizure for a fish?

Buoyancy problems are common in fish and can be caused by neurological problems (such as a stroke or seizure) or inflammation of the swim bladder. The swim bladder is a coelomic organ responsible for flotation in fish.


This phenomenon is often associated with seizure in fish, and rightly so, as the behavior is very reminiscent of cardiovascular arrest.


As soon as a pathogen affects this swim bladder (bacteria, fungus, parasite), the fish loses its equilibrium and can find itself permanently floating on the surface or constantly sinking to the bottom of the aquarium.

A precise inventory of the aquarium and of the maintenance conditions is necessary to solve this problem in the long term.


Subsequently, examinations can be performed such as an X-ray to evaluate the position of the swim bladder and the effects of the stroke. In some cases, surgery or puncture is necessary to stabilize the fish. Finally, antibiotics or antiseptics are often necessary to treat the fish. An adjustment of the aquarium parameters (proportion of plants, filtration, water renewal, presence of denitrifying bacteria) is imperative to control possible relapses.


Why is my fish swimming on its side?

Uncoordinated movements with fins pressed against its body are characteristic of a sick fish. If it swims upside down, or floats on the surface and can’t seem to get to the bottom, it has a swim bladder disorder.


How to know if my fish is having a seizure?

When a fish is ill, it may have altered swimming behavior. Some fish swim at a certain level in the aquarium, at the surface, in the middle or more towards the bottom. If you notice a change in these habits, take the time to observe it carefully.


We will give you some techniques to reduce the chance of your fish getting a seizure:

  1. Avoid bright lights (like camera flashes), as this increases the probability of having an epileptic seizure
  2. In the same way as for the light, it is strongly advised to avoid banging on the glass of the aquarium, as this also increases the probability of your fish having an epileptic seizure and therefore a stroke afterwards.
  3. Make sure your water conditioner is working properly to avoid too much chlorine in your aquarium
  4. If you absolutely must change water, pay special attention to temperature changes when your fish is transferred.


What you should do if your fish is having a seizure?

If you have reached this stage, you have to be realistic, there is not much chance that your fish will survive. But there are a few things you can do to increase its chances of survival:


First, you must not rush him, no flash of light, no “tapping” on the glass of the aquarium, and especially no change of water! Even the slightest change in temperature would be fatal.


We strongly recommend turning off all the lights in the aquarium and to cover the aquarium with a towel (so that it remains in the dark).


Finally, the only thing you can really do is to give him Melafix (or Kanaplex) to treat bacterial infections.


Why is my fish floating upside down?

Your fish tends to float up to the surface, belly up, but can easily float back down to the bottom of the aquarium? This is a swim bladder disorder, most of the time this disorder is mistaken for a seizure, it can happen, the difference between swim bladder disorder and a seizure is actually very small.


A fish that floats on the surface upside down could very well be the beginning of a stroke or seizure in the fish, so it is highly recommended that the disorder be treated and cured before the case gets worse!


Swim bladder disease in fish is one of the most common problems encountered, primarily in fish with a bulging body.


Although often referred to as a seizure, it is actually only a symptom of a disorder affecting the fish’s swim bladder. There can be a number of different causes. So it is not a specific disease, but a cause of a problem on the fish’s swim bladder!


Since it is not really a disease, swim bladder problems are not contagious. If one fish has this problem, your other fish cannot be “infected”, although they may still develop a similar problem of their own.


Fortunately, swim bladder problems can be cured fairly easily most of the time.

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