Home Page

Plant Doctor Archive

Water Gardens — Dizzy fish

At the start of last winter, I noticed that some of my fish seemed to lose their balance - they either lay listlessly at the surface or did flip flops in the water. What causes this?


This is a swim bladder disorder and can be caused by a number of things. The most likely cause is cooling temperatures and the best thing to do is nothing. It will almost certainly cure itself in a few weeks.

Other causes are constipation, genetic disorders, physical damage and, in rare cases, bacterial infections of the gut. Whatever the original cause, the swim bladder, which is a small organ filled with gas that fish use to maintain their balance in the water, is pressured and damaged. It is also quite common in spring and is rarely fatal, although your fish will look funny swimming at angles for a while.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 86, 2001, Page 22

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

Home | Journal | Newsletter | Conferences
Awards | Join RNZIH | RNZIH Directory | Links

© 2000–2022 Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture
Last updated: June 30, 2005