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Thread: Unusual Swim Bladder Problem?

  1. #1
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Unusual Swim Bladder Problem?

    I have a large, 13 year old koi that has developed a swim bladder problem... or, at least, I think that is what it is. I have had a couple of koi with swim bladder problems over the years. They had difficulty swimming and would spend long periods at the bottom of the pond. Postings on various boards over the years have described koi with those same symptoms. My koi is exhibiting the opposite. She has difficulty swimming, but is spending her time at the surface with her back exposed to the air. When disturbed, it takes some real effort to swim downward. In a few minutes, she is back at the surface. She is eating well, despite having to exert herself to get to the bottom of the pond to reach the sinking food I feed. It seems she has an 'over-inflated' air bladder and has lost the ability to regulate her buoyancy. That's just my guess, of course. It is fairly common with swim bladder problems that the koi develops belly sores from resting on the pond bottom and eventually dies from abdominal infection spreading through the body. It would seem that my koi has low risk of that scenario, but I expect there will be other consequences. Since she does not seem to be in distress, I am just letting her be. I have seen swim bladder problems resolve on their own and will hope that occurs with her, but expect her life span is much shortened.

  2. #2
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    At 14 years she passed away this morning. She spent last Summer at the surface, developing a terrible appearance along her back from too much sun and air exposure. If the pond was not well-shaded, I expect it would have been worse. She lost weight, but could make herself move to food sufficient to not become emaciated. She remained a relatively bulky koi, just not as much as was her norm. There were times I thought about euthanizing her, but her will to survive held me back. In late Fall, when water temperatures lowered, she re-gained control of her swimming. By December her back had recovered and she re-gained weight. About four weeks ago, the problem returned and she was once more at the surface with her back exposed to the air. I attribute it the water warming after the hottest February on record, but cannot say that is the reason. When we had a chilly period a couple of weeks ago, she partially regained control, but the past few days had not moved from her spot at the edge of the pond, with her back exposed. This morning just after dawn, she was belly up, but alive. I left her alone. A couple of hours later, she died. In death she measured 97cm. Quite a grand Kohaku when young and impressive due to her size when past her prime. There were no areas of redness on the body, no signs of any infection, no bloodshot fins. I had expected she would not make it through another Summer, so it was not altogether unexpected. However, I would have expected to see some indications of an infection.

    I have posted about the experience with this unusual form of swim bladder malfunction for whatever benefit may come of it. There is always something to be learned from unusual occurrences, although we may not know quite what until much later.

  3. #3
    Jumbo Appliance Guy's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear Mike.

  4. #4
    Sansai Reza's Avatar
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    So Sad, these days I'm getting such this news, I'm Sorry for you and the other friends.

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