View Full Version : Wrasse swimming funny - swim bladder?

12/07/2009, 12:18 PM
I'm definitely having a problem with my female christmas wrasse. Last night at around 6:00 the wrasse was swimming around, hunting, doing its normal thing. I looked at the tank after dinner (8:00) and the fish was swimming vertically (head at the surface, tail to the sand) and kind of spinning in circles. There was also what looked like a dark bruise or even a perfectly straight pinch mark running from her anus straight up to her caudal fin. Both her caudal and anal fins were clamped and her tail was ridgid, she was only able to move with her pectoral fins.

I tried to catch her to move to an isolation tank but she was always able to regain mobility and swim away. The most worrying part is she did not eat that night when I fed the tank with mysis shrimp. That night she buried herself in the sand as normal.

This morning she was out of the sand but almost laying down and breathing heavily, she did eat formula two flake food when I fed the tank this morning, but still had trouble swimming.

I read that most swim bladder issues are bacterial, but I didn't think an infection could flare up like this in less then two hours. I've never dealt with stuff like this before, is there a type of medicine I should try giving her like mayacin 2? Kanamycin? Just let her be? I have a bunch of water brewing for either a big water change or a QT tank.

12/08/2009, 12:24 PM
Update for Tuesday. There was absolutely no way I can catch her with a net, multiple times she would just bury herself under the sand if I tried too hard.

Today she was out and about again, but still swimming funny. She also no longer has the vertical "indent" on the left side of her body. It seriously looks like her entire back end is dead weight and she can only move with her pectoral fins. Wasn't able to see if she ate again this morning...

If this is a bacterial infection, can she kick it on her own? What if its just an injury? Is there anything I can do for her with her still in the tank?

Thanks for any help!

12/08/2009, 05:39 PM
Anybody think theres something I can do?

12/09/2009, 02:34 PM
I had a very similar thing happen to me 2 days ago with my male flame wrasse. I've had this wrasse for 2 months, it went through prazipro treatment and was eating EVERYTHING it could up until 2 days ago when I fed the tank, I think someone either bit him or he hit something hard.

No noticeable markings on his body, but the next morning he was laying on his side, and by that night he was dead.. :(

12/09/2009, 02:45 PM
Every story I've heard about symptoms like this have also been with wrasses. I wonder if they are more susceptible to injuries then other fish?

12/09/2009, 06:12 PM
Not positive on this but I don't think it would be swim bladder. Usually swim bladder issues occur right away.

I thought swim bladder was caused by improper decompression when fish are caught deep and brought to the surface.

12/09/2009, 07:46 PM
I had this fish for three months before any issues occured.

11/15/2011, 10:33 AM
Its been a very long time, but I thought I would give this thread an update considering I have gotten a few private messages in regards to what happened.

I now think my wrasse just acquired an injury. A week after the first symptoms appeared they just went away and a week after that she was eating and swimming normally. I was never able to catch her, she just recovered completely naturally.

I posted on my then local reef board and got some answers. Here was the best set of advice I received when I had no idea what was going on:
I would not suspect water quality an issue. So water changes will not likely help.

I would suspect an internal problem either from injury, parasite, or intestinal blockage.

Injury and blockage will be things we can't do much for. You can investigate to see if you can find any evidence of an injury source. Blockage is usually eating something the fish shouldn't like a contaminate in prepared foods, eating something off the substrate or surfaces of decorations, etc.

A parasite however can be addressed if more is known about it. If you want to assume we're talking parasite (internal worms, fluke, etc.) or pathogen (bacteria or virus) then a treatment in water with the appropriate medication is called for. Otherwise, without more information and clear, up close photos, there isn't much to say.

If you decide it's an internal parasite or want to move to treatment like it is, then moving to a quarantine tank is essential. Treatment for bacterial infections would use the antibiotics you have listed.

There are medications for flukes, and there are medications for worms. The latter is covered in this post: De-Worming and Fishes with Intestinal Problems.

Sorry I can't go much further on this without addition input.

Also, the full thread with other discussions can be found here:

I hope this helps people!

05/10/2012, 09:17 PM
i know this old thread but having similar problem with labouti wrasse he got in a fight with solarous wrasse and lost now he is swimming then rolling like a alligator death roll then goes normal. hes still eating was just wondering if this sounds the same . when i feed he goes for food then like the fainting goats just drops to floor goes weird then back normal. any info would be great . hope u still on here