Goldfish Health Problems: Lacking Air

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Filed in Fish/Reptile, Health

Is your goldfish gasping for air? Are his gills opening and closing in a rapid fashion? If so, your goldfish could have an oxygen problem. Fresh oxygen is important to fish, just as it is to you.

Sure, your goldfish will lap up food by opening and closing his mouth, and they might even be saying hello to you, but if your fish does this behavior for a long period of time, then it's time to get him some air. Or if your goldfish is hanging out at the top of tank a little too long, your fish is probably trying to get oxygen from the air. He could also show signs of flapping his gill covers rapidly, which means he's trying to get more water through his system in order to get more oxygen.

Oxygen to the Rescue

What can be the cause for this lack of air?

The tank might be too small for your fish, especially if you're using a fishbowl instead of a standard tank, with filters, air pumps and the like. Add a few more fish to the mix of that small bowl and you've got a war for air on your hands. Fish need room to roam for health reasons, but especially for the air it provides. If your fish goes without enough oxygen for a long time, damage to its brain can occur and death will eventually follow.

A fast reaction on your part will save the day. The best way to help your fish is to get it a suitable home, a tank that has enough room for your fish to breathe. Be sure to buy a fish tank, not one meant for reptiles or amphibians, since these may not be strong enough to hold the amount of water needed for your tank. Once more space is acquired, the oxygen levels will rise.

If for some reason you can't afford a tank at the moment, and you have to keep your fish in the bowl, try lowering the water level in the bowl. Have the water level equal to the widest part of the bowl. This will raise the surface area temporarily. Temporarily being the operative word here, since you'll need to eventually get a larger tank, one suited to your fish. If you don't want to get a tank, you might think about getting your fish a new home before it's too late. The good news is once you get a larger tank, you can get that fish some buddies.

Other Problems

If your fish has the above symptoms and is living in an already large container, then your fish might have a disease. Read our list of Common Goldfish Afflictions. And call your Vet for help as well.

Ian M. Stewart is the Senior Writer and Editor at Pet Food Express.com. He lives with his wife, two cats and dog in Oakland, Ca.

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