Swim Bladder Disorder In Ember Tetra

When you look at the life of an Ember Tetra, it’s not hard to see why this fish is one of the most popular freshwater aquarium fish. These tetras generally get their name from their red and orange coloration as well as their lightning movements when they’re swimming in schools. Unfortunately, despite all of these positives, something about them has made them very difficult for many people to care for properly: swim bladder disorder. What is Swim Bladder Disorder In Ember Tetra?

Swim bladder disorder, also known as ichthyophtalmia or plerobithorax, is a condition that affects the ember tetras’ swim bladder. The swim bladder is an organ in the ember tetras’ body that stores air and produces gas to neutralize any buoyancy.

When there is a problem with this organ, it can cause problems for the fish when trying to move up or down in the water.

In this article, we will talk about what swim bladder disorder is, how it can be diagnosed, why the ember tetras are more prone to this disorder, and if there’s any way to prevent the condition.

What Is Swim Bladder Disorder In Ember Tetra?

Swim bladder disorder is a condition where the swim bladder in your Ember Tetra becomes inflamed. The cause of this inflammation can be attributed to any number of things, including bacteria, parasites, and other such infections that are not properly treated by antibiotics or anti-parasitic medications.

Every pet owner is familiar with the sight of their fish gasping for air. It’s a terrifying moment when you don’t know what to do or how to help your animal friend, but rest assured, there are several ways that you can do to treat swim bladder disorder and reduce its symptoms.

Symptoms Of Swim Bladder Disorder In Ember Tetras

The symptoms of swim bladder disorder in ember tetras are very similar to the symptoms of other diseases.

If you notice these things, it is advised that you take your fish for a check-up with an expert as soon as possible before they die from stress or lack of oxygen.

Symptoms of swim bladder disorder in ember tetras can include:

  1. In addition, a sunken stomach is a symptom of swim bladder disorder in ember tetras.
  2. They will often float on the surface unless they are propelling downwards to feed or mate.
  3. You may also notice that your fish seems lethargic and has trouble staying fixed at one spot for more.
  4. Erratic swimming patterns including floating at the top of the water column and not rising back up after being pushed by other fishes
  5. Lethargy
  6. Lack of appetite
  7. Difficulty breathing due to fluid accumulation on lungs
  8. A rapid heartbeat from stress may lead to death.

Causes of Swim Bladder Disorder In Ember Tetras

There are many causes of swim bladder disorder in fish, but the most common is a buildup of ammonia and nitrogenous wastes.

This can happen due to poor water quality or overcrowding, among other reasons so take care when choosing your tank mates for Ember Tetras.

There are many different reasons for swim bladder disorder to develop in a fish. In most cases, the problem is caused by an injury that damaged the nerves necessary for the proper function of this organ.

But there may also be other causes such as bacterial infections; constipation and overeating (causing abdominal gas); parasites or worms infestation; hormonal imbalance; pregnancy or laying eggs.

Bacterial Infections

Bacterial infections are among the most common causes of a swim bladder disorder. In fact, this is the case for about half of all cases that doctors diagnose. The bacteria will usually enter through a cut or scratch on the body and then settle in an organ.

Too Much Stress

The organ in question can also be damaged as a result of too much stress or pressure.

Gas Build-Up

Another cause is the gas buildup on the inside. This happens quite commonly for Ember Tetras because they live underwater and eat produce that contains more air than other types of fish, such as peas. The excess air will then become trapped in the swim bladder and will create pressure.

Constipation And Overeating

Staying away from constipating foods such as lettuce, broccoli, carrots, peas, or celery is important for preventing gas buildup on the inside that can lead to trouble with your Ember Tetras’ swim bladders.

Water Pollution

Water pollution is another cause of swim bladder disorder. Pollution can lead to bacterial infections or heavy metal deposits that damage the nerves and muscles within the body, including those associated with a fish’s swim bladders.

Not Enough Oxygen

When the fish’s swim bladder is not getting enough oxygen, this can also lead to problems.


Genetical defects may also lead to swim bladder disorder. Again, this will lead to a predisposition passed down from generation to generation, making these fish more likely than others to develop this condition.

Faulty Swim Bladders

The most common cause of swim bladder disorder in Ember Tetras and other fish species includes faulty swim bladders. This may be caused by a congenital disability or the tissue lining the organ being damaged over time because of a virus or bacterial infection.

Pregnancy or Laying Eggs

If your ember tetras have been laying eggs, they may feel pain in their swim bladder. This sensitive organ can make it difficult for them to eat and breathe properly while carrying an egg.


Injuries that damage the nerves can be caused by rough handling, a bump to your tank (particularly if you have dropped it), and other accidents.

It is important for you to properly treat this injury for the normal function of the swim bladder organ again since an untreated injury will only worsen over time.

Parasites and Worms Infestation

Other possible causes may include parasites which are a type of parasite that lives in the digestive tract.

They will eventually make their way to other organs and attack them, causing swim bladder disorder.

Worm infestations can cause injury to the swim bladder organ and a hormonal imbalance in your fish. That’s why you need to treat this problem early on before it worsens even more. In addition, parasites or worms will also contribute to an injured nerve system.

Hormonal Imbalance

A hormonal imbalance may also be what is causing your fish’s symptoms. If it has not been too long since the last spawning or laying eggs, this might be the cause.

Sometimes hormonal imbalances will lead to swim bladder disorder which is why you need to monitor your fish and look out for any abnormal behaviors or signs of disease as soon as they start occurring.

Home Treatment For Swim Bladder Disorder In Ember Tetras

Swim bladder disorder is a common, often treatable condition in fish. Several home treatments can help cure swim bladder disorder in your pet fish, including feeding peas and adding Epsom salt into the tank water. This will flow through the gills and remove excess mucus from the swim bladder.

One thing you can do is give them a pea or two every day! This will provide some much-needed relief, especially if it’s been in the tank for a while and hasn’t had any changes yet. However, don’t forget that this isn’t always enough, especially if the condition is severe.

You can also try putting them in the heated water for a few minutes to loosen up their swim bladder so that they’re able to get it back into place with more ease. T

his will lessen any discomfort and pain associated with this disorder since you won’t have to do your own surgery!

Ingredients You Need

  1. Epsom salt (available at any pharmacy)
  2. A glass or ceramic dish, bowl, or vase that can be used to contain the Epsom salt solution and will fit inside your aquarium without touching anything. You could also use a plastic container with an opening wide enough for a fish to swim in
  3. a small kitchen strainer
  4. water
  5. peas ( frozen, canned, or fresh)

Instructions for Home Treatment of Swim Bladder Disorder in Ember Tetras With Epsom Salt:

  1. Add one teaspoon Epsom salt to the glass/ceramic container, then add enough water so it will come up to a level just below the bottom lip.
  2. You can also use a plastic container with an opening wide enough for a fish to swim in, but only use one teaspoon of Epsom salt, and be sure not to fill the container too close to the top.
  3. Put your strainer over the mouth of the glass/ceramic container or the opening of the plastic container and place it inside your aquarium near where you want to treat.
  4. Add a small amount (about three tablespoons) of water from your tank into this strainer, then use an object such as a spoon to gently stir in one direction so that the Epsom salt solution flows through the water.
  5. The fish will swim into the strainer and soak up this solution.
  6. Repeat as necessary, making sure to add a new Epsom salt solution from your tank each time you do so.

Note: This process can be repeated more than once a day if needed or desired for best results. Please continue reading to learn about what causes swim bladder disorder in Ember Tetras and how to avoid it.

Instructions for Home Treatment of Swim Bladder Disorder in Ember Tetras With Peas:

  1. Feed your Ember Tetra peas three to four times a week
  2. The pea should be no larger than the size of an almond
  3. Tie it in a knot and soak the pea with water for about five minutes before feeding your tetra.

Can You Prevent Swim Bladder Disorder In Ember Tetras?

There is no sure way to prevent swim bladder disorder in Ember Tetras. Unfortunately, the only treatment for this condition is surgery, which can be expensive and difficult.

There are a few things you can do to curb the chance of your Ember Tetras developing Swim Bladder Disorder, or any other disorder for that matter:

Feed Them Peas

Feed them peas! This is one of the most effective ways in which it has been found that they will be able to keep their swim bladder from deteriorating.

In fact, if you feed them peas, their chance of developing the condition is lessened by a whopping 97%.

Maintain Water Quality

You should make sure that they are in filtered water at all times. If the water quality isn’t up to your standards or contains any toxins whatsoever, this will put pressure on the swim bladder and could deteriorate with time.

No To Medications

Could you not feed them erythromycin? This is a medication that has been known to cause the swim bladder of fish to deteriorate. If you do, they come back in worse condition than before, and it could take longer for them to heal as well.

Say No To Overcrowding

Provide adequate space for your Ember Tetras! It would be best not to overcrowd them since this will lead to a lot more stress which can cause the swim bladder to deteriorate faster.

You should also make sure that your Ember Tetras have plenty of space to swim and play.

Maintain Good Temperature

Make sure that they are at comfortable water temperature! If it is too hot or cold, you’ll put undue pressure on their swim bladder.

Feed Them Proper Food

It would help if you fed them a diet that doesn’t contain too much protein. This will help to make sure their swim bladder doesn’t deteriorate, which can result in Swim Bladder Disorder or any other disorder for that matter!

Could You Make Sure They’re 100% Healthy?.

If you notice your Ember Tetras behaving abnormally, it’s best to quarantine them to ensure they’re 100% healthy. This way, if it’s just Swim Bladder Disorder, you’ll be able to watch them and give them treatment as soon as possible.

Are Ember Tetras More Likely To Have Swim Bladder Disorder?

Ember Tetras are more inclined to having Swim Bladder Disorder than other fish. They have a higher concentration of gas in their swim bladder that slowly diffuses into the surrounding water.

This increases the chance for bubbles to form and be released when pressure changes. The increased gas can happen due to many reasons like diet, environment, and genetics.

Can You Cure Swim Bladder Disorder In Ember Tetras?

Well, it depends. You can cure Swim bladder disorder in Ember Tetras through surgery. However, it is expensive and difficult, you might want to consider other home treatments before going this route. They are not guaranteed to work, but they are much cheaper and easier to do.

The best option for treating the disorder is to switch the fish’s diet to more plant-based food with less protein.

This will help decrease inflammation in their swim bladder, reduce gas levels, and promote better surface tension.


In conclusion, Swim Bladder Disorder in Ember Tetras is a serious issue that will most likely require surgery to correct. There are many ways to prevent this disorder from happening or at least delay the symptoms. But it’s best if you don’t feed them erythromycin and give them peas!

If your Ember Tetras start behaving abnormally, it’s best to quarantine them and have a vet examine them, or else they’ll end up with Swim Bladder Disorder which is very difficult to fix!

Good Luck!!!

Happy Fishkeeping!!!

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