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How To Help A Paralyzed Fish!

After publishing our article going over having a fish with a broken back, we have noticed other fish keepers reaching out and asking various questions about having a paralyzed fish that does not have a broken back.

There are a number of problems that can occur in fish that may cause them to be paralyzed or partially paralyzed depending on the problem and thankfully, the most common condition is often treatable if you catch it early enough.

If your fish is not swimming correctly and acting as though it is paralyzed then it may have swim bladder disease.

Other less common causes of paralysis in fish include the hexitima parasite, poor genetics, and trauma to the fish.

There are some species of fish that swim in a unique way without moving most of their body often giving people new to keeping that species the impression that their fish is paralyzed when it is in fact fine.

The majority of people who reach out about their pet fish being paralyzed seem to be having problems with an existing fish that they have kept for a number of years.

This tends to rule the problem down to swim bladder disease, hexitima parasite infections, and poor genetics so we will be focusing on these in our article below.

Treating Swim Bladder Disease In Paralyzed Fish!

The most common reason that your fish may be paralyzed is due to having a bad case of swim bladder disease that has gotten to a stage where the fish is unable to move.

Swim bladder disease is usually easy to diagnose as your fish will often be turning to its side, sinking, and eating little to nothing while also having a curve in its back and belly that is not normally there.

You can usually treat swim bladder disease in fish with ease by using Melafix but if your fish is at a level where paralysis is kicking in, it is often a good idea to use Pimafix in conjunction with Melafix.

This allows you to take advantage of both active ingredients, bay tree oil and tea tree extract that work in a slightly different way but can drastically increase the chances of the treatments being able to treat the swim bladder disease in your fish.

Swim bladder disease is not contagious so there is generally no need to quarantine your paralyzed fish if you do suspect that its paralysis is due to swim bladder disease.

If you have an aquarium set up with sensitive fish in there then the active ingredients in Melafix and Pimafix could potentially cause problems so it may be worth quarantining the paralyzed fish into its own tank just so the treatments don’t cause problems with your healthy fish.

Paralyzed Fish Due To The Hexitima Parasite!

Hexitima parasite infections can get to a stage where they may be bad enough to cause temporary paralysis in your fish due to all of the parasites in the fish preventing it from moving correctly.

Hexitima parasites are often easy to diagnose in you fish as a fish with a hexitima infection will commonly have pale gills, abdominal distention, anorexia, emaciation, and just generally seeming lethargic where even breathing is a chore.

There are a number of treatments on the market that can quickly treat a hexitima parasite infection in your fish with Metroplex and its metronidazole-based formula being able to quickly deal with the parasite.

There are a number of levamisole-based treatments on the market that can also work well against hexitima parasites too but a metronidazole-based formula is usually the same price and often treats the condition much quicker.

You really do need to be quick with treating hexitima parasites in your fish though as they will eventually burst out of the infected fish and infect the other fish in your community tank.

When treating hexitima parasites in your fish, we would usually recommend you leave the infected fish in the main tank rather than quarantine it if possible as it allows you to treat all of the fish in your tank in case some other fish are infected but are just not showing symptoms yet.

Genetic Problems Causing Paralysis In Fish!

Unfortunately, many fish breeders are not adding new breeding partners to their lines to meet the increased demand for certain species of fish causing various genetic problems to become increasingly common.

This is becoming a real problem in betta fish in particular and these genetic issues can often result in paralysis in the fish once it gets older.

Due to being a genetic problem, there is no treatment available and it can be difficult to confirm the diagnosis in the fish as a genetic defect rather than an a different issue too due to there being a range of secondary symptoms that can show.

This can be an issue with fish purchased from major retailers and pet stores too as they often all use the same fish breeding companies as their suppliers.

Although it may sound a little strange, the best bet to avoid any genetic problems in your fish that may cause paralysis is to purchase your fish from an amateur fish breeder.

The majority of the people who breed fish as a hobby are truly passionate about breeding fish and take great care of their fish with the prices they sell their fish for on eBay often being lower than what you can purchase the same species for in a pet store.


That brings our article going over what may be the cause of your paralyzed fish and how you are able to correct the problem to an end. Thankfully, the most common reason for a fish to be paralyzed is due to it a bad case of swim bladder disease that also happens to be the easiest problem to treat meaning most people will be able to help their fish make a full recovary.