Improving Pond Fish Digestion

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Written By Mark Washburn

Mark has 20 years of experience as a professional pond management consultant.

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What you’re about to read may seem far-fetched our just plain weird but did you know that feeding your fish a pea, just once a day for awhile, can help with digestive problems?  According to some veterinarians with experience in fish health, it’s possible.

One of the signs of digestive issues with fish may involve the fish becoming sluggish or it may appear to be disabled in some way.  You may find it floating on it’s side, as one of our readers did, or upside down sometimes.  The fish may have a tough time regulating it’s depth in the water or just not look right.

A goldfish, as well as other carp related fish, have an interesting digestive tract structure in that the esophagus has an open connection to the swim bladder.  It’s the swim bladder that controls the buoyancy or floating capability of the fish.  If food get’s impacted in some way the area can get infected and inflamed which will cause further problems.

Affected fish, may remain alert, continue to eat and appear to be healthy overall.  The condition may correct itself or it could lead to a permanent condition.  Other fish in the pond will usually remain unaffected.

It’s always a good idea to consult with an experience vet if your fish should get sick or show signs of illness.  Usually it’s not a bad idea as well to provide some way to quarantine the fish for a time in order to either treat it or limit any problems with your other fish.

One of the most simple and easy things to try if you suspect a food impaction in a fish is to feed them the simple green pea.  Whether the pea is freshly cooked or from a can you simply want to crush it slightly and then feed one pea a day to the affected fish.  It’s not really understood how this helps, but in many cases the pea diet will help dislodge any air-filled or lighter food that may become trapped.

Its also suggested to raise the water temperature up to about 75 to 80 degrees f. to improve digestion and you can feed regular commercial fish food as normal.  It’s recommended to avoid feeding any flakes or floating food that may have a bit lighter weight than you would want to feed at that time.

Within a few days, if all goes well, your fish will have a restored and functional digestive system without any blockages and the buoyancy issue will return to normal as well.  At the very least, a few peas are cheap and they are safe enough to try as a possible remedy.

For additional information on steps you should take when dealing with a sick fish, please visit our recent article titled  A Simple Pond Fish Problem Checklist .

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