Here are a couple of photographs of golfish suffering from swim bladder disease wearing corrective lifejackets. In fish the swim bladder (gas bladder) is an internal gas-filled organ which helps to control the fish’s buoyancy which in turn allows the fish to stay at the current water depth without having to expend energy in swimming. When this disease strikes the fish can float nosedown or tail up or they can float to the top of the tank or sink to the bottom of the aquarium.
Building a corrective lifejacket or a buoyancy jacket for goldfish is not that unusual because my research indicates that going back to April 2013 there are photographs of goldfish wearing buoyancy jackets for this reason. More recently, in today’s Times newspaper we have a photograph of a family goldfish that lost its ability to float after a bout of that dreaded swim bladder disease. The lifejacket was made from plastic tubing and polystyrene at an animal sanctuary in Wolverhampton.
Clearly, there is a lot of flexibility in how you design the lifejacket as long as it does help with buoyancy. Here is a little bit about swim bladder disease. It is also called swim bladder disorder or “flipover”. It is quite common in aquarium fish.
Fancy goldfish appear to be most susceptible to this disorder. It can be caused by intestine parasites or by constipation which in turn can be caused by high nitrate levels from overfeeding. Feeding green pee to affected fish can, it seems, help to counteract constipation and help to resolve the disease. Surgeons can remove part of the bladder to help attain the correct buoyancy. I’m sure this is only as a last resort.