Guppy Swimming Upside Down: Causes And Treatments

Though guppy swimming upside down is a very dangerous sign, it doesn’t always mean that your fish is dead. There’s still time and chances to save your guppy through proper and in-time treatments. 

However, you need to identify the causes of this health problem to choose the right solution. So, what makes your guppy swim upside down? How to save and restore your guppy well beings? Keep reading, and I will show you the answer.

Guppy Swimming Upside Down

Swimming upside down, or swimming bladder, is a common issue in fish and guppies. The reason may come from external factors like improper water temperature or the fish’s health problems. 

Therefore, identifying the exact cause of the swimming bladder in guppies is a challenging task. The first and easiest way is observing the fish’s movement and living habits in the tank.

However, you should put the fish with the swimming bladder in an isolated tank to observe them easier. Another method is isolating the upside-down swimming fish in one corner of your tank.

guppy swimming upside down


Constipation can come from many problems, such as feeding the fish too much or too little food. If you don’t feed the fish regularly or follow a fixed and reasonable schedule, it will increase the risk of constipation in the guppy. 

A constipated guppy will suffer from a blocked vein, leading to a swimming bladder. The fish will have problems navigating swimming directions and may turn upside down. 

Expansion Of Feeds

Feeding guppies with a proper amount of food and following a reasonable feeding schedule are vital for their health and growth. Some food will significantly expand when exposed to water, which may suffocate the fish. 

As a result, the fish will expand in body size when swallowing these expanded feeds and suffer from a swimming bladder. Therefore, you should pay attention to the kind of food used for feeding guppies. 

Water Temperature

The constant variation in water temperature may lead to allergies in your guppies. The ideal temperature for guppies should be warm and unchanged to ensure their comfort and growth. 

A slight temperature change will significantly affect the guppy’s mood and affect its activity, causing the guppy to swim upside down. 

Don’t Forget To Monitor The Tank’s Temperature

Infection (Swim Bladder Disorder) 

Feeding guppies unsuitable food or changing their living conditions (water quality and temperature) can lead to serious infection and side effects.

Another major cause is the lack of hygiene and cleaning in your aquarium tank. 

An uncleaned tank and low water quality are ideal conditions for the growth of harmful bacteria. These harmful bacteria can cause infection of the guppy’s fins and swim bladder, causing it to swim upside down. 

Bacterial Infection Can Lead To Swim Bladder In Guppies


Nitrate may come from a malfunctioning water filter system in your aquarium tank. This harmful chemical is reduced by the guppy body and doesn’t get filtered out properly, thus decreasing the water quality. 

Bacteria have the ideal environment to grow and infect the guppy’s swim bladder. Therefore, you should check your tank’s filter regularly or use salt to clean its surface. 

How To Prevent Swim Bladder Disorder In Guppies? 

Before implementing severe treatment and using medical methods, there are some simple things you can do to deal with the swim bladder disorder. 

The critical task to start with is checking the water temperature in your tank. 

Around one-tenth of the swim bladder disorder cases comes from improper water temperature. Therefore, checking and adjusting the water tank will make it more comfortable for your guppy. 

If the water condition is fine, examine the guppy’s current diet. Low-quality feeds cause food poisoning or constipation and lead to swim bladder disorder. 

Stop feeding your guppy with the current food and switch to healthier substitutes like fruits. I recommend isolating the ill guppy in another tank and feeding them with boiled peas. 

The last resort is using Epsom salts to relax the guppy’s muscles. It will ease their organs, muscle, and even mood to soothe the effect of the swim bladder disorder in the short term. 

If all the mentioned treatments aren’t effective, your guppy may be suffering from infection or some serious health effects. It would help if you took them to a veterinarian as soon as possible to treat the illness.  


Here is some additional helpful information on the swim bladder disorder in the guppy. Follow the sections below to check out better ways to care for your fish. 

1. Can Swim Bladder Be Cured?

In most cases, the swim bladder disorder can be treated by adjusting the fish’s living environment and diet. If you spot it early and develop proper treatment, the fish can recover and regain its health quickly. 

However, if left untreated, the fish’s health will significantly decrease. Some causes of the swim bladder, like bacterial infections, require medical care and special treatments to be cured completely. 

2. Can A Fish Live With Swim Bladder Disease?

A fish can recover from the swim bladder disease and return to its normal state quickly. However, it’s always advisable to treat this disease as soon as possible because it will affect the fish’s health and regular movements. 

3. Why Is My Fish Upside Down But Still Alive?

Fish tend to swim upside down when they’re suffering from swim bladder disease. This disorder can pose severe health threats, but it’s not fatal enough to make the fish die. 

4. Can Peas Cure Swim Bladder?

Peas are beneficial for treating floating disorders, but they won’t help much against swim bladder disorder. Therefore, you should use medical treatments to deal with diseases and infections in fish. 

Final Thoughts

Guppy swimming upside down is a common sign of swim bladder disorder. This health issue is not fatal, but it will significantly affect your guppy’s mood and daily activities. 

I hope the information provided can help you gain more insights into this disorder and find effective treatments for your guppies. Thank you for reading!