Is your fish struggling to swim upright?

Overfeeding, a poor diet, or improperly prepared food can all cause constipation. Not enough fiber in the diet can also create blockages in the digestive tract. These blockages can put weight on the swim bladder, causing erratic swimming. In severe cases, your fish might completely lose equilibrium and swim upside down!

Fancy goldfish, like orandas, lionheads, and fantails, are particularly prone to swim bladder problems. Sometimes, particularly sensitive fish will need special diets with plenty of green vegetables to prevent the dreaded swim bladder disease.

But what if your fish can’t swim? What can you do to help him?

Feed fish peas!

Peas are very high in fiber, so they do a good job cleaning up a fish’s digestive tract. If your fish just can’t seem to stay upright and you suspect constipation, peas can be a quick fix!

Let’s learn how to prepare peas for feeding time.

  1. Choose your peas from the store. Peas come in different sizes, varieties ranging from garden peas (the most common) to snap peas. You can also buy frozen peas (my favorite), split peas (dried, peeled, and split in half), and canned peas (too much sodium – I don’t recommend!).
  2. Soften your peas for feeding time. You can rinse frozen peas under hot water for 15-30 seconds. Though, if you bought particularly hardened peas, you may want to boil them for one minute or microwave them in a microwave-safe bowl (filled with water) on high for 30-60 seconds. Be careful! You don’t want to soften your peas too much that they turn to mush, but you do want your fish to be able to digest the peas.
  3. De-skin softened peas. You can carefully tear off the skin or squeeze the peas out with your fingers. My preferred method is to poke a small hole into the skin and carefully unwrap the pea. Don’t skip this step though. Skin can choke your fish!
  4. Cut fresh peas into small chunks. You want each chunk to be big enough to fit your fish’s mouths. I find that cutting up my peas into four slices provides the perfect size for mature goldfish. Some fish enthusiasts even like to feed fish peas whole, without chopping them up first. I personally find that my fish enjoy their meal a lot better when chopped.

If your fish are suffering from constipation, I recommend feeding them one or two peas for three days. If your fish still have trouble swimming after five days of a pea diet, your fish may not have constipation!

Fresh peas have their limits. Feeding fish peas won’t help permanent swim bladder disorders or floating problems caused by bacteria, internal parasites, or poor water quality.

So if your fish are suffering from more than just constipation, feeding them peas won’t help!

Nevertheless, introducing peas to your fish’s diet every other week will give omnivores and vegetarians the nutrients they need for a healthy digestive system.