Constipation is a condition of the digestive system where an animal experiences hard feces that are difficult to eliminate; it may be extremely painful, and in severe cases lead to symptoms of bowel obstruction and death. Constipation in fish is typically revealed by bloating and the production of stringy feces. Normal fish feces will immediately fall to the substrate; constipated fish feces will appear stringy and hang from the fish. Fish with chronic constipation tend to be lethargic, disinterested in food and generally out of condition. In severe cases, constipation can make it difficult for a fish to swim normally.
In fish several species are more prone to this problem than others. Mainly this disease is due to our inability to feed the animal the correct type of food for its dietary requirements. Constipation can be confused with dropsy, but while fish with dropsy are bloated and lethargic, they also have raised scales that stick out from the body, resulting in a characteristic pineconelike effect when viewed from above.
Typically the Gourami group tend to suffer from this as in the wild they feed mainly on insects and so it is difficult to feed them the correct amnount of fibre in their diet.
Swollen belly, no waste material being expelled.
Try to feed the fish a few peas or spinach, which acts like a laxative, or try a short bath in Epsom salts (70g per litre for 10 minutes) which has the same effect.
- Try to prevent this disease by varying the type of food you feed your aquatic animals.