So, on the planet Aqautas, the Aquata species is the apex species. They have cities underwater, made of an alien coral, and submarines to get around the planet. Crime is also an issue however. The Aqautas are humanoid, but have most of the major organs found in fish, including a swim bladder. If an Aqautas is shot in the swim bladder, can he/she survive?

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    $\begingroup$ I assume you have posted the question before typing the actual question... $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica May 31 '18 at 12:10

Swim bladder is used for regulating buoyancy.

A pierced swim bladder (assuming no other damages to vital organs) would mean no depth control, thus the hurt Aqautas would sink to the bottom.

Being a water organism, the Aquatas would not drown, thus survival should be possible, unless the sinking happens in oceanic abysses, where death could be a consequence of:

  • pressure due to depth
  • starvation (I.e. being 6000 meters below the depth where their food grows)
  • untreated bleeding
  • predators

Bladder helps with neutral buoyancy and makes swimming easier but is not strictly needed. The individual could still swim, if she/he was strong enough.

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    $\begingroup$ Don't forget the risk of being eaten by the Kraken! $\endgroup$ – Blade Wraith May 31 '18 at 12:50
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    $\begingroup$ It could still be possible to swim, but would require more effort. There are fish without swim bladder, as long as you move enough water, you can push yourself upwards/ float. $\endgroup$ – Daniel May 31 '18 at 15:03
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    $\begingroup$ Also infection and a probably permanent disability, and that has to hurt like hell too. And the swim bladder may support other vital organs. $\endgroup$ – ohwilleke May 31 '18 at 17:54
  • $\begingroup$ I can imagine these guys being given ‘wheelchairs’ of buoyant materials. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Jun 1 '18 at 9:17

Yes, they could survive.

Source: I bought a school of harlequin rasboras, and one of them had a problem with its swim bladder. It was constantly swimming up at a 45 degree angle, almost jumping to stay with his buddies.

A month later, I've still got the same number of fishies, but I can't tell which had the injured swim bladder. It must have healed.

Generally speaking, if the shot isn't to the head or heart, it can be survived.

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    $\begingroup$ Don´t forget the gills, potentially lethal too. $\endgroup$ – Daniel May 31 '18 at 15:04
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    $\begingroup$ This said, it would still be a very serious injury. Life in the immediate aftermath of a lost swim bladder would be a struggle in what was already a combat situation, and would also probably lead to a serious risk of infection or bleeding out of vital fluids. Without proper treatment it would be a slow killing or permanently disabling injury even if it wasn't immediately deadly. Most fish with ruptured swim bladders end up dying. $\endgroup$ – ohwilleke May 31 '18 at 17:53

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