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Name of disease: Dropsy

Other names: None

Type of disease: Bacterial or viral

Occurrence: Fairly common, affects all types of freshwater fish.

Symptoms include: Markedly swollen body, scales sticking up (giving a 'pine-cone' appearance), reddening at the vent or base of gills, ulcers on body, long pale faeces, fish stops eating, paler gills, markedly protruding eyes.

Caused by:

1. Fish being stressed or in poor condition for some reason, e.g. rough handling, fighting, overcrowding, poor water quality, incorrect water quality, fluctuating temperatures.

2. Fish in a healthy environment may occasionally be affected due to unknown source of bacterial / viral infection.

Treatment: Remove affected fish to hospital tank and maintain perfect water quality. Use a broad-spectrum antibiotic medication (e.g. Maracyn 2 or Medigold in US, Myxazin in UK). A low level (.1 - .3%) salt solution may help (Epsom Salts can also be used). Keep temperature of the tank consistently at 78 -80F. Feed highly nutritious and good quality food, such as krill. Also Medicated foods such as Metro-Med and Medi-Gold are need to help the fish killing it from the inside.

Precautions: Antibiotic medications affect the cycle so monitoring water quality during treatment is essential. Dropsy is notoriously hard to treat; the mortality rate for fish with dropsy is high. If fish recover, maintain their tank temperature in the high 70's consistently afterwards as dropping temperatures may trigger dropsy again.

Updated 2012

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