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Long Term Dropsy Prognisis


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  • Regular Member

Hi. yall.

I've had sevearl dropsied fish over the past few years. I don't know the cause, but presume it to be bacterial.

when a fish starts to dropsy, I move it into a quarantine tank, not so much as to protect the healthy fish as to be able to treat the sick one by itself.

I have found that feeding LOTS of MediKoi food ASAP makes the dropsy go away. Usually the recovery is "complete" and the affected fish gets to go back to a big tank. But I always lose the dropsied fish within two years. They might not dropsy again, but they fade away.

Over time, I have thought that 3 fish were "cured" only to have them die a couple of months to a couple of years later. Bummer.

But in addition to keeping water quality high and quarantining new fish, I reccommend finding some MediKoi if you see the beginning signs of dropsy. It works for a while at least.

Caroline in San Jose

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  • Regular Member

It does seem that fish that are particularly susceptible to the bacterial infections that cause dropsy have a low enough life immunity that they suffer reoccuring bouts of the same problem.

Even with the best kept water, UV unit and careful water changes, fish that are susceptible to the infectious bacteria causing dropsy will "catch" it if it is in the environment. Sooner or later, they will display such symptoms. It is not possible to keep a living environment (cycle, fish, plants, etc.) sterile. So the potential is always there.

As Koko found, though, careful management can keep a fish prone to dropsy problems alive for a fair life - a life where it can swim and eat and respond and give pleasure to others. That is not bad for a fish. :)

MediKoi - or other medicated foods, MetroMeds being one - is an essential part of treatment of Dropsy, for it is a bacterial based disease. Getting the meds INTO the fish is an essential step in curing the problem.

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  • Regular Member

I've had the same thing happen with a few of my fish too. It's weird too, they can get the pine-conded scales, and all I have to do for them is start them on medicated food and they get better. No heat, no epsoms, no maracyn... just the food. 3 of my fish got dropsy and then got better several times, but didn't last more than another year.

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Guest Tamiyaguy

It's been my understanding that Dropsy causes organ damage. Depending on the extent of the damage, the fish may recover but long term issues are introduced as a result. This probably explains the shortened lifespan.

My personal experience has been that dropsy is almost terminal. Unless I catch it very early in the process, the fish typically dies, even with medicated food and isolation. I'm curious to hear about success rates and treatment processes used.



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  • Regular Member

Cjumper good to see you around!!

Peter I had a dropsy fish that koko helped cure. I did lose her 8 mos later.

Koko's treatments include isolating the fish into a hosp tank.

Raising the temp to 80F (slowly of course)

Using Maracyn2 followed by Maracyn1

Starting the fish on Metromed foods asap and continue feeding for a full 30 days. Nothing else.

And epsom salts for swelling.

It is imperative that the fish eat during the first few days. Keeping the strength up as well as getting the meds in is crucial.

Koko has also said that in most cases the fish lives seperatly from the others to maintain the higher temps in the tank. The majority of them can't get use to the lower ones anymore.

However recently a member Parakedt (Dave) was succesfull in working his back into the main tank.

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  • Regular Member

Mine had the most stubborn case of dropsy that I've ever encountered. It took two full courses of Maracyn followed by Maracyn II to have ANY effect on her. I kept her at 80 degrees and epsom salted nearly two months. Then did two rounds of PC in case it was parasitic - which it may have been; this was quite helpful. Towards the end, it was getting obvious the salt was starting to bother her, so we gradually reduced it, and the temp, until we got her back down to 76 degrees. Which is where she is today, happily back in the main with her buddy. He seems to have adjusted just fine to the higher temp.

It's only 3 months, and this does not speak, obviously, to long-term survival. But I would say that from close observation, she is close to 100%.

Hope this helps!


Can you tell which one was dropsied? I couldn't if I didn't know.


Just about at her worst...

Good luck,


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