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Bubbleboy

Possible Dropsy Case!

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Alright. So I have been a member of this site for years now and I know all the procedures. I've taken all of my tank stats including pH, Ammonia and Nitrates/nitrites. Fiona's nitrates are through the roof, so I did an emergency 60% water change and installed an old canister filter of hers which is quite advanced and even has a built in UV sterilizer. She now has two working pumps at her disposal and a great big batch of new water to boot. However, I am worried. She doesn't seem bloated, but then again, Fiona is a fancy goldfish (telescope eye) and has a normally rounded body. She has normal buoyancy and her gills are not inflamed. Her eyes are clear as well. The only thing that worries me is that she is very sedentary and her scales are raised a bit. After reading several goldfish books over the years, I know this as a sure sign of dropsy. However, since the other symptoms haven't shown, I believe it to be in the early stages and possibly curable. The only problem is I leave for Europe Wednesday at 2 am. So a little over two days left. I am going to be doing massive water changes in the next few days. I was just wondering if anyone had any strategies to beat Dropsy other than water changes? Salt bath, for example? I really don't want to lose my baby. She's been with me for over 3 years now and I've always taken great care of her. She lives alone in a 30 gallon tank with live plants. I feel like a horrible fish daddy, and I know that if she doesn't show signs of improvement before I leave, I'll be feeling awful the entire trip. I really appreciate the help, guys.

Bubbleboy

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I know you said everything is good, but please copy and paste and fill out the form above. We need to have as clear an idea of what's going on as you do, and this is the only way.

Second, can you get a photo of Fiona looking down from above? Maybe put her into a shallow bowl to do this, if it won't stress her too much. We need to see if the scales are raised everywhere uniformly, or only in a localized area. If she is indeed a female, she could possibly just be very full of eggs.

If it's true dropsy you'll need some type of medicated food. Metro Meds sold at goldfishconnection.com is the best for dropsy, but it might not get here soon enough if you're leaving on Wednesday. Second-best is the anti-parasite food sold by Jungle; this can be found at most Pet*smart locations, so you could get this sooner. You will need someone to be there to feed her this medicated food while you're gone though, because it has to be fed to the sick fish at least once per day. Can you get a pet sitter?

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The timing couldn't be worse, not that anyone plans for their fish getting sick. Sakura's advice is excellent, but two days is really a short amount of time. It would be great if you can solicit someone to help you, but that person has to be somewhat knowledgeable. I hope all will turn out well. :)

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Well I'm a high school student living with my parents, so a pet sitter shouldn't be too much of a problem. Her pH is 7.0, nitrites are zero, ammonia is zero. The only problem is her nitrate level, which is 10-15 ppm. I think those are the only things I left off.

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Well I'm a high school student living with my parents, so a pet sitter shouldn't be too much of a problem. Her pH is 7.0, nitrites are zero, ammonia is zero. The only problem is her nitrate level, which is 10-15 ppm. I think those are the only things I left off.

Parameters look good. Do you have access to Metro-Meds or Jungle anti-parasitic food, as Sakura mentioned?

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Can you get the photo I mentioned?

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Okay... it would only let me see one of the photos, but the scales do appear to be sticking out evenly all over the body. I would assume true dropsy and not eggs here. Some people prefer to start treatment with just epsom salt and heat and see if that helps before going to medicated food. But with dropsy it gets fatal very fast and can only be cured if you address it quickly, so I would start her on some medicated food right away. Your number one choice would be to rush order some Metro Meds from goldfishconnection.com. Then put about 6 pellets in individual baggies and label them- one for each day for 14 days. Then ask your parents to feed only the baggie for that day and no more (this will prevent them from overfeeding). If you can't get Metro Meds, then go to Pet*smart and look for Jungle anti-parasite medicated food. I think if you use the Metro Meds she'll have the best chance, but I have also had the Jungle anti-parasite food work for dropsy cases occasionally. So whichever you can get faster will be good.

Oh and also, nitrate at 10-15 isn't really too much of a problem. They should be below 20 at all times, but the lower the better.

Edited by Sakura

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Okay... it would only let me see one of the photos, but the scales do appear to be sticking out evenly all over the body. I would assume true dropsy and not eggs here. Some people prefer to start treatment with just epsom salt and heat and see if that helps before going to medicated food. But with dropsy it gets fatal very fast and can only be cured if you address it quickly, so I would start her on some medicated food right away. Your number one choice would be to rush order some Metro Meds from goldfishconnection.com. Then put about 6 pellets in individual baggies and label them- one for each day for 14 days. Then ask your parents to feed only the baggie for that day and no more (this will prevent them from overfeeding). If you can't get Metro Meds, then go to Pet*smart and look for Jungle anti-parasite medicated food. I think if you use the Metro Meds she'll have the best chance, but I have also had the Jungle anti-parasite food work for dropsy cases occasionally. So whichever you can get faster will be good.

Oh and also, nitrate at 10-15 isn't really too much of a problem. They should be below 20 at all times, but the lower the better.

How do I start the salt treatment? I have a thing of Aquarium Salt from API, will that work? I will try and get my hands on those meds fast! Thanks for the prompt responses, everyone. What could have caused this? I mean, her water quality doesn't seem that bad. Her fins are looking a little raw, but she's had them bitten off almost to the nubbins before (years ago by a psycho goldfish) and she was a fighter and made it through. I am treating her fins with some API green tea extract medicine and frequent water changes. Anyway, is Dropsy sort of an auto-immune thing like cold sores, where you either have it or don't? Can it just appear?

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It's most likely caused by something. Were there any drastic changes that occurred in the past week, like a sudden drop in temperature or change in pH? How often do you clean your filters (including intake tubes) by swishing them out in old tank water? How deep is the gravel in the tank? Gravel and also uncleaned filters can harbor bad bacteria that can build up over time and attack your fish. That could be the problem.

I don't know if the epsom salt is necessary, I would just do the medicated food only. But no, it's not regular aquarium salt, it's epsom salt (magnesium sulfate). It can be found at grocery stores in the "bath and beauty" department... it's used as a laxative. So you put a tiny amount in the aquarium water (dissolve first) and what it does is it draws the excess liquid out of the fish so the bloating goes down. It works in some cases, but not all. If you want to use it, it's 1/4 teaspoon per 10 gallons of water- make sure you do NOT exceed that amount. In your case I might not use it since you'll be going out of town soon. It will just be one more thing for your parents to keep track of, and I think the medicated food alone will be fine.

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It's not aquarium salt. It's Epsom salt, which is anhydrous magnesium sulfate. You can get them at any place that has a pharmacy and sells over the counter stuff. I think you can use it to do foot baths. It's pretty inexpensive.

Dropsy isn't the disease itself but rather the symptom of some sort of internal infection/disturbance that caused internal build up of fluids. The bloatiness is the cause of the raised scales. In humans, we call it edema. In any case, because many different things/infections could lead to the presentation of dropsy, it's hard to peg what caused it.

I hope your fish will be ok.

Edited by dnalex

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Well, since I'll be going out of town for a while, I don't think the ordering medicated food thing would work. But I'll talk to my parents. Also, will the Jungle anti-parasite food even work? I trust your judgment and you seem very experienced (and you have been most helpful!) but isn't dropsy a bacterial thing, not a parasitic condition? But maybe the food acts in multiple ways?

I'd like to thank you two for your ongoing support. Whenever Fiona is sick, I just go to pieces. I get so stressed out and I'm really not myself when my little Fifers is sick! So, alongside the medical attention you are showing me and my fish, I also thank you for the prompt posting and psychological support you guys have shown for me. I am beginning to remember why I loved this place so much :)

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Hello. Since you are leaving in two days, your best option is the Jungle anti-parasite medicated food. Despite the name, the food contains metronidazole (Flagyl), which is an antibiotic. It is also an anti-protozoal, which is why it is included in the anti-parasite food. In any case, metronidazole is very good for treating fish with early signs of dropsy.

I know how it feels when your fish is sick and you are trying to help it. I hope that your parents will be able to help nurse your goldfish back to good health while you are away :)

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Aw you're welcome. Let's hope you can get Fiona feeling better again. :) Dnalex already said what I was going to about the anti-parasitic food.

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Also lets take a look whats in the tank besides the fish.....

Is there hollow ornaments, logs anything that can harbor stagnant water.... Even canister filters can do this and HOB's if you got alot brown gunk in the bottom of it.... We should take a look cause it can be the water that is causing this :o

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So today I got the medicine and medicated fish food for her, but I came home and she was one her side, breathing sort of heavily, and with a few scales falling out :( I can't stand to see her like this. I know she must be suffering. I got Maracyn-Two, but I don't know. I am seriously thinking of just putting her down, instead of risking causing her more pain at the expense of my parents. My mom in particular is an animal lover and can't stand to see them suffer. So, what should I do? I leave in a few hours. Should I use clove oil, if I choose to put her to sleep?

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I'm so sorry she's getting worse. :( Well, it's ultimately your decision. But here's what I think you should do before making any rash decisions. Please do the following...

1. Re-test your ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH and please post the numbers. We have to make sure they're all good still :)

2. Do a large (50%) water change, cleaning the gravel very well with a siphon. Also take apart the filters, and scrub every part. Swish the filter media in a bucket of old tank water.

3. Koko asked if you have any hollow ornaments. This is important! Do you? If so, please remove them ASAP.

4. What food exactly did you get? Please let us know. I would begin feeding her this immediately (assuming it's the Jungle A-B food). It helps them eat it easier if you pre-soak the pellets.

Honestly, I would keep the tank very clean, start the medicated food, and give the fish a chance. If there's any chance she might make it, then it's worth a try! But like I said, the decision is ultimately yours. If you decide to euthanize, straight clove oil is the best option, I've had this confirmed with my fish vet before. She said clove oil is the least stressful way. What I do is I put the fish in a small-ish (1/2 gallon or so) container filled with tank water. Then I fill a baby food jar with tank water, and add about 7 drops of clove oil to the jar, and shake it very well. You have to do this so the clove oil won't separate from the water. Then I slowly pour the mixture into the container the fish is in. They sometimes do struggle a tiny bit, so be prepared. :( If I feel like I need to, I add 7 more drops in the same way. The fish should stop breathing within 10 minutes. So sorry :( Please let us know what you decide, but like I said, my first choice would be to give the fish a chance.

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So today I got the medicine and medicated fish food for her, but I came home and she was one her side, breathing sort of heavily, and with a few scales falling out :( I can't stand to see her like this. I know she must be suffering. I got Maracyn-Two, but I don't know. I am seriously thinking of just putting her down, instead of risking causing her more pain at the expense of my parents. My mom in particular is an animal lover and can't stand to see them suffer. So, what should I do? I leave in a few hours. Should I use clove oil, if I choose to put her to sleep?

I think that it's time to let her go. I'm sorry you have to make this decision. :( It's very clear you care greatly for your fish. It's hard to let her go, but on the eve of your departure for Europe, unless you are able to get your mom or someone else to try to help her, it might be best to let her go. If someone is willing to help, please refer that person here, and I'm sure that person will be helped in anyway feasible.

I have included a link to an article describing in detail the use of grain alcohol (like vodka) and clove oil. Because you are underage, if you choose to follow this method, please ask your mom to be there and supervise. Best wishes.

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-most-humane-way-to-euthanize-a-fish.htm

Edited by dnalex

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Thanks everyone. I appreciate all the help, but I ultimately decided to just let her go. I fixed her up with some clove oil blended nicely into some of her tank water and put her in a decently sized bowl. It took a few minutes, but she stopped breathing. She didn't struggle too much, I was even able to pick her out of the tank with just my hand. I know I made the right decision. It wasn't fair to her to make her suffer longer without me there to help her, and it wouldn't have been fair to my parents to make them look after my sick, dying fish. So in the end, I thank you all so much for your help and support. Dropsy really is the silent killer. I only had a few days to realize what was going on, and by that time, it was too late. I never thought she would go this soon, she had always been a strong little girl and I had always taken good care of her. She lived 3 years and even laid eggs twice. I am proud that I have given her such a full life. I think I will bury her in the backyard, so she can live on in our garden and help give life to other things. It was a hard thing to do, but when the time came, the choice was made for me. Thanks everyone.

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I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm sure you made a good decision, and most importantly, you acted out of compassion for the fish. May she rest in peace :heart

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You made the best decision. I am sorry for your loss.

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I'm very sorry for your loss, and I'm very impressed and moved by your very mature viewpoint and decision. Best wishes on your trip!

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Thanks guys. I hope 30 minutes in the solution was enough. I didn't see any movement after 10 minutes, but I just wanted to make sure she was nice and "asleep" before I buried her. I would hate for her to have woken up after I buried her.

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