dropsy is a life-threatening disease

Although we see our fish in the aquarium, generally protected, away from external agents, possible predators, etc. They can also get sick. Before the disease of a fish, the main thing is to recognize it in order to act as soon as possible. We must think that if the disease is contagious, we will be endangering the rest of the fish.

In this case, we are going to talk about dropsy in fish. From what it is, to how to treat it, through the symptoms and how to recognize and act on it. Do you want to know more about this disease?

What is dropsy

dropsy is fluid retention in fish

As in humans, dropsy is a disease based on fluid retention in the body. This retention is produced by some series of problems in the organism of the fish. In general, the problems that derive from fluid retention are usually failures in the functioning of the kidneys or some problem in the intestine. This makes the fish unable to do their basic needs and begin to retain fluids.

This disease can also be caused by viruses, bacteria, poor diet, an internal parasite, or generally poor quality of the fish tank water (if the water contains large amounts of ammonia).

How to identify dropsy

Difference between a normal fish and a fish with dropsy

To be able to identify if our fish suffers from this disease we have to observe it well. The most visible symptoms are swelling of the stomach or around the eyes. If the dropsy continues, the scales begin to separate from the body as it becomes more and more swollen.

The fish may have internal bleeding and lose its control over buoyancy, that is, we may observe that it begins to swim upside down, on its side, etc. If we see that the fish begins to swim like this or your scales are far apart from the body, it can no longer be treated.

Causes of dropsy

When a fish has dropsy the scales begin to separate from its body

This disease can be caused by various reasons. As mentioned before, it can happen from poor fish feeding, poor water quality, and other reasons.

As for the bacteria that cause dropsy, we find Aeromonas sp and Mycobacterium. It can also be caused by some type of virus or parasites such as sp., Lernaea cyprinacea, Oodinium sp. The Argulus sp. it may have different pathogens in its intestine that can be introduced to fish through their bite.

Species susceptible to dropsy

swollen belly of a fish with dropsy

There are fish that are more vulnerable to various types of diseases, bacteria and viruses. If the water in which the fish are found is of good quality, they will be better able to resist infectious agents than if the water is not in good condition.

Food is quite important in relation to this disease, if we do not soak the food well (at least 5 minutes before giving it) it swells in the stomach of the fish and can cause severe bowel obstruction problems triggering consequences such as dropsy.

Although all types of fish can suffer from dropsy, there are species that have a tendency to suffer from this disease: Betta splendens, Trichogaster trichopterus, Colisa lalia, Helostoma temmincki, Macropodus concolor, Carassius auratus and varieties (Oranda, Lion's Head, Red cup, Bubbles, Telescopic, etc ...), Ciprinus carpio (Kois), Mollynesias, Guppys and some Cichlids.

Treatment for dropsy

To avoid possible infections or to affect other fish, we have to separate the sick fish from the rest of the fish. Ideally, the sick fish go to another aquarium where it can recover on its own.

The main thing so that the fish can be cured successfully is to treat it as soon as possible, since if the disease is very advanced, it will not be possible to cure it. Performing 10% water changes daily, To avoid the problems of nitrites, nitrates, ammonia or accumulation of drugs in the water, we can also prevent fluid retention in the fish.

If the problem of the disease derives from the intestines, our fish will not be able to fulfill its needs. To help the fish heal, we should let him fast for 2 or 3 days, feeding him very little and letting him fast again. In this way, you can regulate your intestinal transit and again begin to expel your waste.

To feed them well and prevent their fluid retention problems from continuing, it is very good to feed them boiled peas without skin.

If we want faster results we can supply you with a combination of broad spectrum antibiotics with anti-inflammatories, metronidazol (250 mg per 25-30 liters) and prednisone (5 mg for every 5 liters).

If the fish survives all this, and you have used prednisone in the treatment. Perform 10% water changes for 10 days before putting the fish back in the community, since prednisone is a steroid, and a sharp drop can kill the fish.

It must be borne in mind that fish are very delicate and that it must be identified as soon as possible, since, as the disease progresses, the damage will be more serious and it will not be able to be cured.

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  1.   MARCE GALLARDO said