1. What is fish dropsy?
CDropsy is commonly called oedema and is caused by the build up of fluid inside the body cavity or tissues. It is a symptom rather than a disease, and can indicate a number of underlying diseases, including bacterial or parasitic infections or liver dysfunction.
2.What causes dropsy?
The agent that causes the symptoms of dropsy is usually the very common Aeromonas bacteria, but the infection would be serious only if the fish has a low immune system which is predominantly caused by long periods of exposure to stress, from a number of factors, such as:
• Water parameter issues like drop in temperature, poor water quality, difference in ammonia or nitrite levels than the prescribed amounts or a low pH. (Bad osmo regulation is a key factor causing dropsy in betta fish).
• Stress from transportation or the presence of other unrelated fish and improper nutrition could all result in stress for the fish.
3. Is dropsy contagious to other fish?
Dropsy is not contagious. Only weaker fish are susceptible to the disease. However, fish of the same species are at a greater risk of contracting the disease. In such cases, the fish become affected one by one, (as in the case of koi) until there’s no more of that species left (or the root cause gets resolved).
4. What are the Symptoms of dropsy?
Dropsy in fish is actually a cluster of symptoms caused by an infection.
The most conspicuous sign of dropsy is hugely swollen or bloated bellies with damaged internal organs most notably the liver and kidneys, ultimately leading to mortality. (like the gold fish and koi, and aging bettas where there is a kidney failure) As the infection progresses, other symptoms appear like • Skin lesions (Parasites penetrate the skin of the koi before the bacterial infection sets in and damages the internal organs) • Scales that stand out (in a severe infection) with a pineconelike appearance (like in betta fish), distended scales as in gold fish.
• Bulging eyes
• Pale gills due to anemia
• The anus becomes red and swollen
• Faeces that is pale and stringy
• Lacerations on the body, along the lateral line
• A curved spine because the organs get pushed outside by the
fluid filling up inside • Fins clamped together
• General lethargy
• Poor appetite
• Swimming near the surface.
5. How do you cure dropsy in fish?
The infection is not easily cured. However, if detected early, it is possible to save the affected fish. The focus is towards correcting the underlying problem and providing supportive care to the ailing fish:
• Quarantine the sick fish into a hospital tank and conduct a water change in the original tank and monitor the remaining fish closely for appearance of symptoms.
• Add aquarium salt to the hospital tank in the recommended doses. Keep the hospital tank meticulously clean, and perform partial water changes on a regular basis.
• Feed the fish with fresh, high-quality foods and provide treatment with antibiotics.
• A broad-spectrum of antibiotics specifically formulated for gram-negative bacteria is recommended, such as MaracynTwo.
As always prevention is the best cure. Almost all the stress factors can be prevented with a little care like maintain a clean tank, avoiding overcrowding and overfeeding the fish and providing healthy food.