Dropsy is characterised by a swollen or hollow abdomen. The fish’s scales may stick out in these swollen areas.  It is caused by a bacterial infection of the kidneys which results in fluid retention or kidney failure. It is the fluid retention that causes the visible symptoms of this disease; swollen stomach and protruding scales. The swelling caused by dropsy can often be mistaken for a pregnant or overfed fish, which can delay early detection of the disease.

Dropsy is unfortunately very difficult to cure even if discovered early. 

Cause: Dropsy is a condition with a number of possible causes. It is normally caused by internal infections by a number of different bacterial species. Weakened fish living in stressful conditions are at a higher risk of contacting dropsy.

Bad water or infected food are possible sources which can lead to a dropsy out brake in your aquarium.

Treatment: Although dropsy is not highly infectious it is advisable to treat infected fish in a quarantine tank as antibiotics will need to be used.

An effective treatment is to add an antibiotic which contains tetracycline, such as Fish Cycline, to the food. With flake food, use about 1% of antibiotic and carefully mix it in. Based on weight, 1% equals to 100 mg antibiotics to 10g fish food, or a standard 250mg antibiotic tablet with 25g of fish food. The same dosage can be used if feeding your fish frozen foods or chopped foods. It’s a good idea to keep your fish hungry during treatment to ensure that all the treated fish food is consumed.

Should your fish show no interest in eating the food you could try adding the antibiotic to the water, use at most 10mg per litre of water, or a 250mg tablet with 25 litres of water.

If the disease has caused permanent kidney damage, then treating the infection will not eradicate the symptoms.

Maracyn 2

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