Dropsy is a disease that causes the belly of fish to become bloated due to the accumulation of water or other fluids in the gut and other internal organs. Dropsy caused by bacteria (Aeromonas ) is untreatable and contagious. However, dropsy caused by pollution, stress, or nutrition is treatable and not contagious.
What Causes Dropsy?
- Poor water quality.
- Ammonia and nitrite increase.
- Aggressive tank mates.
- Unstable water temperature.
- Improper nutrition.
- The very common Aeromonas bacteria.
Symptoms of Dropsy
- A grossly swollen belly.
- Scales that stand out with a pinecone-like appearance.
- Eyes that bulge.
- Gills that are pale.
- The anal area becomes red and swollen.
- Feces that are pale and stringy.
- Ulcers on the body, along the lateral line.
- A spine that is curved.
- Fins clamped together.
- Redness of the skin or fins.
- General lethargy.
- Refusal to eat.
- Swimming near the surface.
How To Treat Dropsy?
- Transfer the sick fish to a “hospital tank.”
- Add a teaspoon of salt per gallon of water in the hospital tank.
- Feed the fish fresh, high-quality foods.
- Treat the fish with antibiotics, either in the food or in the water.
- Test the water in the hospital tank daily to ensure it is appropriate for the fish.
How To Prevent Dropsy
- Perform regular water changes (about 30% weekly).
- Clean the filter and vacuum substrate regularly.
- Do not overcrowd your tank.
- Do not overfeed your fish.
- Do not feed old food to your fish.
- Feed a variety and quality food.
- Keep the water temperature stable with a heater.
- Avoid aggressive tank mates.
Things To Note
To prevent the spread of dropsy to healthy fish, quarantine the sick fish. Then, do a 50% water change in the original tank and examine the healthy fish to identify early signs of dropsy.
Try not to feed fish food that’s older than 6 months to your guppies. If you are out of feed, here are some things that you can use to feed guppy fish. They can also eat vegetables. Use these in the short term until you get fresh food.