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Aquarium Fish Disease – Dropsy

goldfish dropsyDropsy is a lethal aquarium fish disease often associated with poor water quality leading to bacterial infection. Dropsy is commonly seen affecting goldfish whereby water quality is always a problem due its feeding frenzy and heavy waste discharge. Based on my own experience, aquarium fish seen contracting the disease always have minimum chance of survival and usually death will follow suit, most of the time, 1 week after the condition started deteriorating. (picture showing goldfish with advanced dropsy condition)

Affected fish will develop raised scales that often look like pinecone and as in goldfish, it will float upside down with the swollen belly facing upwards. Experienced fish breeders always advice that the best ways in order to counter and prevent this problem is to control on the amount of food fed to the fish and at the same time, work on maintaining perfect water condition. If the fish do succumb to this disease usually there’s no treatment option available expect maybe to raise the salt concentration to 0.3 – 0.5% and then totally cut off the food consumption. This can only be done by separating the fish to another treatment tank so that more attention can be given. If lucky, usually 2 out of 10 affected fish may survive and recuperate to lead a normal life.

Dropsy condition in Koi Fish
Dropsy disease does not confined only to goldfish but it happens to almost any other fish species and that includes koi. Early signs of the disease starting to spread and develop can be seen with the fish’s body that begins to swell and bloat and the eyes bulging. In koi, you might not notice and see the raised scales clearly during the initial period, but you will see the shape of the fish changing with enlargement at the middle region at the belly as the infection grows stronger.

At advanced stage of the disease, your koi will start to lose its balance to maintain buoyancy in the water. Most of the time, they will stay at one position without moving and if treatment does not follow soon, they will succumb to the illness. However, good news about Koi is that they are move tolerant towards frequent dosage of fish medication and they can withstand treatment schedule and respond to it. Most of the time, in order to deal with the problem, salt can actually be added to the water to aid the healing process but more effective way to cure dropsy is by getting special medicated solution prepared solely for it to deal with the disease. You easily find these available in pet stores.

Some posts covering similar topics:
» Regular water changes
» Common mistakes made by aquarium owners
» Other fish disease - Ich or white spot



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My fascination and interest towards aquarium fish has led me to devote my time towards caring and learning about this wonderful pet.

Aquarium fish keeping is a very challenging and exciting hobby. When I first started, I never knew much or have the necessary guidance back then because none of my family members were actually a keen hobbyist. And because of that, I’ve encountered numerous failures and the worst part is having to deal with dead fish every time when you started to grow fond and getting attached to my pets. However, I persevered and took steps to find out and search for information from other hobbyist, apart from the knowledge gained and learned from my own experience and research. The blog that I’ve created here is meant to share useful information and tips about aquarium fish keeping so that new hobbyist will not make the same mistakes that I’ve made in the past."

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