Another ‘perceived’ common disease that affects aquarium fish is dropsy. However, dropsy is more of a symptom of another problem than a disease. Fish that exhibit dropsy symptoms usually suffer from other issues that need to be cured. Let’s look at what dropsy is and how to cure dropsy in fish.

What Is Dropsy?

Dropsy is the build-up fluid inside cavities or tissues of fish, so much so that it causes swelling. As mentioned, dropsy is not a disease but a symptom of other underlying disorders. For example, dropsy can result from bacterial infections or parasitic infestations.

What is dropsy in fish?

What Are Common Dropsy Symptoms?

The most common symptom of dropsy is bloating or swelling. Most of the time, the belly area of the fish swells. However, other parts of the body can become bloated due to dropsy. Other dropsy symptoms include swollen anus, bulging eyes, pale gills, and stringy poop. Fish affected by dropsy may also be lethargic and lose their appetite.

Common symptoms of dropsy.

Most of these symptoms do not occur overnight. But creep up slowly. Usually, fish will start to lose color in their gills. Then, the belly area begins to swell. This, in turn, causes digestion and excretion issues.

What Causes Dropsy?

There are several reasons why fish can develop dropsy. However, bacteria and parasites that lead to infection are the root causes of dropsy. Bacteria and parasitic infestation occur in fish tanks that have unstable temperatures and poor water quality.

Common causes of dropsy

How To Treat Dropsy In Fish?

Dropsy treatment requires identifying the cause of the problem. It may be challenging to cure dropsy in fish, but by finding out what is causing the issue, you can prevent future outbreaks and protect other fish. Here are two quick ways to treat dropsy in fish:

Antibacterial Treat For Dropsy In Fish

The fastest way to treat dropsy is by using an antibacterial supplement in your aquarium. Many aquarists use melafix for dropsy with high success rates. If you suspect that bacterial overgrowth is causing dropsy (or any other problem), melafix is a safe way to resolve the issue.

Salt Treatment For Dropsy

First, quarantine all infected fish. Add some salt to the quarantine aquarium. To be safe, add only one teaspoon of salt per gallon of water to the tank. Carry out regular water changes and repeat the process.
The most recommended salt for fish tanks is this API Aquarium Salt. It’s affordable and fantastic to have on hand if you run into future issues with sick fish.

The Bottom Line

There is no one cause for dropsy in fish. Poor water conditions and fluctuating water temperatures, which lead to bacterial and parasitic overgrowth, can cause dropsy. To cure dropsy in fish, one must first find out what is causing dropsy and treat that issue.

Dropsy treatment can be in the form of antibacterial or saltwater treatments. There is no guarantee that your fish will recover from dropsy but treatment can prevent other fish from developing dropsy.

A good diet, nutrition, and pristine water conditions are the best ways to prevent and treat common diseases that affect fish. If you liked this article, be sure to read our guide on how to cure fin rot.