A: Dropsy is a bacterial infection that affects fish and often appears as bulging eyes and a very bloated appearance, with scales sticking out similar to a pinecone. The infection also causes the kidneys to retain fluid, and it is very hard to treat. Dropsy disease in fish often occurs as a secondary pond fish disease when the immune system has already been compromised so prevention is key.
How Do Fish Get Dropsy?
Just like people and other animals, a fish's immune system can also weaken from stress, environmental factors such as poor water quality and poor nutrition, making them susceptible to common fish diseases. Bacterial infections are usually a symptom of a bigger issue. Parasites, predators, and poor water conditions can lead to common infections like koi dropsy.
How to Treat Dropsy
- Place Infected Fish in an Isolation Tank
Place any infected fish into an isolation tank with warm water (about 70-75ºF) and treat with a salt bath. Consider adding API MelaFix Antibacterial Remedy, which is an all-natural medication derived from the leaves of "Melaleuca," the scientific name for the Tea Tree.
- Prepare Your Pond for Your Fish's Return
Dropsy disease in fish often occurs as a secondary pond fish disease when the immune system has already been compromised so prevention is key. We recommend a partial water change (25-30%) because these symptoms are commonly seen when water conditions are poor.
- Add Stress Reducer and/or Pond Salt
Next add The Pond Guy Stress Reducer Plus, which is designed to reduce fish stress and heal damaged tissue. Stress Reducer Plus forms a beneficial stress-reducing slime coat replacing the natural secretion of slime that is lost when fish are handled, breeding, or under stress. Stress Reducer Plus also works to remove ammonia, chlorine, chloramines , and heavy metals, making tap water safe.
Pond salt is a form of pure evaporated sea salt that is commonly added to koi ponds to support fish health. In low doses, pond salt has many health benefits for your fish. Learn more about pond salt here.
- Check Aeration or Add More
Have you checked the oxygen levels in your pond? Oxygen is the lifeline to every ecosystem. If you suspect your oxygen levels are low, consider adding or increasing aeration. Bottom diffused aeration is the most effective way to circulate water and increase oxygen levels.
Prevention & Future Care
The majority of common fish diseases, including fish and koi dropsy, can be prevented with routine maintenance such as partial water changes, water testing, proper filtration, aeration, beneficial bacteria treatments, and, of course, population control.
Oxygen is the lifeline to every ecosystem. Consider adding or increasing aeration. Bottom diffused aeration is the most effective way to circulate water and increase oxygen levels. We recommend allowing no more than 1-2 koi or 2-3 goldfish per 200 gallons of water to keep your ecosystem healthy.