How to Help a Fish With Dropsy?

How to Help a Fish With Dropsy?

Dropsy is a kind of bacterial disease that is common in fish. The treatment of dropsy is available, and you can cure this disease within a week.

How to Help a Fish With Dropsy? You can help a fish with dropsy by maintaining the tank temperature, adding aquarium salt, and antibiotics like Maracyn-2. You should monitor the fish activity and use the medicine for 10 days.

How to Help a Fish With Dropsy?

Here are signs and symptoms, causes, and easy methods to treat dropsy in fish. In most cases, it is difficult to distinguish between dropsy and constipation.

This disease is not specific to single species of fish. Every type of fish living in the aquarium is affected more than fish living in large water bodies.

Any kind of fish that has a less active immune system will be more prone to diseases. Your aquarium fish is dependent on you. You have to provide a suitable environment, nutrition, and freshwater.

Diagnose the disease: Dropsy or Constipation?

First, you have to quarantine your infected fish. After the proper checkup, you have to make a list of symptoms in your notebook. The symptoms of constipation and dropsy are almost the same, but some different symptoms are not present in constipation.

If you are not providing fiber containing diet to your fish, it will cause constipation. Overfeeding and giving a specific diet can cause constipation in fish. In this condition, your fish will not eat, swim well. It feels severe pain during excretion.

On the other hand, the swelling of the body and cuts on many sides of fish are the main symptoms of dropsy. The internal organs of fish are not entirely working.

The little cleaning of the aquarium is also the cause of dropsy. The disease is viral and can infect other fish. So, you have to isolate it as early as possible.

Causes of Dropsy

Aeromonas is the type of gram-negative bacteria present in the aquarium that is the fundamental cause of dropsy in fish.

The detection method of gram-negative bacteria is specific. You cannot find it using the ordinary staining methods. The gram-negative bacteria spoil the water in the aquarium. The temperature of the aquarium will increase. The chances of infection are more in the fish that have a faulty immune system.

Other causes of dropsy are contamination in the water of the tank. The increase in the concentration of contamination is due to not cleaning the aquarium properly.

When the number of waste material spikes, then the concentration of ammonia will increase in the tank. The spiking level of ammonia and nitrite increases the toxicity of water in which fish breathes. Also, the oxygen level will decrease.

Malnutrition, repetitive stress factors, and sudden changes in the environment can also affect fish’s health. A little stress will not affect fish’s health, but increasing stress regularly can be harmful to it. 


The symptoms of dropsy may also be swelling in the belly of fish, bulging eyes, pale gills, face, loss of appetite, redness appearance on fins and skin of a fish, lethargic behavior, swimming mostly on the surface of a fish tank, and curved spine.  

In the early stage, the symptoms of dropsy are skin color changing, and one-sided bloat appears. When the infection is increasing, it may lose the appetite.

This infection also disrupts osmoregulation of the body and makes it swim slowly. When the kidneys and liver stop functioning, it will make it difficult for the fish to survive. You will notice the laziness behavior in your fish. The affected fish will always stay at the lower surface of the tank. These symptoms will increase gradually as pathogenicity increases. 

Is dropsy painful for fish?

When your pet fish has lost its main organ’s functioning, there will be less chance of surviving. The digestive and immune systems are the essential part of the body.

The digestive system is unable to digest the food. Also, it is difficult for fish to intake the medicines. As the severity of dropsy increases, the size of fish starts to shrink. So the treatment process will not affect much more on the fish.

Treatment of Dropsy in fish

After diagnosing the disease, make a separate fish tank for each infected fish. You have to change the water daily. You should fill fifty percent of the water tank. If your fish can eat, you have to give fiber containing diet.

It will not produce stress in its internal organ. The thermometer is attached to the quarantine tank to check the temperature regularly.

Keep the temperature of the tank at 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t put the table salt in the tank. You will need a half teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon of water. This treatment is effective only when the disease is at the first stage.

You should also check the activity of the remaining fish in the aquarium. If any fish is not feeling well, treat them as early as possible. You can give a nutrient-rich diet to your fish in this situation to boost their immunity level.

If treatment of stage 1 is not curing its health, then you have to use antibiotics. The antibiotics will inhibit the activity of gram-negative bacteria in the body. It will activate the immune system to fight against the pathogenic cells circulating in the body.

You have to use antibiotics for at least ten days. You may see some positive changes in the appearance of infected fish.

The most frequently used antibiotic for curing the dropsy is Maracyn-2. You can see the prescription on the packet of the medicine. After giving one dose to your fish, you should monitor the health of the fish. If any irritation happens, you may call the health consultant.

How to use Maracyn 2 and its effect on fish?

First, you have to add 10 gallons of water to the quarantine tank. Pierce two packets of the antibiotic and dissolve in water. Keep stirring till it mixes with the water. Now you have to add infected fish to the tank.

The skin of the fish will absorb the medicine while swimming in the tank. You have to give drugs continuously for five days. You have to use one packet of antibiotics on the second day. You have to lower the concentration of the dose each day. 

Maracyn 2 can also cure dropsy. You can ask the pharmacist to give Maracyn 2 for dropsy because Maracyn releases gram-positive bacteria from fish. If you do not recognize the exact bacterial disease, you have to use first Maracyn 2.

If your fish do not show a positive result in 3-4 days, also add the antibiotic Maracyn in the water. When the dropsy stage 3 occurs, then antibiotic treatment may not be useful. You can ask your vet for other treatment. The price of Maracyn 2 is between $20- $23.

How long does dropsy take to kill a fish?

It depends on the immunity of fish. The betta fish have a strong immune system, so they have a better chance of survival than other pet fish. Typically, this disease kills the fish in 12 to 15 days.

The earlier medication may help your fish to activate their health. But after two weeks, it is impossible to cure the disease.

How to prevent dropsy in fish?

For preventing the development of dropsy in your fish, you have to follow some guidelines. You have to change the water regularly.

You have to check the filter working. If it is not filtering the water accurately, you must change the filters. For checking the presence of bacteria in the aquarium, you may test the water sample through the gram staining technique.

When you have a sudden change in the water, it produces stress. You should slowly pour the water into the tank. Check the ammonia level in the water. The increase of ammonia level in the tank causes the eye-blinding disease in fish. 

The tyrannizing between fish creates injuries. These injuries may form a fungal infection in fish. You have to keep the same species in a single tank. It is because every species has a different strength, so food is not equally distributed. It will produce stress in fish. 

You should provide the limited food in a fish tank. The food will decompose after some time and create different germs in the tank.

Remove the uneaten food within a day. You should provide good quality food to your pets. For checking their health, you can give them peas to catch quickly.

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