Dropsy Treatment - Possible Underlying Disease

DaleM

Member
HI all,

One of my female cherry barbs developed dropsy and had to be euthanized about 2 weeks ago - she came from another LFS along with 2 other females and I did not QT as I didn't have another tank. One of my male cherry barbs which was from my first stock of barbs from my usual LFS is now in what appears to be the mid stage of dropsy. No enlarged scales yet, but definite bloating. I am concerned that there might be an underlying contagious infection/disease which is causing the dropsy and was introduced from the cherries purchased at the other LFS. My 8 Pristella Tetras and 7 Sterbais do not appear to be affected at this stage, just the barbs (I have 9 left, although quite possibly soon to be 8 as I may well have to euthanize the male). There is no apparent symptoms that I have noticed, just the dropsy. If anything, maybe some redness around the belly area.

I now have a 4.5g tank lying around that I could use as a QT. Granted, it is a bit small, but better than nothing (I have a sponge filter in the main tank I can move across to the 4.5g and can do daily water changes). However, given the whole tank has been exposed, there is probably little benefit in moving just the barbs across to QT.

Am I worth treating the entire 35g tank with a broad-spectrum medication? I know it's throwing darts at a dartboard hoping that one hits the bullseye, but don't want some disease wiping out my entire barb population, or worse, the entire population of the tank.

Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10ppm. New tank, only cycled for about 2 months.

Thanks!
 

JB92668

dropsy is hard to treat pop eye offten follows it get a protazone treatmeant and raise the water temp and feed crushed garlic and spralina flake food and do water changes every 3 days
 

junebug

Member
johnbetta said:
dropsy is hard to treat pop eye offten follows it get a protazone treatmeant and raise the water temp and feed crushed garlic and spralina flake food and do water changes every 3 days
None of that is true, sorry.

Dropsy is a symptom, which is why "treating" it doesn't work. You have to treat the disease. Popeye is an actual disease...

DaleM have you seen the sick fish poop? If so, was it white and stringy? If not, QT him and keep an eye on the others. If so, QT him but be prepared to treat your main tank as well, as the stringy poop probably means intestinal parasites. I'm not sure what medications you have in Aus but surely there are dewormers. Praziquantel is a good basic one.

If his poop is normal, it's most likely bacterial. I would QT him and treat with Kanamycin Sulfate.
 
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DaleM

Member
junebug said:
None of that is true, sorry.

Dropsy is a symptom, which is why "treating" it doesn't work. You have to treat the disease. Popeye is an actual disease...

DaleM have you seen the sick fish poop? If so, was it white and stringy? If not, QT him and keep an eye on the others. If so, QT him but be prepared to treat your main tank as well, as the stringy poop probably means intestinal parasites. I'm not sure what medications you have in Aus but surely there are dewormers. Praziquantel is a good basic one.

If his poop is normal, it's most likely bacterial. I would QT him and treat with Kanamycin Sulfate.
Thanks junebug much appreciated.

I will pop him in the QT. Got to catch him first! I will check out the LFS tomorrow and see what they have available. Haven't seen him poop, so not sure if it's worms or bacterial related. Will have to keep a close eye and see how things go, may even have to just bite the bullet and treat the whole tank for worms and bacterial infections.
 

junebug

Member
Eh I wouldn't treat until you have some idea of what it is. Treating him in QT is one thing, but treating the whole tank for things it may or may not have is opening up a world of trouble IME.

Put him in QT, and keep it barebottomed. If you have live plants, add a few so he has places to hide. Look for poop (make sure you feed him something normal) and go from there.

I know a few people in Aus have had to order their meds online because stores don't carry that much. It's always good to have a few things in the medicine cabinet either way, though!
 

DoubleDutch

Member
Got some pics Dale ?
 
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DaleM

Member
junebug DoubleDutch

I tried to get some photos. He's the fish in the middle of the communal photo. The female on the left in that I'm also keeping an eye on as she looks a bit fat. Could be full of eggs, so just have to keep an eye on her.

He's in qt now, female might have to join him if she gets any fatter.
 

DoubleDutch

Member
mmmm doesn't look right indeed.
What are you feeding ?
 
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DaleM

Member

DoubleDutch

Member
Try to feed some spirulina / algae / veg granules Dale. Could be a bit too much protein (thinkibg up loud). They might like to tear up some cooked lettuce / spinach and eat it.
 
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DaleM

Member
DoubleDutch said:
Try to feed some spirulina / algae / veg granules Dale. Could be a bit too much protein (thinkibg up loud). They might like to tear up some cooked lettuce / spinach and eat it.
That's true, I'll head to the LFS tomorrow and pick up some - will also get some algae wafers for the corys as well so they aren't getting too much protein.

Now the cherry is in qt I can at least see if he has white, stringy poop. I can never see the poop in my main tank - gets lost in the light, small gravel substrate!
 

DoubleDutch

Member
DaleM said:
That's true, I'll head to the LFS tomorrow and pick up some - will also get some algae wafers for the corys as well so they aren't getting too much protein.

Now the cherry is in qt I can at least see if he has white, stringy poop. I can never see the poop in my main tank - gets lost in the light, small gravel substrate!
The proteinneed for Corys is much higher.
So this diet is good for Corys !!!
I feed them spirulina now and then, but I know Corys won't get a lot of nitrition out of that.
 
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DaleM

Member
DoubleDutch said:
The proteinneed for Corys is much higher.
So this diet is good for Corys !!!
I feed them spirulina now and then, but I know Corys won't get a lot of nitrition out of that.
Yeah I heard that corys need a lot of protein, they'll eat algae wafers but it has little nutrional value to them. It'll be a treat though I guess - a bit like junk food having limited nutrional value to us! Bloodworms are probably their favourite out of the things I'm feeding them
 

DoubleDutch

Member
DaleM said:
Yeah I heard that corys need a lot of protein, they'll eat algae wafers but it has little nutrional value to them. It'll be a treat though I guess - a bit like junk food having limited nutrional value to us! Bloodworms are probably their favourite out of the things I'm feeding them
I think it might "clean" there intestials now and then hahahaha
 
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DaleM

Member
DoubleDutch said:
I think it might "clean" there intestials now and then hahahaha
Hahaha! Perhaps that's why my female cherry barbs look a bit fat, they all need a decent poo!
 

madelyn anne

Member
DaleM said:
HI all,

One of my female cherry barbs developed dropsy and had to be euthanized about 2 weeks ago - she came from another LFS along with 2 other females and I did not QT as I didn't have another tank. One of my male cherry barbs which was from my first stock of barbs from my usual LFS is now in what appears to be the mid stage of dropsy. No enlarged scales yet, but definite bloating. I am concerned that there might be an underlying contagious infection/disease which is causing the dropsy and was introduced from the cherries purchased at the other LFS. My 8 Pristella Tetras and 7 Sterbais do not appear to be affected at this stage, just the barbs (I have 9 left, although quite possibly soon to be 8 as I may well have to euthanize the male). There is no apparent symptoms that I have noticed, just the dropsy. If anything, maybe some redness around the belly area.

I now have a 4.5g tank lying around that I could use as a QT. Granted, it is a bit small, but better than nothing (I have a sponge filter in the main tank I can move across to the 4.5g and can do daily water changes). However, given the whole tank has been exposed, there is probably little benefit in moving just the barbs across to QT.

Am I worth treating the entire 35g tank with a broad-spectrum medication? I know it's throwing darts at a dartboard hoping that one hits the bullseye, but don't want some disease wiping out my entire barb population, or worse, the entire population of the tank.

Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10ppm. New tank, only cycled for about 2 months.

Thanks!

Dropsy is hard to treat, and since it itself isn't a disease but just a symptom of a disease, it's hard to treat without knowing the cause.

I'm not sure if you have it in Australia, but here we have a product that Tetra makes called Lifeguard. It's basically an all-in-one treatment. It treats fungal, bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections. So basically, if there's something wrong that CAN be fixed, Lifeguard should do the trick. I've had 2 successes using it, so if you are able to get that, I most definitely would.

At this point, you've had one CB that passed and currently have one experiencing symptoms, so it's pretty safe to say that all of your fish have been exposed to whatever it is that's causing this. Although they say to always QT any fish exhibiting symptoms, at this point I don't see the benefit to it, and actually, I'd be sure to treat the entire tank with whatever medication you use anyways. So I, personally, don't think i'd QT if I were you, unless there's other fish that may be picking on it since it's sick.

Also, is your sick CB eating still or has he started to refuse food? In my experience that's a pretty good indicator of whether you have a shot of treating whatever is wrong.

Hoping the best for your little one!
xx
 

DoubleDutch

Member
DaleM said:
Hahaha! Perhaps that's why my female cherry barbs look a bit fat, they all need a decent poo!
I meand the corys hahaha.
But some fish needs the vibers and green food to stay healthy (like we do)
 
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DaleM

Member
madelyn anne said:
Dropsy is hard to treat, and since it itself isn't a disease but just a symptom of a disease, it's hard to treat without knowing the cause.

I'm not sure if you have it in Australia, but here we have a product that Tetra makes called Lifeguard. It's basically an all-in-one treatment. It treats fungal, bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections. So basically, if there's something wrong that CAN be fixed, Lifeguard should do the trick. I've had 2 successes using it, so if you are able to get that, I most definitely would.

At this point, you've had one CB that passed and currently have one experiencing symptoms, so it's pretty safe to say that all of your fish have been exposed to whatever it is that's causing this. Although they say to always QT any fish exhibiting symptoms, at this point I don't see the benefit to it, and actually, I'd be sure to treat the entire tank with whatever medication you use anyways. So I, personally, don't think i'd QT if I were you, unless there's other fish that may be picking on it since it's sick.

Also, is your sick CB eating still or has he started to refuse food? In my experience that's a pretty good indicator of whether you have a shot of treating whatever is wrong.

Hoping the best for your little one!
xx
I put him in qt just to see if he has any stringy poo, the qt tank has a black, bare bottom so any poo will stick out like dog's you know whats, haha! He is eating a little. Was swimming ok in the main tank. Hanging out at the bottom in the qt, but he did just get netted so no doubt some stress there.

We don't get a lot of the tetra products here in Australia, they are around, but not in any great amount. Mainly just foods. TSS can't be purchased here due to our strict qt laws. At least none of the other species are showing any symptoms and are their usual, happy, active selves.

Yeah, dropsy itself you can't treat, need to get to the root cause. If he has no stringy poo, then I can look at bacterial infections as the cause and treat for that
 

madelyn anne

Member
DaleM said:
I put him in qt just to see if he has any stringy poo, the qt tank has a black, bare bottom so any poo will stick out like dog's you know whats, haha! He is eating a little. Was swimming ok in the main tank. Hanging out at the bottom in the qt, but he did just get netted so no doubt some stress there.

We don't get a lot of the tetra products here in Australia, they are around, but not in any great amount. Mainly just foods. TSS can't be purchased here due to our strict qt laws. At least none of the other species are showing any symptoms and are their usual, happy, active selves.

Yeah, dropsy itself you can't treat, need to get to the root cause. If he has no stringy poo, then I can look at bacterial infections as the cause and treat for that
Well definitely keep an eye out for Tetra Lifeguard. If you ever come across it, pick it up. It's usual price here for 32 tablets is around $20 USD, but I usually get it price matched for about $12. Not sure if that means it'll be super expensive for you down under or not, but IMO it's an awesome thing to have on hand.

That's good to hear he's eating! Yay! Hopefully he's just super backed up and will feel better soon. Have you tried feeding him a little bit of a skinned pea? That could maybe help?

Do you have Pimafix and Melafix down there? Those are really popular "treatments" here, though they aren't medications. Some people swear by them, some people hate them. I use them as a preventive measure on new fish I get. I just like them cause they're all natural. Maybe it'd be a starting point cause again, both of them together treat a really wide range of ailments!
 

NavigatorBlack

Member
The redness around the vent would have me looking for Camallanus nematodes. It could be bacterial, it could be gutworms... it is really hard to know. It's like that noise in the car that comes and goes.

Dropsy is kidney failure, which can come from an intestinal blockage or infection, or from a general infection. Worms could be a blockage source.

I have been slack about QT in the past, and this reminds me that a QT period can save a lot of grief. I probably won't learn from it, but the principle is clear here...
 

RSababady

Member
I am intrigued by what junebug wrote about the poop and recognition of the infection by the look of it:

junebug said:
have you seen the sick fish poop? If so, was it white and stringy? If not, QT him and keep an eye on the others. If so, QT him but be prepared to treat your main tank as well, as the stringy poop probably means intestinal parasites. I'm not sure what medications you have in Aus but surely there are dewormers. Praziquantel is a good basic one.

If his poop is normal, it's most likely bacterial. I would QT him and treat with Kanamycin Sulfate.
I have seen transparent/translucent and stringy, but never white. So is white stringy poop a sign of parasite infection or worm infection?

NavigatorBlack said:
I have been slack about QT in the past, and this reminds me that a QT period can save a lot of grief. I probably won't learn from it, but the principle is clear here...
Haven't we all..........

NavigatorBlack said:
The redness around the vent would have me looking for Camallanus nematodes. It could be bacterial, it could be gutworms... it is really hard to know. It's like that noise in the car that comes and goes.

Dropsy is kidney failure, which can come from an intestinal blockage or infection, or from a general infection. Worms could be a blockage source.

I have been slack about QT in the past, and this reminds me that a QT period can save a lot of grief. I probably won't learn from it, but the principle is clear here...
I hope it is not Camallanus nematodes because it seems quite lethal! This is a good post on recognizing the disease and curing it here on fishlore.
 
  • Thread Starter

DaleM

Member
NavigatorBlack said:
The redness around the vent would have me looking for Camallanus nematodes. It could be bacterial, it could be gutworms... it is really hard to know. It's like that noise in the car that comes and goes.

Dropsy is kidney failure, which can come from an intestinal blockage or infection, or from a general infection. Worms could be a blockage source.

I have been slack about QT in the past, and this reminds me that a QT period can save a lot of grief. I probably won't learn from it, but the principle is clear here...
Yep, lesson learnt regarding QT! It may well be callamanus. If that's the case, I better get onto treating the whole tank pronto!
 

RSababady

Member
DaleM said:
Yep, lesson learnt regarding QT! It may well be callamanus. If that's the case, I better get onto treating the whole tank pronto!
The redness is one thing...... you should see worms sticking out of the live fish when they are not very active. It may not be worms if the anus is just red and you cannot see the worms - maybe you should dissect the dead one and have a look for worms. Otherwise it could be just a bacterial infection.
 
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DaleM

Member
I hope to God it's not callamanus, may as well nuke the tank if it is! I'll have a proper look tomorrow and see if I can see the tell-tale sign of red/pink worms protruding from the anus. Hopefully it's something easily treatable.

When I euthanized the first cherry barb I screwed up big time trying to break the neck and ended up squishing the poor fish. Didn't notice any worms when that happened, although wasn't really looking for them

NavigatorBlack said:
The redness around the vent would have me looking for Camallanus nematodes. It could be bacterial, it could be gutworms... it is really hard to know. It's like that noise in the car that comes and goes.

Dropsy is kidney failure, which can come from an intestinal blockage or infection, or from a general infection. Worms could be a blockage source.

I have been slack about QT in the past, and this reminds me that a QT period can save a lot of grief. I probably won't learn from it, but the principle is clear here...
Worst case scenario and it is Callamanus, I've heard bird wormers or cow/sheep wormers are the best meds to use, like Avitrol Plus? The latter is a bird wormer containing Levamisole with a small amount of Praziquantel. Combined with regular vacuuming to pick up any worms from the substrate and 1-2 follow up treatments. I've read everything in the past from nuking the tank and starting again through to successful treatments

junebug said:
None of that is true, sorry.

Dropsy is a symptom, which is why "treating" it doesn't work. You have to treat the disease. Popeye is an actual disease...

DaleM have you seen the sick fish poop? If so, was it white and stringy? If not, QT him and keep an eye on the others. If so, QT him but be prepared to treat your main tank as well, as the stringy poop probably means intestinal parasites. I'm not sure what medications you have in Aus but surely there are dewormers. Praziquantel is a good basic one.

If his poop is normal, it's most likely bacterial. I would QT him and treat with Kanamycin Sulfate.
Kanamycin is very hard to get a hold of in Oz, at least for aquarium use. Tetracycline is the more common fish antibiotic here
 

junebug

Member
Tetracycline may work. Can you get Nitrafurazone? If so, I'd try that if it turns out to be bacterial, assuming your pH is neutral-ish.

Edit: If it is Camallanus worms (and don't assume it is just yet) Levamisole can work. Flubendazole and Fenbendazole are also used for treatment.

RSababady said:
I am intrigued by what junebug wrote about the poop and recognition of the infection by the look of it:



I have seen transparent/translucent and stringy, but never white. So is white stringy poop a sign of parasite infection or worm infection?
Translucent, white. It's all in perception I guess. The point is if the poop is stringy and not the right color, it could easily be parasites.
 
  • Thread Starter

DaleM

Member
junebug said:
Tetracycline may work. Can you get Nitrafurazone? If so, I'd try that if it turns out to be bacterial, assuming your pH is neutral-ish.

Edit: If it is Camallanus worms (and don't assume it is just yet) Levamisole can work. Flubendazole and Fenbendazole are also used for treatment.
Tetracycline is pretty much it unfortunately and even then I have to order it online. The LFS only really carry melafix and pimafix. Makes life very difficult here with our strict quarantine laws.

Might be able to pick some up from the vets, but I wouldn't know the dosage rate in an aquarium
 

junebug

Member
DaleM said:
Tetracycline is pretty much it unfortunately and even then I have to order it online. The LFS only really carry melafix and pimafix. Makes life very difficult here with our strict quarantine laws.

Might be able to pick some up from the vets, but I wouldn't know the dosage rate in an aquarium
I know people who get their meds from vets. You can look up the dosage based on the concentration in the med you pick up.
 
  • Thread Starter

DaleM

Member
junebug said:
I know people who get their meds from vets. You can look up the dosage based on the concentration in the med you pick up.
Yeah I think that's what I'll do.

Looked at my fish today and I can't see evidence of callamanus or parasites, so I'm thinking bacterial

RIP Mr Cherry Barb. I went to the vets and they gave me Baytril (Enrofloxacin which is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic). But this one needs a hospital tank as you only float the fish in water containing the meds for 5hrs once a day for 5-7 days, so would be very difficult in a main tank unless you turned the HOBs off for 5hrs and then turned them back on with carbon inserted to remove the meds.

Anyway, I netted him from qt and transferred him to a container so I could do a 100% wc and the stress from that must have killed him.

The vet did open him up for me for free and he said no evidence of worms or callamanus, so it must be viral or bacterial. He said the air sac was very enlarged and black spots over the kidneys which just sounds like symptoms of the dropsy symptom to me.

The other fish look happy and active though and they got some spirulina flakes today to give them a break from the protein rich diet. So hopefully it will just be the two isolated cases and nothing else. I don't really want to dose my main tank if the fish aren't showing any symptoms, especially given the cost of the antibiotics!
 

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