Experiences with Dropsy in Goldfish
September 16, 2004
Most Popular | Fish | Science

Dropsy is one of the worst diseases goldfish can come down with. It's usually fatal. I hope this description of one goldfish that survived a bout of dropsy will help someone to save their fish. Fish are said to have the disease "dropsy" when they swell up and their scales stand out all over like a pinecone. As JoAnn the Goldfish Guru says, "Dropsy is a SYMPTOM of other problem(s) with the fish. Dropsy can be due to problems with the environment (water quality, temperature shock, alkalinity), parasites, bacteria or virus." Dropsy is apparently caused by bacterial infections and kidney failure.

Eggdrop in a happy moment. He has never been able to swim correctly, so he uses the bubblers to get around.

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Posted by ellen at September 16, 2004 10:31 AM

People get very attached to their fancy goldfish, and I am no exception. When my little oranda, Eggdrop developed dropsy I was very upset! I have already had one brush with the disease in my other goldfish, Tottle, who died within a short time after developing the characteristic pineconed scales. My attempts at treating Tottle were fruitless. He went straight into a decline and died. Unfortunately this is the usual course of the illness, so I am amazed that Eggdrop pulled through.

Eggdrop and Tottle

Treating Tottle for Dropsy

Tottle (short for "Aris-tottle") was a big, puppy-like oranda living in the same tank as Eggdrop and two other goldfish. Tottle was by far the biggest fish in the tank. At the age of 3, Tottle started to have more trouble getting to the bottom of the tank, and would swim in great vertical circles in order to reach the gravel, often ending up upside down at the bottom of the arc. At the time, I figured he was developing a touch of the swim bladder problems his brother Eggdrop has. Eggdrop's swimbladder problem is chronic - he was unable to swim well when we got him and never seemed to mind that much. But Tottle didn't seem to be adjusting to his new buoyancy problems. This condition remained constant for about 6 months, then one day, he suddenly flipped over and could not right himself. Within one day of flipping, he had developed a red spot on his belly and swelled up, and we put him in a hospital tank and started treating him with antibiotics. I think we used Naladixic acid and some Maracyn 2. I also removed the charcoal from the filter. Nothing I did made any difference - within a few days, he was totally pineconed, and died within a week.

Tottle with Dropsy - note the red spot on his belly, and pineconing.

In retrospect I believe removing the charcoal was not a good idea, since it meant the tank wasn't nearly as clean as it would have been usually. The charcoal really helps in removing a lot of the proteins and gunk from the water, and I've found tha t, the medicine remains in the tank anyway for quite a while - then I replace it to keep the dose high. I tested this by using an antibacterial bath that turns the water green, and watching how long it takes for the green to vanish. So despite the need to use more medications if the charcoal is not removed, I now believe that keeping the water sparkling clean, and keeping the bacteria levels down is of primary importance.

Eggdrop's Treatment

When Eggdrop began to show signs of the disease, I decided to do everything differently than I had with Tottle. I wanted to try all the things I had not yet tried, to make sure there wasn't some way this disease could be licked. I re-read everything available on Dropsy on the internet and in the book Fancy Goldfish by Dr. Erik Johnson and Richard Hess. Unlike Tottle, who first swelled up then developed pineconing, the first sign that something was wrong with Eggdrop was a few pineconed scales on one side. As soon as I saw that, I re-read the koivet.com articles on dropsy and The Goldfish Guru, Jo Ann Burke's description of how she cured dropsy in a ranchu. Dr. Johnson is much more pessimistic than Jo Ann about the chances of curing a dropsied fish, but he does say that you can try injecting antibiotics.

Following The Goldfish Guru's recommendations

Based on Jo Ann's article, I immediately raised the temp in the tank to 86 degrees F. I removed the gravel and cleaned the tank thoroughly. Then I put in some Antibac Bath I'd gotten from Goldfish connection. At first I removed the charcoal from the filter, but after a couple of days put it back in because I did not like how the water got scummy without it. I removed all the gravel, except for a small handful left for Eggdrop to chew on (he uses gravel to grind up his food). This was so that I could see every bit of debris in the tank, and suction it all out easily. The only ornament left in the tank was a PVC cylinder he uses as a "feeding station". When Eggdrop floats inside the cylinder, it holds him close enough to to the ground that he can easily reach pellets on the bottom easily. When he finishes eating, he paddles out of the cylinder, and pops back up to the surface of the water like a cork.

I also decided to try antibiotic injections as part of his treatment. Since I didn't know how to do this myself, I looked for a veterinarian who wouldn't laugh at me if I brought in a goldfish for treatment! I remembered seeing a sign for an animal clinic called "All Creatures Great and Small" and decided that included Eggdrop. I packed him up in his travel cooler and brought him in to the doctor's office. It turned out the vet, Dr. Lewis, does many reptiles and turtles, but hadn't treated many fish before. However I showed her the Fancy Goldfish book, gave her my tentative diagnosis based on Dr. Johnson's descriptions and we used the book's formulary to figure out the dose of Baytril he should get (.1 ml ). The book even shows good injection sites, and we decided on the tail as the most secure spot for an injection on Eggdrop's tiny body. Eggdrop was surprisingly cooperative. Dr. Lewis showed me how to do the injection, and sent me home with enough medicine for 10 days. She also told me that keeping the bacteria count in the water as low as possible was of utmost importance. Because of this I decided to do a partial water change every single day, and keep the tank spotless. I also rinsed his Emperor filter cartridge every couple of days.

However, despite the antibiotics and everything else, Eggie got much worse, and by the fifth day looked like he would die any minute. He was not at all energetic, and he would try to eat, but spit everything out again. He was completely inflated, like a puffer fish, with a big red spot on his belly. He looked awful! But after a day or so more, he started eating again. He was hungry! I tried feeding him some antibacterial pellets I got from GoldfishConnection.com but he didn't eat them, perhaps because they were a bit tougher than he is used to. So, instead, I fed him his normal food, which includes lionhead pellets (he has to be held down and run over them like a vaccuum), Cichlid sticks, which are easy to hand-feed to an upside-down fish, and peas.

Every day he would get a 30% water change and thorough tank cleaning. Every weekend he would get a 90% water change. I added Maracyn II to the regimen because it had once helped another one of my fish out with a serious infection, and it says it is indicated for dropsy on the package.

Finally, about two weeks after he inflated, Eggdrop's left side slowly started to deflate. At the same time, a sort of bump appeared on the deflated side near his "stern." It was reddish with a few scales raised around it. It looked like an open blister under the scales, almost as if the infection were coming up to the surface. I put him in a salt bath for a short time to try to heal the blister. Whether because of the salt bath, or because of its normal progression, after another day, it had almost disappeared, and that whole side looked much better although the scales were not perfectly flat still. It did look like he was beginning to recover, and I began to have hope. His right side remained totally dropsied yet he didn't look like he was dying. Every morning he nearly leaped out of the tank trying to get my atttention so I would feed him.

Relapse 1

Then I made what I think is a huge mistake - I put him in another salt bath, thinking that if it had helped once with the blister, it might help again. But immediately after the bath, he completely inflated again, and within a couple of days had developed a huge reddish-purple spot on his belly. I was kicking myself, although I am not sure it was the salt that caused it.. It is possible it was simply another flare-up of the infection. Eggdrop, however, seemed unperturbed, eating heartily and paddling around his tank.

After several days of him looking terminal again, slowly, very slowly, he began to deflate. The red spot faded then vanished. Then one day he developed little "bubbles" under his scales on his left side, exactly as described in Jo Ann Burke's page on dropsy. I decided to try to use a syringe to aspirate the excess fluid out of the bubbles. I could also see that the main swelling on his left side was an clearly demarcated cavity under the skin that appeared to be filled with fluid.

I was very surprised to find that mostly it was not liquid, but gas. I removed almost 2 syringes full of gas from his side, being very careful to angle the needle so that it would not damage any internal organs. He only seemed to mind the procedure once the gas was nearly gone - then he struggled, and I stopped. Removing the gas helped deflate him a little more, and after a few more days his scales on the left side had settled down, although that side was still a little scruffy looking.

At the suggestion of some goldfish experts on the goldfishparadise.com forum, I added some epsom salts for a few days, but I don't think they did much to help. I decided to give Eggdrop another round of shots. I asked the vet for Azactam which is stronger than Baytril, but she didn't have any on hand, and didn't want to order a whole $100.00 bottle just for Eggdrop! Instead, she gave me Baytril again and I gave him the shots every morning for 10 days. After a couple more weeks, he started looking a little bit better. His dropsied right side was still inflated and pineconed, but ever so slightly less. His "good" left side was definitely getting better now, and the red spot on his belly had disappeared. However, even on the good side there were still scales near the tail that were standing out.

The treatment I was doing at that point was mostly keeping the water extremely clean and the temperature high, plus the antibac bath and Maracyn II.

Eggdrop became quite active - at times he reminded me of a tiny outboard motor, since he hangs upside down and whirls his little fins, zipping around the tank. I was still very worried though, because the infection was still obviously active in some spots, and also because I had read on koivet.com that some fish survive dropsy for a month or so but finally become so edematous that their scales fall out.

But after about two more weeks, the right side also receded, and there was only a small patch of pineconing in the center of the swollen area. This side also developed bubbles under the scales, then that side really began to heal. Then finally I noticed that most of his scales were really laying FLAT again - not scruffy at all!! He looked better!

Relapse 2!

Then one day, he started to develop an ulcer, exactly where the old bump on his "stern" had been. As the ulcer enlarged, I started noticing a lot of blackish algae looking stuff in the tank. I believe he was casting off excess slime coat, in order to try to heal. It clogged the intake and filter pad, and I had to clean them both every day. Dr. Johnson recommends Melafix for ulcers, so I began adding Melafix to the water, and started up another round of both Maracyn II and Maracyn. I also applied hydrogen peroxide daily, using a q-tip. I found out later that I could have used iodine, according to Dr. Johnson.
The ulcer became larger, scales started to stand up near it and I was afraid he was a goner, but then it started to heal. This took about 5 days. All that remains of that ulcer now are some small brown marks on a few scales, like scars.

All his scales flattened again. But then about 1 week later, he developed a very small ulcer, right in the same spot. It never got very big, and I treated it with Melafix, Maracyn II and Maracyn, as before. It healed completely.

Since then, Eggdrop has been quite healthy. It has been about 3 weeks since there has been any further sign of illness. I still suction his tank every night, but am no longer treating him with any medications.

To read the story of Eggdrop, click here!


Postscript, about 6 weeks later: Sadly, Eggdrop died on October 29, in the early morning hours, while sleeping. He had no more dropsy problems, but may have developed an internal infection. I had noticed that for the last few days, when holding him still to feed him by hand, his belly felt "mushy", which is always a bad sign.
We'll miss him!
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Hi, my name is Joshua and I just want to say that I'm so sorry that Eggdrop died! I've read your Eggdrop story about once or twice a week because I thought it was a great story! I had almost become attached with him even though I've never even seen him directly. He seemed like a wonderful fish! May he rest in peace!

Thank you very much for your kind thoughts Joshua!

I'm very sad about Eggie, and think of him a lot. I hope he's surfing the bubbles happily wherever he is.

Unfortunately, you didnt just follow Jo Ann's (the Goldfish Guru) instructions. You tried to combine various different instructions from different people. Salt is absolutely contra indicated when a fish has dropsy. And multiple doses of antibiotics in the water is harmful to the fish, as is adding various other things. Only epsom salts is added to the water and, oxolinic acid, an antibiotic. And that can only be in the water for 3 days. It is the only antibiotic that is absorbed thru the skin. After 3 days the fish will absorb a lethal dose. It takes many months before oxolinic can be used again.
Fish that have dropsy will probably need to be in water kept at 84-86oF. Once they have dropsy they are susceptible to it happening again.

Thanks for your comments Ingrid - I am sure they will benefit other fishkeepers.


I know this is a few years old, but I'm very sorry for you loss. I'm so glad to hear your story. I am on my way to the fish store now. I believe my goldfish has dropsy. Thank you for sharing your story. Hopefully it will save many fish.

Hey, Sorry to hear about eggdrop :( I have just treated my fish (Cali) for Dropsy she just started showing the "pinecone" like symptoms today. I am hoping that she will become better and I can only hope for the best. She still eats and she swims around okay, she just seems to be having a hard time getting around. I love her and I am really attached to her. So everyone keep Cali in your prayers and hope for the best :)

Thanks so much for your experience, I've had success with 2 fish, however, I think I caught it early but need to keep vigilant.
Very helpful and thanks for taking the time to share and many thanks to Eggdrop *heart*!


I really admire your cotmittment to saving your beloved goldfish! Unfortunatley I don't think I will be as lucky with my lionhead named Big-Red. He has come down with a terrible case of dropsy and I don't think I caught is soon enough, when I noticed a major problem he was floating upsidedown I've started treating my tank with Maracyn -TC but I do think I was given the wrong medication by the pet store. He is barley breathing as I write this. His fins are frayed as well, if you have any helpful advice for me it would be greatly appreciated as I do have two other goldfish I would like to save! As for Big-Red I don't think he will last the night :(

Hi, I'm sorry to hear about your fish.

The best resource I've found on dropsy is here:


I have a little ryukin that is in a similar boat as Eggie was.

Despite his pineconing, he's still very active and eats heartily and now with the information your provided with Eggdrop's story, I am very hopeful about his recovery.

I am sorry you lost your fish but the information gained from your dedication to helping your fish is invaluable to other fish keepers.

Sorry for your loss, your efforts were very admirable. I had a small 3-4" butterfly koi that it's eye's were bulging & was also swelled up on both side's. I have tried heat & injections for this in the past without success, so with this fish I tried something I had an older koi keeper tell me to try. He told me to turn him loose in a mud pond full of algae, which I did not have. But I did have a swimming pool that needed a new liner & had some of the nastiest looking water in there you could imagine. Without other hope I put him in & in 4 day's I pumped the water out to change the liner figuring he would be dead for sure, but when I found him he was swimming normal his eyes had went back in and all swelling was gone. I put him in a clean tank & in about 3 days he swelled again & died two days later. but I've often wondered if I had kept him in there longer had he made a full recovery.

I am sorry about your loss. I found one of my comets to have swelling at both sides the other day. From yesterday to today he swelled up on both sides. I now have him in a hospital tank and am hoping for the best. I added epsom salt and am treating with antibiotic.He has a good appetite.

I have a calico goldfish named gus who didn't swim well from the beginning. When he started swimming upside down I thought it was gas. To be honest, when I bought Gus I thought he would only last a month and now he is two 1/2 years old. He has been laying on the bottom of my tank for 5 months. I just now found out there were medications.

Its probably too late. but he keeps fighting.

My fish Fatso died last night due Dropsy and I'm completely devastated. I really love him and miss him very much. I am so happy to have come across your page because I feel like you know exactly what I am going through. Also, I'm very inspired by your dedication, the extent of effort, you put towards curing your Eggdrop. In comparison I feel so useless for not doing much besides putting in tablets of medicine. I had not done my research well and poor Fatso had to suffer for it. I wish I had done more so that Fatso would still be alive today. =*( However, I was able to learn a lot from your posting. Thank you so much and I'm sorry to hear that Eggdrop has passed away. Condolences from one pet love to another.

Hi everybody. My poor goldfish...ok well he's a blackmoor but he lost his colour about a year ago which I thought was strange but oh well. Anyways, he hasn't been swimming well for the past few months and has just been laying on the bottom of the tank. He wiggles every now and then, and he's breathing just fine (no appetite for the last few weeks though, thought he was eating when I wasn't looking)...but tonight my boyfriend and I were downstairs and we saw him tilted over onto his left side...and his scales were all pineconed (pretty bad...it happened so quickly!) I'm so sad. I knew he's been going downhill for months but I didn't know he had dropsy because he wasn't bloated at all. I thought he was just getting old and that it was his time. But anyways, I've thrown him into a hospital tank away from the other fish with some antibiotics.

Unfortunately...I think he's pretty far gone with the pineconing and I don't think he will make it. :( Perhaps my fish Brutus will go join the Eggie and the others in heaven :)

My fish has dropsy right now and im freaking out! tomorrow im gonna go to a pet shop and look into getting maracyn one and two. Hes alot smaller than your fancy goldfish and it happened so fast too. Like i cleaned the tank on sunday and he swelled up and his eyes and scales popped out literally over night. My tank isnt heated and i have two gold fish. Its rather stressful. ugh! But its encouraging that you helped your fish. Dropsy is a terrible disease. I hate it.

im so sorry about egg drop. you truely care for fish and should remind yourself you did all you could. some think of fish as just fish. i know its hard when you feel so helpless to cure illness that you cant fully understand. your story reminds me of my fish Buba(large orange fantail) he suffered from swim bladder, ich, fungus, and some other parasite. i finally did cure him and he still happy and healthy to this day. The reason i was posting is i stumbled upon your story while searching for more information
on dropsy for my black moor(Filmore). He started out with a lump on his back after i started medication the lump opened into a sore and it ate away half of his dorsal fin. when i bought him he had only half of it anyway but it didnt look damaged at all just missing. the sore looks to be healing now but just this morning i saw he had the pine cone effect it scared me because he also looks very bloated. i was using melafix but switched to jungle dropsy meds and kept my carbon filter in. He is seperated from all the healthy fish but there are two others with him suffering from clamped fins. the medication says it will heal the clamped fins as well. maybe you could give me a suggestion on how to help him. i feel so bad for him i feel helpless. please if you think you may be able to help

Thanks for your story. I just had my 5 yr old goldfish named Deville diagnosed with dropsy. I feel really bad though, because he has had it for months and I didn't realize there was a problem.

I thought he was just getting big, and that was also why he was not moving around much. I also thought he might have just been constipated. It was not until I had a friend over that pointed out the scales sticking out that I realized there was more going on.

I realize I may have to put him out of his misery but It's very hard to just give up on him, it's amazing how attached we can get to a fish.

I realize it's probably to late, but I am going to try and do what I can. I just turned the temp. up to 84, and I am going to get some antibiotic food and kanaplex tomorrow and hope for the best.

If he does not show any sign of improvement within about 10 - 14 days I'm going to have to say goodbye for good. Although I am really on the fence as to the best way to euthanize him, I'm not crazy about the idea of freezing him or methods I have read so I may use the clove oil way.

Best of luck to anyone else dealing with this.

hi everyone.
back in july my 5yr old fantail, zippy came down with dropsy. after medication (interpet swimbladder treatment) which treats internal bacteria, doing daily water changes, he got better. now zippy and my moor (black un) were in a 20ltr tank when the disease struck, so when he had recovered i bought a 180ltr tank for them to live in a juwel rio 180. i spent my last penny on the tank and accessories. i was so happy when i placed them in their new tank. for the first 20 mins zippy stayed in an area no bigger than his old tank until he realised! this was back in july and ive been taking good care of the tank. the filters are cycled, i never over feed, and i do weekly 25% water changes with conditioned water and aquarium salt. anyway zippy has now come down with dropsy again. i noticed 2 days ago as he was wedging himself between ornaments in the tank, he was still eating though. only yesterday did i notice swelling so i began medicating again. he doesnt look well today, very twisted looking. im gonna keep medicating and hoping for the best. im devastated that he has taken ill again it will break my heart to lose him. good luck to anyone experiencing the same, my thoughts are with you

hello again folks. following on from my last post, im sorry to say zippy has died. only two hours on from my previous post in fact. he was in the corner of his tank when i noticed him, his gills were not moving nor his mouth so i put my hand into the tank and sure enough he'd gone. i hope he didnt suffer as he was contorted and bent in half literally. seeing him like he was before he died was horrible.people might see me crying over what they'd call "a fish" and think im stupid. he was not just a fish to me, he was a menmer of my family and i cared for him very much. ive buried him with his old tank mate george who passed a few years ago. god bless you zippy, i loved you and i hope ill see you again one day in that big fish house in the sky.

I am writing too as my fish has come down with dropsy. He's been swelled for a few days and I thought I was just over feeding him, however yesterday he swelled even more. I looked into his condition only to find out he has the illness fish families fear. It's 6am and as soon as the store opens I am getting some meds. I will hope he gets better but prepare myself for the worst. I accidentally killed 2 of my fish earlier this year when treating them for velvet. I learned from that and I will learn from this. However once again my heart is acheing and I have tears running down my face as I write this. I'm with Chris posted above, they're not just fish they're a living creature, a friend and companion who you grow to love. Cannibal is such a nice fish. He comes up to the glass and he opens his mouth when I do. We mimic eachother. I love him dearly.I feel for all you fish lovers who have or will go through this. I am not really religious but I say a little prayer for you. Sincerely Candice

Update to posting above. Cannibal died about an hour ago he sunk to the bottom of the plastic container I originally adopted him in. I watched him try to take his last breath but he could not make it to the top I tried to help him but he twitched and convulsed and that was it. I am so sorry he had to suffer but relieved that he is gone so he will not suffer anymore. I had him on a high area in a 2 gallon tank and never looked in the tank directly down at him so I did not see the pine cone appearance. I have cats so I tried to keep his lid with light on and fur out. I used cleaner with stress coat and aquarium salt and spring water for all my fish. He was treated just as my other boy splenden betta Haiku, and Haiku is fine. You just never know some things just happen and there is no rhyme or reason. I am very happy that his life with me was filled with fun, and lots of love. He did not die alone I was right there with him. I love animals so much that I am a vegetarian. I recycle, and compost and use the same bottle water to help mother earth.
Cannibal will never be forgotten because I will carry his spirit always.

I hate dropsy. It is so horrible to see fish lik that:(

If the cause is bacterial then also a compound named Nifurpirinol can be used. It is a derivative of furane. Also other derivatives can be used like nitrofurazone. This treats gram positive and gram negative internal and external bacterial infections. It is broad spectrum medication. In the Netherlands the brand is calles sera bactopur direct. I think in US its called for example furane-2. I think this does not cause the swellling to dissapear. Use epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) for this. Not sea salt or aquarium salt(NaCl)!

I am currently treating a dropsied oranda with much success, although I admit I must treat at least every other day or his wellness becomes repeatedly compromised.

I am using ONLY: WHITE OAK BARK and aloe vera from health food stores. You must make certain that there are no preservatives or additives to these products if you want to try them.

On September 22nd this fish was flipped near death. In desperation, I placed him in a basket in his own tank where he lives with two other fancy goldfish, broke open two capsules of white oak bark into a small container, mixed it with tank water and poured it directly over the fish. I repeated this every half hour hour for three hours. Then I went to bed. Next morning the fish was upright and wanted to eat. He was fed flakes from Goldfishconnection only -- no medicated food. Soon mucous material was observed pulling off his body. I added aloe vera to soothe them. He responded immediately.

That was 10+ weeks ago. He starts to pinecone if he does not receive the oak bark at least every other day (1 capsule per day per 40 gallons) Water changes require replacing the oak bark to keep the levels up (6-8 capsules or 2-3 per 10 gallons of water). If he seems to be "slipping" additional oak bark is added.

I do not know if he will ever be cured. The oak bark prevents internal bleeding and is not doing additional damage, so I will keep it up until it no longer seems useful.

Hope this helps somebody.

thank you for this... due to my hectic schedule i wasn't able to clean up my aquarium much often that caused my goldfish that has been with me for 2 years to bloat and puff its scales... researched what i can do about it and felt sad that your fish has to go... i guess I just have to wait for mine as well though I have been doing a lot of treatments... and I'll be sad if this happens... the fish has been with me for a long time... thank you for this story...

Last night my nine year old daughter was in tears, not consolable. Her beautiful goldfish "Sunset" has dropsy. It's my fault because I didn't replace the water on time. Our family is quite upset about this. I hope I can get antibiotics or salt going tomorrow and save him. Prayers, please. Or, whatever will save this little guy. He was a very different goldfish than the rest. I think you know what I'm saying. Thanks... thanks for the information, all.

Hi, my name is emma, im 18,and i live down under in australia :) gidday :(

I think that my beautiful, beloved pearl scale goldfish Jonsi has dropsy. she's less than a year old and i've always kept her tank in great condition. she has 3 tank mates, another pearlscale, Alfie and two Golden apple snails.

recently, i noticed a change in her behaviour. she seemed to have a swim bladder problem as she was having trouble getting to the bottom of the tank to eat, and was floating upwards a lot.
She would also hover at the top of the tank gasping for air, even though the other fish and snails didn't at all ... (i have an above water filter and a bubble disc on)
another early symptom i noticed, was the appearance of small broken capailiry-like blood dots in between her scales.

the last 3 days or so, she had gotten worse, she has no appetite or desire to chase food, her eyes are protruding more, she had lost her beautiful golden colour from the stomach up to mid way and is now a faded yellow-white tone about her... :( her stomach looks more round than usual (hard to tell as she's a pearlscale)

her scales seem to have pineconed all over...

I was up all night researching her condition, and dropsy is my conclusion. I went to the pet store 2 days ago about it, and they gave me melafix antibacterial medication for her which i have been adding to her tank every day since at the required dose.

tonight i figured she must be starving as she hasn't eaten in 3 days (i've tried peas, normal food, etc) so i moved her to a 'hospital feeding tank', which is a small temporary fishbowl i used to use for keeping pens in, i gave it a good wash!) i have the pump tube in there for airation....

moved her into this setup to try get ger to eat on her own without the competition of her greedy and swift tank make Alfie, but we had no luck at all. even if she bites onto some, she'll spit it back out again....

im terrified she'll die soon.... i love her dearly.
i have booked her into the 'all creatures' vet for tomorrow at 6:30pm , as none of the others seem to take goldfish seriously.... i dont care how much the treatment is, but i am saving for a trip to africa in may, and i was dismissed from my full-time job just today; to make matters worse. (the department is cutting jobs here... :[ )

is there anything i can do to help her feel more comfortable while i wait for the vet tomorrow? anything at all?

i've added destress formula to her water, so hopefully that will help....

ANY advice is mch apreciated....
and eggdrop sounded like such a lovely little fish :(my heart really goes out to you and him, as i now know just how worrying and heartbreaking it is to watch your best little friend die :(

xox, emma

my gold fish have got a bubble on its side it has only been there aboult a week .does he have dropsy as he didnt have this before i am veyy worried aboult him as i do have a number of fish in my tank. i look after my tank well.and i change 20% of the warter often please do let me know if this is a desase .and im so sorry to hear that your gold fish died

Hello,great post. As I can tell from the care and time you've put into your post and your fish, I would assume (sorry I didn't read your entire postings) your water quality wasn't the issue?!

My water quality is and always has been great. One easy way to tell is that my African Dwarf Frogs which live in the community tank aren't affected at all. They would be the first to suffer from poor water quality. And goldfish are the heartiest fish that I've ever had. They can survive some of the worst water conditions (although they never should have to).

The only difference I've made to my tank, is when I did my last water change, I used Prime instead of the usual stuff I use. I'm not sure if this has anything to do with it or not. But the very next day my largest goldfish, which is just a common goldfish that is gigantic in size, blew up. He's about 3 times wider than he normally is. Scales sticking out. But still swimming and scouring for food. I put him into a hospital tank with some jungle fungus eliminator in it, and give him some peas. He picked the pea up right away, so he still has his appetite, but he spit it out. Guess he didn't like that. All I can say is I hope he gets better. The kids sure like to watch this fish, as he's the biggest and fastest of them all.

So, it's 2010, and I just found this article. I decided to post a response because maybe it will help someone out there one day. Fish illnesses are hard to treat and even harder to cure entirely. I've had goldfish over the years who have had various diseases and in fact I'm on here because one currently has dropsy. Your information, overall, is pretty good. However, there's also alot of wrong moves you made, which I'm sure other people will comment about. One in particular and probably not common knowledge is "over-treating" or "over-medicating;" using several medications/treatments may work against your fish's success. Anyway, I'd like to just say that I've personally had sucess using Maracyn 2 to treat a bacterial infection and the fish showed immediate results, but later died (cause of death in that fish was suspected to be fish Tuberculosis, which I've read is uncurable). In addition to using a good antibiotic, and I would highly recommend following the instructions very carefully for administering them, you can also use salt as a general treatment (epsom salt or "uniodized rock salt"). Beware though, salt can harm the fish by destroying the slime coating and harming it's internal organs. However, salt can kill free floating bacteria and other simple organisms in the water. Additionally, good water quality and maintenance skills may help your fish. Lastly, and one of the biggest lessons I've learned is that fighting nature is a losing battle. In most of my experiences in trying to cure a fish of an illness it usually dies. Nature has its own agenda and referring to your article, and even though you showed great tenacity, nature won that battle.

So sorry about Eggdrop, hope this can help someone else not have to go through what you did...I've "cured" two of my goldfish with this method that I happened upon by accident (tried to end my
fishes misery but at the last minute I couldn't
do it) I had put my fish in the grass & went inside
because I couldn't stand to see my fish die.. after at least 3-5 minutes I looked out the window and the fish was still flipping around so I ran out and put it back in the pond.. within a few days I noticed that it was doing ALOT better, within weeks all symptoms had vanished.... 6 months later...another one of my fish started getting symtoms so I took it out of the pond for a few minutes and it worked once again.. it sounds crazy but it really worked for my fish!!
Hope this can save someones fish...
Sharon in Appleton Wisc

This is really a touching n encouraging story for those of us fishkeeper. All of the stories. And I'm one of them. I had one if my fish died this morning from dropsy! Very heartbreaking! I've tried maracyn, melaflix, salt bath, Epsom salt. Dont seem to work as now I want to give up the rest of two of my goldies. Believe it or not, tears came down on my cheecks while reading you all stories, reminding me with my fancy goldfish that died this morning. I can't believe it, comparing how he was before he died. Its very fast to be happening. I cried all night until he died, such a relief! But hating myself for not knowing what to do bout it!!!! But know I believe he's in happiest place ever been in heaven swimming around with others.

Eggdrop' story inspires me. i read the story i know it happened a long time ago, but we still have our lovely pets in our minds and hearts. i read every one of the stories and i know what everyone of you feel. I love my fish and i want them healthy. I bought 4 goldfish in 2002, one of them died because i didn't know how to take care of the tank. It was very painful when i found him dead floting on top of water. My second fish died of dropsy and kidney failure. One of the factors that cause this problem is to feed fish with floating pellets basically dried food, because it has air and when it's inside of the fish, it starts causing health problems. since i read about the dried food issue i started feeding them frozen worms, shimp and others and all my fish improve significantly and the tank looks clean for 2 week, and it used to get cloudy in less than 8 days when feeding dried food. but I lost cabez a year ago and now i have one of my fish with the same problem dropsy, i guess that's the problem because his body looks a little bigger and pinecone he acts normal, i am so sad to see this happening, i know it's probably the consequences of feeding them dried food in the past. i will try to rescue him, i am being very careful with what i am doing in my tank because the quimical can be very harmful too. i will try to put him on the grass for 1min and then put him back in the acuarium and see what happend. i love my fish , they always make me feel welcome and they recognize me, some people say that goldfish has 5 sec memory i don't beleive that , my fish know me and they show me happiness with their body lenguage, please pray for my fish and for God to help me to do the right thing. thanks for sharing everyone:)

I love my fancy goldfish. I think she has dropsy. Just started tonight. I put her in a hospital tank and will go get meds tomorrow when they open. I am so sad that she is sick. I hope I caught it soon enough. She is still swimming and eating peas. I love her with every piece of my heart. Franchesca needs prayer. :(

So sorry about your fish! But I just read this story, and it makes me feel better that I euthanized my dropsied pearscale this morning. Him being a pearlscale, I didn't notice the dropsy until it was too late, so despite some medicine in the tank for three days, he was only getting worse. He had blisters on his face and under scales and I didn't want him to suffer. So I put him in a ziplock bag with a 1/4 cup (he was less than an inch long)tank water and put him in the freezer. Then I shed a few tears and got a hug from my husband.

Try taking the fish OUT of the water for a few
minutes it has worked for TWO of my fish...
I don't know exactly how it works but what
have you got to lose??
Good Luck

dears....sorry for all your loss.
my fish now have the same problem with the dropsy...i use hospital bath , salt , ampicillin , keeping temp to 30c , and now we are in the second day.
i think only the raise of heat will treat them.

The feeding pipe is a great idea! I used plastic seaweeds tied in a loop to keep my goldfish down for a few days. Looked fine, until I released it and was shocked to see dropsy! Apparently the plastic leaves worked their way into the goldfish soft body as it tried to wiggle out. About a month later, dropsy remains. However, using indian bay leaves and general tank salt seems to have helped the bladder problem. Now the fish is upside down midway the tank. Don't know how to treat the infection problem though. Belly seems softer, hard to tell. That fish has been so strong from day 1.

I have a 20 gallon fish tank with six fishes(kois and goldfish) and I wanted a fish feeder for when I go on vacation which is normally about ten days. I used this item and it worked perfectly. You just have to program it for the time of day you want the fish to be fed and it can feed up to two feedings at a time . What happens is the drum just makes two rotations and drops the food. Setting up the feeder is like programming your digital watch so just follow the instructions and all will be fine but dont lose the paper. I t also works with batteries so you dont have to worry about power outages......just what I wanted
Rating: 5 / 5

well, I know I have no chance to save my bettas. Yup, bettas. I came across your thread, searching for the chances of fish ever surviving dropsy.

My male was constipated, and now has dropsy. The female was bullied by the other females in the sorority to a point her eye bubbled from being rammed, and her organs were damaged. Both are still colored up, acting normal, active, and begging for food. So, I thought, worth a shot to try for them... I owe it to them to try, don't I? so I've been using epsom salt and maracyn 2, plus soaking fresh mealworm meat in medication so that they can take it internally faster, plus avoiding pellets to avoid the pellets expanding and making it worse...

no idea if they'll live, but hey, if it's not worth trying then why keep fish :)

Hey I am sorry about tottle and eggdrop. Losing a good friend is never easy. I feel for you. I have a ryukin that has swim bladder and a swollen belly or abdomen. He is still very active and eats like a horse. Any ideas? I feed him peas and veggie pelets and flakes for fiber. I use epsom salt, I may go to the vet and have him xrayed. Any comments will be appreciated. Again Im sorry for your loss.

My Gold fish had Dropsy and is now completely cured :) . Here is what i did:

1. Stop the carbon filter, or remove the carbon during the entire course of treatment. Add 1 pack of E.M. Erythromycin. This comes in pack of 200mg. This is one of the best antibiotic for Dropsy
2. Do a 25% (not any more) water change after 24 hours. Add Bacterial supplement to the water. Also add 1/8th of a teaspoon of Epsom salt per 5 gallon.
3. Add another 200mg of Erythromycin.
4. Repeat this for 8 days.

Has anyone actually tried taking the sick fish out
Of water for a few minutes, the one I cured was so
Bloated it was totally a pine cone and could no longer
Swim, I've cured two fish, I know it sounds strange but
Could some else try it and post after a few days with
Their results?????

Wish I had tried Sharon's method.our Ben gave up last night and had been suffering for many weeks upside down,bloating,lack of appetite and what looked like bruising as well as the pine cone effect.we tried aquarium salt with swim bladder treatment which worked to start with but then he got sick again so we tried internal bacteria treatment,water changes and then swim bladder treatment again but nothing seemed to help him.yesterday he looked really poorly and had developed lumps on top of the scales on his abdomen.he never made it through the night.he belonged to my mum and we adopted him when she took ill and we have had him ten years so we guess he was at least twelve years old.you can imagine how attached we were to him.he was quite a large fish too approx 9 inches long.we're gonna miss him


Someone please help me !!!! I am trying to manage a small indoor fish pond at the school I wpork at. I have one goldfish(common) that has a distended stomach on one side. Her scales are ok and she's eating fine and has no problem moving around. I change and treat the water once a week and have mastered the feeding schedule and amount. But, I am concerned that the one fish will begin to have a problem. What can I do to prevent her from getting worse. HELP.......!!!!!!!!

I have an outdoor pond with about 15 goldfish. The oldest one "mama fish" is now 9 yrs old. They hibernate through the winter and all of the fish except "papa" are her children. She responds to her name and is very maternal. This spring I noticed that one of the fish was swollen and developing the telltale pine cone look which I knew to be symptomatic of Dropsy.Steps taken: 1-Separated the fish to a controlled environment,(6 gallon bucket filled with the same water and aquatic plants from the pond). 2-Treated water with melofix/3mg. 3-inserted a bubbler 4- added pond salt. I continued to add melofix for 7 days- then did a 25% water change.The fish had not died nor had he been healed, but his scales were a wee bit flatter.Waited a week then again began the melofix treatment. Daily scooping a fresh amt of water into his bucket. After the 3rd round of melofix I added epsom salts instead of aquarium salt. It has been over a month now. He begins to improve and then declines. It has been very hot lately, no rain to top up the pond with. Everyone is struggling to breath. Last nite the sick fish was floating on his side in the bucket. I decided to place him in the upper pond/on his own: the lower pond is where the fish are...it is 4.5ft. deep. The upper pond is 12-14" deep and flows into the lower one. I thought " Be happy in the pond and die peacefully little guy. He really isn't all that little. He is 7"long. I held him in the water moving him back and forth gently to encourage gill function. In the morning i expected him to be dead, but there he was quietly resting under some lily pads. I treated the upper pond with "Tetrapond, pond fish treatment",according to the directions and then added 1/4 cup epsom salts. I inserted the bubbler into the water also.I will let you know tomorrow what happens. I never thought that this disease would hold on so tight!! I will explore the reasons, that could have been the contributing factors, resulting in this terrible disease... at another time.. feedback is so appreciated.

Is She OK? Is she constipated? Apply gentle pressure to the area... massage gently. Some of our fish have responded well to this therapy. Make sure your hands are clean and detergent free before touching the fish.

This site has been the best place that I've found for finding real life situations and brain storming about Dropsy. Eggdrop was a great story...we love our fishy friends. Thank you Ellen, for providing this site. Sincerely Toby.

Ellen thanks for accepting my story. Today "Pickles" is still hanging on to life with great determination. He is swimming happily in the upper pond but his swelling has increased. So i followed Sharon's advice and brought him out of the pond for about 2 min. I held him and examined his body for abscess,instead i found blood excreting from his gills. I placed him back in the pond and continued to massage his whole body encouraging gently the excretions. I rubbed him down with epsom salts and placed a small amt. of epsom salts in front of his mouth under the water so that he could ingest some. massage cont. holding him under the water for about 5 min. I cont. to remove the blood excretions from his gills. Trying to keep the blood from entering the pond. His swelling has decreased significantly. The pond is not feeding into the lower pond, for fear that if his tainted blood transfers the other fish may ingest the contaminated blood from Pickles. He has not eaten in a very long time. I will force feed him tomorrow. I will treat both ponds with "Tetra pond fish treatment{" tonight to ward off the transfer of bacterium. Gently in dose!!! Till tomorrow Ellen. Thankyou so much again. Dropsy is soooo awful....Perhaps we will figure this disease out. Almost two mnths later Pickles is still fighting!
Toby ox

Hello Ellen. it me again 2 days later. Pickles is still alive. He is swollen again. I have not force fed him. I do not want to stress him. After treating the pond with tetrapond fish treatment, the pond developed an oily film on the surface. I am not positive but evidence suggests that the pond lily's have reacted to the treatment. I absorbed most of the oils using clean cloths like a net. The fish have been lethargic and need fresh water added often which perks them up for a while. I will leave the pump running tonight hopefully Pickles will be safe from predators tonight. He seems happy in the upper pond.He is very good at hiding under the aquatic plants. Should i treat him again with the epsom salts? It seemed to reduce his swelling, but it also could compromise His fins. Any advice is welcome!

Hello Ellen,
Toby again.....the summer passed "Pickles" lived happily in the upper pond throughout the season. His symptoms of dropsy continued living with him. 3 months he survived. I was happy to see him eating and swimming. I was about to begin to treat him with "Cipro", but the nite before raccoons scooped him out of the pond and left him unmolested on the grass. He was discovered in the morning sleeping peacefully in death. I suppose this is the end of the story of "Pickles" I want to thank you again for the encouragement your site provided.Those of you interested in researching this disease further, explore the scientific research site. It was very interesting, apparently neosporin and cipro were the only drugs that were effective in the treatment of dropsy. Take care everybody. Bye!

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