You want your gourami fish to thrive in your fish tank. However, these fish can sometimes come down with certain types of illnesses.
One issue that causes a lot of concern is known as dropsy. If you see your fish swimming around in the tank in an unusual fashion, then there’s a chance that it might have dropsy.
Is this going to be something that you can treat? What does having dropsy mean for the gourami fish?
Keep reading to learn everything that you need to know about dropsy in gouramis. This will help you to understand what you need to do to protect your gouramis and get them healthy again.
What Is Dropsy?
Dropsy is a condition that is associated with fish having swollen bellies. The belly of the fish will look as if it has dropped down when it has dropsy.
You might not be familiar with this term. Many people simply refer to dropsy as bloat because it’s a more common word.
Fish get dropsy when they’re exposed to certain types of bacteria. The bacteria will cause the fish to bloat, and it can also lead to many other symptoms.
It’s normal for dropsy to cause issues with swim bladder disease as well. When a fish has a swollen belly, it’s going to press against the swim bladder.
This causes the swim bladder to malfunction which makes it nearly impossible for the fish to swim. If you see the fish swimming upside down or struggling to move around at all, then it is likely having swim bladder issues.
Why Do Gourami Fish Get Dropsy?
This is a disease that usually only impacts fish with compromised immune systems. Fish get stressed when they deal with problems in the fish tank.
Water parameter issues will be the most common cause of stress. Many types of gouramis don’t do well when kept in dirty water.
You need to keep the fish tank clean and do regular water changes. It’s also imperative to monitor the pH balance and temperature of the water.
These fish get stressed when the fish tank is overcrowded, too. Try to limit stress so that the gouramis won’t get sick.
If the gouramis do get stressed, then they will be more likely to get infected. This can lead to conditions such as dropsy.
Poor nutrition is also a known cause of dropsy. If you aren’t feeding the gouramis properly, then they’ll be more likely to get sick.
You should be feeding the fish twice per day. Also, you want to give the gouramis a varied diet that gives them all of the nutrients that they need.
Healthy fish rarely have issues with dropsy. This means that you can prevent this condition by simply doing your best to care for your gouramis.
There are many dropsy symptoms that you can look out for. The most obvious one will be the large and swollen belly of the fish.
You might also notice that fish with dropsy will have bulging eyes. Some of the scales of the gourami fish might stick out and start to resemble pinecones.
Often, gouramis that have dropsy will have their gills start to look pale. The anal region of the fish might become red and swollen, too.
The feces of the fish will look much different than normal. Your gouramis will start to produce stringy stool that will come out with a pale appearance.
Eventually, the fish might develop ulcers on their bodies. Usually, this will happen along the lateral line.
Of course, there are more standard symptoms such as general lethargy. Your fish likely won’t appear to have much energy at all when it has dropsy.
It’ll also lose its appetite. Your gourami fish might stop eating after a period of time has passed.
How to Treat Dropsy
Your gouramis can recover from dropsy if you give them the right treatment. However, it’s not always going to be easy to cure the fish.
Some choose to euthanize fish that get infected with dropsy. This is usually done to prevent the infection from spreading to other fish in the tank.
If you wish to treat the fish, then you should move it to a quarantine tank as soon as possible. You should add aquarium salt to the water as instructed by the package.
You don’t want to add too much aquarium salt. It’s important to use just the right amount since too much can be detrimental.
Normally, experts recommend treating the fish using antibiotics. There are a few ways that you can go about giving the medicine to the gouramis.
You can give them antibiotics by feeding them food that contains the medicine. It’s also possible to put the medicine directly into the water.
While looking after the gourami fish, it’ll be necessary to keep feeding it high-quality foods. It needs good nutrition to be able to bounce back from this disease.
You should also test the water in the quarantine tank regularly to keep the parameters in check. It’s important to do everything that you can to give the fish a shot at recovering.
Dropsy is a serious condition that could indeed lead to the death of your gouramis. Sadly, it’s a contagious disease that can spread if you don’t act quickly.
You’re going to want to learn to recognize the signs of dropsy. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to determine that something is wrong due to the fish having a swollen belly.
There are other things that can cause fish to have swollen bellies such as constipation. So look out for the other dropsy symptoms so that you can be sure what is happening.
Quarantine the fish and do your best to treat it. Any sick fish should be removed from the main tank and placed in a quarantine tank.
If you treat the fish properly, then it might make a full recovery. It isn’t guaranteed that this will happen, though.
The best thing to do is to prevent the fish from getting dropsy in the first place. Only immunocompromised fish get diseases such as dropsy.
You should be able to keep your fish healthy by eliminating sources of stress, monitoring the water conditions carefully, and feeding them a healthy diet. If you are a proactive fish owner, then hopefully you’ll never have to deal with your fish getting dropsy.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.