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Malawi Bloat
by Marc Elieson (VatoElvis), Robin Lovell (Robin)
and T. Montgomery (GTZ)
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In addition to treating your tank with any of the above drugs, you should also add Epsom salt at the rate of 2 tablespoons per ten gallons. Dissolve it first and add it gradually over 5-6 hours time. Epsom salt is a natural laxative and will help your bloated fish lose some of the water it has been taking on. Epsom salt is very cheap, costing something like $2 for 3 lbs. It can be obtained from any grocery store or pharmacy. When performing water changes, as required for all medications, be sure to add water of the same salinity and temperature.

Treatment is deemed successful once the fish readily and quickly eats, no longer has any physical symptoms (pop-eye, bloating) and experiences multiple, normal bowel movements.

As with any medication make sure you observe your fish closely during treatment. If you notice the fish showing any adverse reactions to the medication, perform an immediate partial water change and seek further advice on what to do next. Periodic water parameter testing, including ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, is recommended during and following treatment.

Metronidazole
Be sure to maintain temperature and water salinity when performing all water changes.

Metronidazole dosed in food: In a disposable cup, dissolve 150mg of metronidazole in a tablespoon of tank water. Then add food pellets appropriate to the number of fish in the tank. After the pellets have soaked for a few minutes, pour all of the contents of the cup into the tank. Feed the fish this mixture for 5-10 days.

Metronidazole dosed in the water: Perform a 30-40% water change, vacuum, remove any chemical filtration and add 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt for every ten gallons of water, pre-mixed and added gradually over a period of 5-6 hours. Add 250mg metronidazole for every 10 gallons daily for 5-10 days with each dosage preceded by a 30-40% water change. If after 5 treatments you've noticed an improvement as well as a bowel movement, attempt feeding metro treated food, otherwise, wait 24 hours and begin treatment again, starting with a 30% water change. Remove any uneaten food after 5-10 minutes. If eating and bowel movements return to normal, continue the metro treated food for a further 3 days with water changes before each feeding.

Note: this dosage is stronger than what some manufacturers recommend for their product and therefore you may choose to go with what the package recommends, however many aquarists have not only found the above dosage safe and effective but have chosen to go with an even stronger dosage when dealing with bloat.2

Once you have concluded the treatment, gradually return the tank to normal salinity over a period of 5-6 hours via small partial water changes until approximately 100% of water has been changed and resume normal filtration.

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