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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently lost the only male in my colony to what I thought was bloat. He didn't eat and was hiding in the rockwork. The next day when he didn't eat I started treating the tank with Metro. Then again the next morning. That evening when I got home from work he was puffed up to twice his normal width and very lethargic. At this point I pulled all the rocks and netted him and put him into a hospital tank with some more metro and epsom salt. He died shortly after that. I figured it was bloat, but I have read some other articles that make it seem it could be dropsy.

So, my question is, how do you tell if it's dropsy or bloat?

And, how do you treat each?

Thanks,
w
 

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dropsy effects the swim bladder and balance of your fish and eventually makes it topple over on its side and die. You can usually tell if your fish has dropsy if the fish drops to the substrate and sits there. When it does move it will do the same thing swim and drop to the substrate. All the cases of dropsy i've seen the stomachs were imploded not exploded like bloat.
 

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The 'bloat' label is often applied to different diseases or parasitic conditions. Sometimes there's swelling involved, sometimes not. The bloat that results in swelling of the body cavity is also called 'dropsy'. It can get confusing.

Dropsy is a symptom of an illness and may be difficult to diagnose. It does cause the fish's body to swell or 'bloat'. Once that happens, damage has been done to internal organs and it's usually not treatable.

The 'bloat' that's usually talked about with tropheus is often something different. The fish's body may not swell up at all. Cause is uncertain, but is a parasitic/bacterial flareup in the intestines. You can find a treatment method here in the illness section.
 

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Early symptoms of bloat are loss of appetite, rapid breathing, and white thin feces. The cichlid will also often become more reclusive and shimmy. If the disease is allowed to progress other symptoms may appear such as a swollen abdomen, skin ulcerations and red marks around the anus. It is very hard to save cichlids that are showing these later symptoms and they usually die within 1-3 days. (With or without treatment, though odd ones do pull through esp if isolated)

Did you have any of the early symptoms before the fish swelled up?
I mean the white feces mainly, loss of appetite is common to both.

All the best James
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have seen bloat before. About three months ago, I had 16 juvies that I was growing out in a mixed tank (julies, calvus, brichardi) and lost all but 6 of them to bloat. They had the lethargy, sucking in food and spitting it out, and the classic "stringy white poo". The male was in an all troph tank with 9 other wild caught females and about 12 babies (I wised up and started letting them spit in the tank). He didn't show any symptoms except lethargy and not eating. He hid out in the rockwork for a day and wouldn't eat, which set off alarms as to what was going on. He never showed the stringy white poo symptom and it didn't take 3 days to die. He was happy one day and by the end of the second day he was swollen up and died. I keep the water pristine, I feed spirulina, and nothing had changed in the tank. The only thing I can think of that may have happened was a female that had been holding spit and I only found 2 babies when I pulled the rockwork, which leads me to believe that he may have eaten the other babies and gotten sick from that. So, when I read about dropsy causing the fish to "pine cone up" and swell, etc, I thought it might have been that. I know what to do about bloat and how to prevent it, but is there any info on prevention (most importantly) and secondarily about cure for dropsy? Thanks for all the responses!
PS - It's been a few weeks and none of the other fish died or showed similar symptoms so I think I am in the clear. Just need a new male to get my breeding going again :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So, if there is no cure for dropsy, what do you do to prevent it and what are the underlying causes?

I have UV in sump, I keep my nitrates never much more than 20ppm (end of week before water changes), the gravel is vacuumed weekly and I don't overfeed. So, unless he ate the babies and got sick, I really don't know what caused him to die.

It's frustrating because he was the only male in the tank (he killed the sub-dominant male a few months after I bought the colony), and now my breeding has ground to a halt, and I have the added hassle of having to find another suitable male and the tricky bit of getting him to fit into an established colony.

Thanks for all the great insight on this issue!
 

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My experience with dropsy is that one fish in a tank can get it, and it doesn't necessarily affect the rest. It is said to be a product of tanks that aren't clean enough, but since one fish can get it alone, I question that. The fish essentially holds water and keeps getting bigger until it looks like a pinecone. Death generally follows soon after that. From what I have read the cause is believed to bacterial, but the effect is obviously a condition brought on by the failure of organs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I guess I'll file this under "one off fluke" and not spend too much time worrying about it then. I keep the tank really clean (weekly vacuuming the gravel, once monthly moving all rockwork and vacuuming under that, and 50%-75% water changes weekly depending on nitrates). In the process of getting another male.

Thanks for all the helpful feedback!
 

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I hear dropsy is usualy due to disease that causes organ failure and the fish swells due to osmosis unable to maintain equelibrium by expelling enough water. Organ failure I guess could be just one of those things that happens to odd fish without disease (unless old age is a disease :wink: ). It is linked with poor conditions as are most fish diseases. I have seen it in old fish in good conditions too. Every fish has to die of something eventually after all. :oops: :)

Do Marine fish ever get dropsy?
If so the theory above is bunk. :oops: :)
 
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