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Help! Early signs of dropsy?

Discussion in 'Coldwater Illness and Disease' started by eraagne, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. eraagne

    eraagne AC Members

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    I swear my telescope goldfish's eyes are swelling. Also he has some marbling. I'm slowly adding salt to the water to help. And have a heater I could set up. I'm going to put the plants in a bucket.

    He lives in a thirty gallon but it has low filtration. I'm getting a second bigger filter for him on Thursday. (He lived in a 10 gallon a week or two ago) I tested the water with some test strips and the ammonia is good it reads 0. Nitrite is probably between 0 and 0.5. So a bit high. I'll vacuum and do a water change to try and lower that.

    He's been doing some surface gasping and his head and gills looked dark orange - red, and his tail possibly ragged. It's hard to tell it's my first goldfish. So I was concerned but not worried. However the change in eyes size which is pretty even on both has me worried.
     
  2. geekboy

    geekboy AC Members

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    My guess would be that the 30 gallon hasn't established (cycled) completely yet, which explains the nitrite reading. Any measurable nitrites are a concern, as it is the most harmful of the byproducts in the nitrate cycle. It's also the slowest to process, as the bacteria to process it is slow to develop.

    Gasping, and darkening orange/brown gills are both possible symptoms of nitrite poisoning. Your choice to add salt should help buy some time. If you still have the old tank set up, perhaps you can use part of the filter media / ornaments / gravel to help "seed" the beneficial bacteria that is still lacking to process the nitrite. You should ensure the water is well aerated as well -- an airstone or two is always welcome, especially if the gills have been damaged.

    The swelling and possible ragged fins both suggests a secondary infection that may need attention with other medications -- but your main concern should be ensuring water quality. Frequent water changes are your best defense. It may seem to sabotage your efforts to "cycle" the tank, but may be the only way to keep your fish alive. If you want an alternative next time around, do some searches for "fishless cycling".

    Perhaps if you can update us on the state of your fish, and maybe take a picture or two, somebody will have some suggestions for other medications. Good luck!
     
  3. mel_20_20

    mel_20_20 AC Members

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    I would do frequent water changes, big ones, until you have 0 nitrite and 0 ammonia. If possible, get Prime, by Seachem, to condition the water and use even in between water changes to help detoxify any traces of ammonia or nitrite. The cycling process will continue even with frequent water changes, because there are always traces of ammonia and then nitrite in the tank, even when the liquid test kit doesn't show detectable levels.

    The best thing right now is keeping the water pristine so he can recover. He may have developed an aeromonas infection which can manifest as bulging eyes, or "pop eye". Clean water may clear this up without antibiotic treatment.

    I would also get a good liquid test kit. API Master is a good one. Strips are very unreliable and most often you can't really count on getting accurate readings. The liquid kit saves a ton of money in the long run, too.

    Adding the salt will help with the nitrite poisoning, but you really must do some really frequent and big water changes to help your sick little guy. Geekboy's advice is on the money.

    I hope he feels better, soon.
     
  4. eraagne

    eraagne AC Members

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    It's the same filter but I think I allowed some of the bacteria colonies die because I didn't think to add it right away. I thought just frequent water changes would be enough or something until I got a bigger filter. It was really dumb. *sigh*

    Anyway I'll try to keep the water clear and keep using a bit of salt to help gill function.

    And I plan to get a master test kit next week. >.> I've just been holding of because it's so expensive. And I wasn't sure API was a good one until I joined the forum.

    I also bought a little bottle of melafix. Should I add a bit of that or just return it to the store?
     
    #4 eraagne, Aug 18, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010
  5. geekboy

    geekboy AC Members

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    Many medication can complicate water quality issues. Most will displace oxygen and make it harder for fish to breath (making an airstone a must). Antibiotics will interrupt or set-back the cycle in a tank, causing even more severe ammonia and nitrite spikes. You would probably be looking at water changes on a daily basis just to keep the water from becoming deadly, and forced to redose the meds more often because of the water changes.

    I would stick to focusing on clean water. Get a good test kit, and check the water often enough to make sure you are staying ahead of any build-ups. Monitor the fish for change, and save medicating as a last resort.

    That said, Melafix wouldn't be my first choice in antibiotic, but it is inexpensive and reasonably safe to use if you already have it. It might at least address fin rot. I've been more partial to a combination of Maracyn/Maracyn 2, or Kanaplex. These would stand a better chance of working against pop-eye, in my opinion. Others may have more experienced suggestions for treating that particular problem.
     
  6. eraagne

    eraagne AC Members

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    I was going to buy the maracyn and found it relatively cheap. But the person I was talking to suggested melafix and it was cheaper and a bit safer. I'll prob return the bottles I bought on monday when I go up there again. And if his condition worsens I'll buy maracyn.

    I had to toss my aged water because to many plants were getting into it. (I keep it in a big rubbermaid outside but there were tiny hole in the handles.) I taped to holes so now it should be better. So I'll recondition some more water.

    In the meantime I'll add some of that anti nitrite chemical . . . or would that just disturb oxygen more then stop nitirite.
     
  7. eraagne

    eraagne AC Members

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    So I came into some money early this week, from watching a dog, and I went and got the master test kit today. The strips were way off. But you guys probably knew that. The nitrite is probably 2.0 though the colors confuse me a bit. I'm going to do a massive water change, maybe 90% and see how that goes.
     
  8. Somervell

    Somervell AC Members

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    I'll put my vote with Maracyn as well, if the water changes don't help. I have used it on popeye on goldfish on several occasions with great success. (And yes, the water parameters were normal in those cases-- must have been some kind of odd bacterial infection.)
     
  9. eraagne

    eraagne AC Members

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    Thanks. I'll do that if he doesn't get better after the water changes. I'm hoping the changes will really help because the nitrite was so high! And because I have to carry the water up the stairs one bucket at a time. So they better work. *shakes fist*

    Ah the joys of fish keeping. :D
     
  10. geekboy

    geekboy AC Members

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    Since you mention hauling buckets, and we have you in the spending mood, you might look at purchasing a Python water changer. :)
     

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