Gourami developing dropsy... is epsom salt bad?

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NeonJulie

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This morning I went to do a water change, and was surprised to find my gourami's pale part of his belly, pineconing a little. I did a thorough water change, but he is clearly in distress. He doesn't seem quite normal in control of his swimming, bobs a little bit in the current. He seems to be sipping air from the top about 2-3x much as he normally does. I have no salt to try because I ran out and the stores are closed today, so I dissolved 1 tbsp of pure epsom salts in the new water and added slowly. That was about 3 hours ago. I'm not sure he's looking better - I think he might be swelling worse. Should I do a water change and remove the epsom salts? Should I try table salt if that's all I have? Any other ideas? He was doing so well, next month was coming up on his 1 year. :/

I tested for ammonia, there isn't any, all the other parameters are what they usually are, ph is about 7.2 and steady, nitrates well there shouldn't be much since over the course of an hour I did several partial water changes. I don't trust my test so I'm not sure how many ppm it actually is. I had gone away on vacation for just over a week and have been back for 10 days, but had done a thorough water change beforehand, and premeasured food amounts for the sitter, and everyone looked good (if a little skinny) when I got back. The last water change before today was done last Saturday, a 50%.

Is there anything I can do for my poor guy? I didn't have any cucumber or spinach, so I got some of my mom's dark romaine and washed it, and have it in the tank for him, hoping maybe he's just gotten a bit irregular. :(

Thanks for any help.

12g tank.
1 dwarf gourami, 2 otos, 8 neons.
 

NeonJulie

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He's rolling a little already... what happened...
 

NeonJulie

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Well I guess I don't need anymore assistance. Thanks anyhow for everyone's help with this guy - he made it through pimples and other things and for a while he had a great life eating and such. Poor gourami.
 

Jayhawk

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That was a pretty quick end there. I'm sorry you lost him. I'm guessing it was an internal bacterial infection. Or, could be fish TB - I personally think many DGs come in with fish TB and with an otherwise healthy fish the disease can take significant time to cause symptoms.

Eric
 

pinkertd

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Sorry you lost the gourami. If you found him already pine-coned today, he's had the dropsy infection for a while. By the time the fish starts pine-coning, it's too late to treat, that's the last symptom before the perish. Generally even if you start to treat with meds at the early signs of dropsy, it's probably a futile cause. Some say dropsy is a result of internal organ failure, the fish bloats with it's own fluids inside. The exact cause is still really unknown and so is a cure. You didn't hurt him any or make him worse by adding epsom salts. Epsom salt is usually treatment used for a distended abdomen that is associated with bloat from overeating, etc. It works as a laxative on the fish and cleans their gastro-intestinal tract out. There's never any pine-coning with plain old bloat of this sort.
 

Lupin

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Sorry about your loss, NeonJulie.

I agree with Debbi. It doesn't sound like fish TB to me, just a simple case of dropsy.
 

Jayhawk

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Dropsy isn't a disease, though. It's a symptom and has multiple etiologies...mostly internal bacterial infections of which fish TB is one such infection. However, having recently lost a DG myself to symptoms exactly the same as NeonJulie reported, I did some searching this evening and found this article:

http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/pfk/pages/item.php?news=1139

Apparently, DGs have a virus named after themselves (Dwarf gourami iridovirus - aka - DGIV) that presents with symptoms including:

"The affected fish stopped eating, sometimes had a distended abdomen and, internally, an enlarged spleen, reddened intestine and a clear amber fluid in the body cavity."

So...in this case it appears likely that a DG with such bloating is not treatable because it's likely a virus. 22% of DGs in Australia had DGIV infections and there is little reason to think DGs in other parts of the world are better off. So, treating with antibiotics is only likely to create resistant bacteria in a tank which could be a problem for any survivors.

Eric
 

NeonJulie

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I just wanted to thank you guys for your help and support. It was a total shock to me, since he's looked pretty much perfect until yesterday morning, and in about 3 hours it was over. It was such a shock. :/ I'm glad to know it wasn't anything I did, that is a big comfort to me. I'm debating whether I will get another one... I've lost 2 now and that was a super rough day. (Although the tank is SO empty without them. :( ) I may try a beta instead in the future?

As for the rest of the fish, the 8 neons and 2 otos, they all appear completely fine as far as I can tell? I have used negative and positive gram antibiotics in the past to try and clear up cloudy fins 8 months ago, but I never saw any thing work and I'd be leery to try again unless I knew exactly what bacteria and medication. :/ Diagnosis and treatment is so difficult. I still can't believe how sudden this happened, but thanks, at least I know I'm not the only one and it wasn't something I did. Poor guys...
 

fishorama

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Maybe a honey gourami, although it'd probably be good to wait a while. I wonder if other similar species are susceptible to the virus (yet?). At least it was fast & your other fish are ok.
 

ndiller

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NeonJulie NeonJulie I have a very similar tank. 2oto 3 neon 3 ember 1 dwarf gourami. I've had this tank for about 4 months and everything was going fine. I got home from work today and saw my gourami at the top of the tank getting air. Didn't think much at first but he stayed there a long time. Then I noticed his belly had gotten big and has started pineconing :(. I moved him to a quarantine tank and put in some meds. Hopefully he makes it. It was crazy fast though this morning he was acting fine.
 
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