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21st Nov 2019

This term will often crop up when a fish in your pond swells up without any warning it all. It’s very easy to tell when a fish has dropsy, with the stomach area becoming swelled and scales raising - from above some people have described their fish as looking like a pineapple.

Dropsy is not a physical disease, however it is a longer period of prolonged stress or illness from a previous disease and therefore it can be quite hard to treat. The swelling in a fish comes from it not being able to regulate fluids in its abdomen, so dropsy is usually at the very end of a period of ill health.

The causes can be numerous with stress and pathogens being the most likely cause, however for most hobbyists we can never know 100% what brought on the dropsy unless you want to have your fish dissected, but this is costly.


So is there anything you can do to prevent these issues?

There isn’t a treatment on the market that can confidently say it cures dropsy when a fish has already started to swell, which is often the point at which we know there is a problem. With the best will in the world this fish should be removed from the pond and quarantined, using a general fish health tonic like our Bradshaws own Make your Fish Healthy. Always consult OATA for any further euthanasia or treatment advice.

The best thing for any pond is to do regular tests of the water quality, there are numerous testing kits on the market. Water changes are also a good idea. When doing a water change make sure to use a treatment to remove chlorine, otherwise you can kill all the friendly bacteria within your pond. I find that one of the best things to use though, are the inline dechlorinator sticks. These are very easy to use and work out cheaper in the long run, doing around 200,000 litres of water. Spring is coming so get yourself a testing kit now!