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Chinese algae eater with dropsy

8198 Views 20 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Mousey
I have been giving my chinese algae eater extra salt I fasted him twice gave him a pea and the tetra people told me to give him tetracycline to boost his immune system. But he still has dropsy is there anything else I can do for him? all his scaes are sticking out and have been for a while..
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Well, dropsy isn't a's a symptom. So first you have to figure out what's causing it.

Is he pine coning at all? That's when their scales kind of pop out a bit and stick out...if that makes sense :p.

Have you tested the water for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates? Has the pH recently changed dramatically? Have you had to net him recently?

Using regular aquarium salt isn't going to help much. An epsom salt bath may help. Prepare a container with tank water and add 1 tablespoon of epsom salts per gallon. Put him in there for about ten minutes (unless you think he is seriously freaking out). You can do this twice a day but that might be too stressful.

Since you are using the Tetracycline already I won't recommend any other medications. Make sure to continue treatment for the full amount of least five days if it doesn't specify.

If the Tetracycline doesn't work I'd try Maracyn–Two and an anti-parasite food.

Keep the water well aerated with airstones and raise the temperature (maybe to around 80 or so?). Do regular water changes to keep things nice and clean. That's really important.
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the water is at 80 degrees and I tried to net him but I can't catch him. He's too quick for my eyes My boyfriend will have to get him for me. I will try epsom salt oh and he is pine coning a little bit.
the water is at 80 degrees and I tried to net him but I can't catch him. He's too quick for my eyes My boyfriend will have to get him for me. I will try epsom salt oh and he is pine coning a little bit.
personally, i dont think you should use tetracycline at all, this antibiotic is used so widely and dropsy, as sasami said, is not a disease but a symptom....bacteria is usually not the cause so using this antibiotic is pointless and even if the dropsy was caused by septicemia that antibiotic may do nothing either way (for the correct antibiotic to be given an actual culture would have to be done and antibiotic suseptibility tests would have to be performed) and with septicemia there is a slim chance he would make it, in my opinion its not caused from septicemia but since you are on that antibiotic you shouldnt just abruptly stop

ohh and tetracycline is just an antibiotic, it does nothing to boost the immune system unless its actually damaging a susceptible bacteria, and antibiotics should never be used unless they are a last resort bc there is SOOOOOOOOO much antibiotic resistance occurring from overuse that they will soon be obsolete
Oh no, lots of dropsy lately huh?

Poor fishey.

There are a number of things that can cause dropsy, and how to help (possably cure) the fish depends on why he developed dropsy in the first place. Sometimes it can be controled through diet, sometimes antibiodics will help, and other times there's not really much you can do at all and the fish could go downhill fast.

Dropsy can be cause by internal infections, either by bacteria or viruses. Poor water quality or diet can trigger it, as well as kidney damage.

If your dealing with kidney damage, there is no real cure for it. That's whats going on with my dropsy clawed frog - he has kidney problems and bloats up. What I have to do for him, and I know it sounds a little gross, is to take a very small gage needle and aspirate some of the water out from under his skin. I have to do that usually once every few weeks. I also discovered that if I control his diet, he doesn't bloat up as much. Some foods are worse then others, and also overfeeding sometimes triggers his bloat. With kidney problems, they don't usually die right away and may still be perfectly happy and acting normal otherwise. But if they bloat up and you don't aspirate and remove some of the bloat, then it can but pressure on the interal organs and do damage.

If it's a water or diet problem, that shouldn't be to bad to fix. You should check the water parameters out. Also, what are you feeding him? Have you changed his diet recently or given him anything he hasen't had before?

If it's an infection, then antibiodics can help but I really couldn't tell you which ones - I guess it would depend on what bacteria/virus is causing the infection. The infection is usually internal, so while treating the tank may help, I've heard that using anti-parasite or antibiotic foods are usually more helpful.

How long has your guy had this? Is he still eating and acting normal? Also, when he got it, did it slowly progress or was he just suddenly really bloated?
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if it was viral, no antibiotic would help since antibiotics can only treat bacteria, and if it was bacterial, by the time the right combo of antibiotics was found (through trail and error) it would probably be too late, only way to actually use an antibiotic would be to have a culture sample from the fish, otherwise you are just adding random antibiotics and hoping its the right one
Yeah - I know antibiotics won't help viruses. I meant to clarify that in my post but I didn't.

Your right that without getting a culture you won't know what exactly your dealing with. Most people arn't knowledgable enough to be able to culture their own fish, and vet visits for fish are expensize, and stressful on the fish - not to mention how hard it will be to find a vet that will treat fish in the first place. There are some broad spectrum antibiodics that could be helpful - I really don't know that much about medicating fish as I said before. I guess it would be up to the owner if she wants to try diffrent antibiotics or not - but if it is an infection and anitbiotics are not used, the fish will probably not survive. I'm not saying it will definatly survive if she uses them either though, because that's not the case. However, her fish might not even have an infection, so other options should be explored first if the fish is not deteriating to quickly.
yeah, i realize we re just exploring options. I just wanted to make sure that people know in general that antibiotics are not the way to go, bc well its really a hit or miss without the proper identification techniques...but also it contributes to a lot of antibiotic resistance, bc most people will not use the antibiotic properly in duration, and when they dispose of the antibiotic water they just dump in the sink or out the window....leading to environmental bacteria to become resistant and all this misuse goes on such a high scale

and much of people's mentality is that their is an antibiotic for every ailment...for instance when fish have fin rot or bacterial infections, most of these are secondary infections that were initially started by fungal infections which are more successful in treating...but bacterial infections can be complicated since lets say you use sulfa drugs you may also need another additional one since the bacteria could have an alternative biochemical pathway...ect...these are things most people dont realize and why would they, they re not microbiologists, but they are playing with some strong drugs that are very commonly misused (this being the reason why antibiotics are prescribed by professionals that know what they re doing)

not to mention some antibiotics work as bacteriostatic (inhibit growth, so once its gone, bacteria grow back) and some are bactericidal (kill)

this is some general info i wanted to discuss, not just for this section but in general

there could be hundreds of bacteria that could cause a bacterial infection, and within those they will be either gram positive or gram negative and treating those will require different antibiotics, which many bacteria have become resistant to a large variety of commonly used antibiotics and their classes, penicillin is practically obsolete bc of antibiotic misuse
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I only put one tab of tetracycline in the tank last week. I guess I didn't explain well enough sorry about that. I am going to try epsom salt bath. My other algae eater got it too. So now I am worried about the other fish in the tank should I be?
In the future always continue through the whole treatment for antibiotics or don't use them at all. Putting in one tablet isn't going to do anything and will just make the bacteria more resistant to it.

Oh, and I didn't want you to net the fish. I was asking if he had been netted recently. Sorry for being unclear. Sometimes during netting fish can get injured which is why I asked. To move him I would actually use a cup or small container...much easier and less stressful for him :).

I'll be honest...if he's pine coning that's really not good :(. There's still hope if you can find out the problem but that can be tricky.

What concerns me is that your other algae eater has it now too. Sounds like an internal infection that's spreading. You really should separate the ill fish if'll make it easier to medicate anyways. Although I'm not a big fan of using antibiotics you may want to try antibiotic foods. Unfortunately these aren't that common but two out there are Medi-Gold (it's technically for goldfish but I don't see any reason not to feed it to other species) and Romet B.

See, the main problem is that most of the meds out there only treat external infections rather then internal ones. Maracyn-Two is probably one of the better ones for internal infections but even it doesn't always do anything.

Remember to stop using the regular aquarium salt if you are still using it. That can make dropsy worse.

Did you ever get your water tested? It's important that you do to make sure there aren't ammonia spikes, high nitrates, etc. Oh, and what do you normally feed your algae eaters?

But yes, it can be difficult (like Skratikans said) without getting a culture since we don't know exactly what kind of bacteria (if it's even bacterial) is affecting the fish.
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Oh the tetra told me just to use it one time to boost the immune system but now I know it doesn't do anything. Um. I will seperate them. I haven't netted him yet so I won't thank you for your help. I will go and get some medi-gold and maracyn 2 and hope for the best while expecting the worst.
If it's spreading to your other fish I would definatly seperate the sick ones - and I would take Sasami's advice on what to feed them/what medications to use. If it's spreading it's probably either an infection, or problems with the food or water. Have you changed their food at all recently or fed them something you usually don't? And if I were you I would still get the water parameters checked.
I've done water test all come back ok. The water has been cloudy here recently and I can't figure out why. I tried to put that stuff in for cloudy water but it didn't help that much. I have not changed food or anything. I have to wait for my man to get home to take me to the store for fish meds.
What exactly did you test? I would test ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and pH :). I'm assuming you tested those but just making sure.

Definitely try an epsom salt bath can get epsom salts at drug stores, health food stores, grocery stores, etc. Make sure there aren't any other ingredients or additives.
amonia.nitrate,nitrite,alkinaty,ph, and hardness
if you choose to use the antibiotics remember to cut off the lights as they will denature the antibiotic, remove you carbon and when you dispose of the water please put the water in an extra tank with a uv light so you can completely inactivate the antibiotic before you dump the water least this way you re not doing the environment injustice, i know thats super picky but every little thing helps

and definitely take the full dose of antibiotics, and never use antibiotics unless its deemed that its the only way, some people even add antibiotics to newly added fish to prevent disease, and it wont prevent anything but future problems
My chinese algae eaters didn't make it. But I will still medicate the others I am so gald someone mentioned the light being on I always turn the light on for a little while during feeding time. That might be why the meds didn't work.
I'm sorry to hear they didn't make it :(. I wouldn't medicate the others, personally. You really don't want to use antibiotics if they aren't even showing symptoms. Instead I would just do a small water change every day and keep the temperature up.
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