What Are the Signs of Dropsy in Your Guppy?

If you have guppies as pets, you need to watch out for guppy dropsy, a disease that affects the fish’s belly, which gets bloated. Your pet’s belly gets bloated as water accumulates in the stomach and other internal organs. 

What is Guppy Dropsy?

Dropsy disease is common in fish, and guppy dropsy is the disease affecting guppies. The affected guppy’s belly gets rotund and has a bloated appearance, with the scales jutting out. Besides fluid building up in the guts, fluid accumulates in the colonic cavity, causing dropsy.

The other causes for dropsy include bacterial or amoebic infection or polycystic kidney disease. The swollen appearance of the belly gave the name bloated belly disease or swollen belly disease. 

Will your Affected Guppies Recover?

It is easy to treat dropsy caused by factors like water pollution, lack of nutrition, etc. You can change the water in your aquarium and start feeding your guppies nutritious fish feed. However, it is better to be forewarned that there is no cure for dropsy caused by bacterial infection. Moreover, it is contagious and may spread to the other fish in the same fish tank. However, fish with a robust immune system may not get infected. 

Dropsy Disease Causes

As mentioned above, there are several factors responsible for causing dropsy in guppies. Although mycobacteriosis is a cause, it is pretty rare, and if your pets have a robust immune system, they may survive the contagion and remain unaffected by these bacteria. 

Your pet’s immune system may be compromised due to:

  • Unhygienic quality of water  in the fish tank
  • A sharp increase in Ammonia and nitrite 
  • Stress caused by infighting in the tank
  • Sudden changes in the water temperature
  • Insufficient nutrition

It is common for fish to fight each other, and small fights may not cause enough stress to affect the immune system. More often than not, dropsy is caused by the poor quality of water. Frequently changing the water can help keep your guppy friends safe. 

Treating Dropsy in Guppies 

The moment you notice guppy dropsy in your pets, immediately check whether it is caused by a bacterial infection. Bacterial infections happen suddenly, and there’s hardly anything you can do about it, and there’s no cure. 

The best course of action is to put down the infected fish (euthanizing) in a bid to save the healthy ones. The euthanized fish need to be disposed of securely to prevent the spread of the disease. 

If you can’t bring yourself to put down the infected pets, you can try the following methods:

  • Create a separate ‘hospital fish tank’ and quarantine the infected guppies 
  • Try giving the infected fish an Epsom salt bath once daily (two tablespoon Epsom salt in a gallon of water)
  • Try feeding highly nutritious fish feed for a few days
  • Wash the hospital fish tank with antibiotic-mixed water after you are done

Preventing Dropsy is Preferable

Prevention is better than cure, and this applies to dropsy in guppies as well. The primary cause of this disease is the poor quality of water. Hence, regularly changing the water helps keep your pets safe. 

Also, make sure you feed your fish highly nutritious food and avoid overfeeding. Avoid keeping too many fishes in one tank. It is better to have more tanks if you keep adding to the number of pets you own. 

Here are some things you can do to prevent dropsy in your guppies.

Change the Water Often

One of the most common reasons your guppies become sick is due to their dirty water. Most tanks have a filter which keeps their water clean for an extended period. Still, eventually, you will need to change the water to ensure your fish’s health. The frequency with which you will need to change your water depends on the size of the tank and the number of fish living in it. The smaller your tank is, or the more fish you have, the more regularly you should change out the water. 

Use a Filter and Heater

To keep the water parameters in your tank close to ideal, you should have a filter and heater installed. Without these devices, your tank will become dirtier much quicker, and the ammonia level will rise quickly. Additionally, if you don’t have a heater, a single massive temperature drop can cause severe damage to your fish. Therefore, maintaining cleanliness and a stable temperature within the tank is essential; a filter and heater are perfect for that job. 

Feed Them a Variety of Food

When choosing food for your guppies, ensure they get a varied diet. Since guppies are omnivores, you should include plants and meat in their diets. Therefore, if you are just feeding them fish flakes, it won’t be enough. You should also add live food such as brine, shrimp and daphnia to their tank. Peas, lettuce and zucchini, are also great options. 

Clean the Tank

Alongside using a filter and changing the water regularly, you should clean the tank regularly. This includes scrubbing the walls, removing any grime buildup and vacuuming to remove any gravel. Doing this will help remove parasites, fungus and bacteria that may cause your guppies to suffer from diseases like dropsy.

Feed Them High-Quality Food

You should always buy high-quality food for your guppies. Low-quality food will likely have a lot of fillers that will not be of any nutritional value and will instead harm them. Keep an eye out for the kind of food your guppies prefer and try to purchase more of it.  

Don’t Overcrowd Your Tank

The more fish you have in your tank, the more waste will be produced, meaning you will need to clean the tank more often. More fish can also mean aggression, as they may get in each other’s way, resulting in fights. This can also lead to dropsy. 

Summing it Up

Keeping ornamental fish as pets is an exciting hobby. However, it is essential to take some basic precautions to prevent diseases in your pets. Keeping the fish tank clean is crucial for the excellent health of your pets.