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Treating Dropsy

Author Topic: Treating Dropsy  (Read 1220 times)

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Offline uv

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Treating Dropsy
« on: February 06, 2019, 12:37:38 PM »
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One of my guppy bloated and stayed on the substrate for a few days. It used to come for feeding but it did not turn up yesterday. I am searching for this missing one.

How to i treat that fish once found, probably it could be too late now.

What precautions should I take to save my other community fish in that tank. Please advise.

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Offline Matt

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2019, 01:37:51 PM »
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Was it a male or female?

Could be either needing to give birth (female) which would also explain why it's now hiding, or... could be constipation in which case feed cooked chopped peas with the shell removed (male).

Offline uv

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2019, 01:44:14 PM »
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It is a male and bloated. I am trying to post a picture but the image is 4MB and the do not allow it.


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Offline Littlefish

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2019, 02:13:19 PM »
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You may need to re-size or crop the picture to be able to post it.

Do the fish scales look like a pine-cone? If not then the fish could be bloated/constipated. If the scales are sticking out like on a pine cone then this is more of a problem.

Offline uv

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2019, 03:25:08 PM »
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I attached picture of my guppy.

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Offline fcmf

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2019, 04:07:43 PM »
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Yes, the way those scales are sticking up like a pinecone - particularly visible at the top between the head and the dorsal fin - does indeed suggest dropsy. Unfortunately, it's often difficult to cure once the condition reaches this stage. There are several possible causes for this e.g. bacterial, parasitic or viral infection.

It can be treated by isolating the fish in a separate tank/container and giving him an Epsom salt dip, with 1-3 teaspoons per 20 litres of water. Matt's suggestion of a chopped, cooked pea with the shell off can help in addition to this.

Offline uv

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2019, 04:50:25 PM »
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Is the Epsom salt that we use for bath or is this any special for aquariums?

Also which antibacterial products good to cure?

Does this spread to other fish and of so what precautions could I take now?

Thank you


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Offline Littlefish

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2019, 06:57:40 PM »
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As far as I'm aware it is the same Epsom salts. I've not used that in my tanks, but I have used the Interpet Aqualibrium first aid salt additive.

Offline Sue

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2019, 07:12:14 PM »
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The Epsom salts need to be plain, those for our baths often have perfume added. See if your local pharmacist has plain Epsom salts.

Epsom salt draws fluid from tissues. It is best used as a dip/bath. In a small tub, make up a solution at the rate of one 5ml spoonful per 3.75 litres of dechlorinated water at the same temperature as the tank. Place the fish in the tub for 30 minutes or until the fish becomes distressed whichever is sooner. Do this twice a day.

Aqualibrium seems to plain common salt, sodium chloride. As we know from ourselves, salt is a mid antiseptic (you can use salt water as an antiseptic mouthwash after having a tooth out). Epsom salts are magnesium sulphate. Common salt and Epsom salts do different things



The reason that is is not common for a fish to recover is that the infection, whichever 'bug' has caused it, causes kidney failure. It is this kidney failure that makes the fish swell out and the scales stick out. Kidney failure is virtually impossible to cure.
Antibacterials won't work if the underlying infection is caused by a virus or parasite. eSHa 2000 claims to cure dropsy, but most people find even this doesn't work as by the time we see symptoms it is too late. Try that if you wish, you may be one of the lucky ones.




Offline uv

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2019, 08:08:24 PM »
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Thanks Sue, and others

This fish passed away yesterday. I had a good clean of my tank just now with 50% water change.

Can you please check if my other fish having the same problem?

Also, this epsom salt do the job? I got this from Asda. https://groceries.asda.com/product/bath-salts/westlab-pure-mineral-bathing-epsom-salt/910002000797

I am planning to add this directly to the tank. Is that advisable?

Thank you

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Offline Sue

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2019, 08:29:31 PM »
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I would not add epsom salts to the tank. Magnesium is one of the metals that make water hard so you'll be increasing the hardness of the tank water if you add it. It is not good for fish to alter the hardness of the tank water.

The other fish won't catch dropsy as it's not an infection, but they could catch the infection that lead to dropsy in the affected fish. The simplest way to keep the other fish healthy is a daily water change and substrate clean - deep clean gravel or hoover everything off sand.


The ASDA epsom salts look fine. It says "Pure, premium quality magnesium sulfate. 100% pure natural salts with nothing added" so there should be no perfume. You'll find it goes a long way at the dose needed for an epsom salt dip.

Offline uv

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2019, 08:46:46 PM »
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Given that I no longer have this fish and not advisable to add Epsom salt to the tank directly, would it be safe to dip each fish for a bath or just the above one. The above one looks similar to how I saw my lost fish at an early stage.

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Offline Sue

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2019, 08:55:33 PM »
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I would try something like eSHa 2000 first - this can be added to the tank. Or Myxazin by Waterlife. Placing a fish in Epsom salts is stressful and it won't cure any type of infection, just draw fluid out of the body. You need to cure the underlying infection.




Can you tell me - do you have hard water or soft water? I do have a reason for asking.

Offline uv

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2019, 09:29:25 PM »
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I would try something like eSHa 2000 first - this can be added to the tank. Or Myxazin by Waterlife. Placing a fish in Epsom salts is stressful and it won't cure any type of infection, just draw fluid out of the body. You need to cure the underlying infection.




Can you tell me - do you have hard water or soft water? I do have a reason for asking.

That make sense. I have a very hard water.

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Offline Sue

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2019, 09:33:30 PM »
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Your hardness is fine. I just wanted to make sure your guppies weren't being affected by being in soft water - that would have made them more prone to disease.

Offline uv

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2019, 05:07:58 PM »
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Out of curiosity, what ever happening to my fish now is a result of high nitrates?

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Offline Sue

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2019, 05:23:27 PM »
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How high is your nitrate?

It used to be thought that nitrate did not harm fish until it was well in the hundreds, but we now know that nitrate over 20 ppm shortens the life of fish. Since the UK (and most other countries) allow nitrate in tap water to be up to 50 ppm or thereabouts, some fishkeepers will have problems keeping their tank nitrate that low.

Can you test both your tap water and tank water for nitrate and tell us the results please.
If you use liquid reagent testers, one of the bottles will need shaking very well, then the test tube will need shaking. This shaking is an important part of the test but it is  common for people to fail to do the shaking. Apologies if you already know this  :)

Offline uv

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2019, 06:55:36 PM »
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Tank nitrates are around 50 ppm and the tap nitrates 20-30 ppm.
I use test strips and I can read at 0, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 150 intervals.

I would like to opt out for liquid test but could not find a reasonable product that tests accurately between 20 to 80 ppm intervals.

. Apologies if you already know this  :)

I like being reminded, thank you.

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Offline Sue

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2019, 07:39:48 PM »
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So by water changes alone you can't get your tank nitrate below 20 to 30 ppm. But if you do large enough water changes (ie 50% per week) you should be able to keep your nitrate from going much higher than the tap water level. Live plants will also help especially floating ones (you may already have live plants!) Plants use ammonia as their preferred source of nitrogen and they take it up faster than the filter bacteria. They don't turn ammonia into nitrite and then on to nitrate like the bacteria do. If there are enough live plants, very little ammonia gets turned into nitrate.

There are also things which increase nitrate in the tank -
Too many fish (more fish make more ammonia which is turned into more nitrate)
Feeding the fish too much (uneaten food gets broken down to ammonia which is turned into nitrate)
Water changes not often enough (nitrate builds up higher if water changes are not frequent enough)
Water changes not big enough (not enough nitrate removed at each water change)
Filter not cleaned often enough (the brown goo is uneaten food, fish poo etc which is broken down to ammonia then on to nitrate)


Do any of these apply to your tank?

Offline uv

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2019, 08:43:24 AM »
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So by water changes alone you can't get your tank nitrate below 20 to 30 ppm. But if you do large enough water changes (ie 50% per week) you should be able to keep your nitrate from going much higher than the tap water level.

yes - I do 50% water change every week.

Live plants will also help especially floating ones (you may already have live plants!) Plants use ammonia as their preferred source of nitrogen and they take it up faster than the filter bacteria. They don't turn ammonia into nitrite and then on to nitrate like the bacteria do. If there are enough live plants, very little ammonia gets turned into nitrate.

My floating plants are sucked up by the filter and when I have them maintenance became challenging. I do have Hygrophila 'Siamensis 53B' and Java Fern in the tank.

There are also things which increase nitrate in the tank -
Too many fish (more fish make more ammonia which is turned into more nitrate)
Feeding the fish too much (uneaten food gets broken down to ammonia which is turned into nitrate)
Water changes not often enough (nitrate builds up higher if water changes are not frequent enough)
Water changes not big enough (not enough nitrate removed at each water change)
Filter not cleaned often enough (the brown goo is uneaten food, fish poo etc which is broken down to ammonia then on to nitrate)

I don't think I am over stocked. It's a 54l tank and I have 2 honey gouramies, 4 platies and 3 guppies. I don't see any left over flakes after the feed and I feed once a day (further to your advise on other thread). I do change water each week about 50%. I do see some brown goo (not much as I recently cleaned) but this may have came from the sucked up floating plants.



Recently, I found there is no place in the filter to grow beneficial bacteria  and I record 0.25 ppm ammonia at every test. So, I added Matrix in the tank recently and within a couple of days ammonia dropped to zero and remain consistent, and the brown algae was all disappeared. When I did gravel vacuum I found lots of dust sucked up. Could this be a reason of infection?

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Offline Sue

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2019, 09:13:22 AM »
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Your parameters (pH, GH) are suitable for guppies though as you have very hard water the gouramis won't be very happy. Your water conditions (ammonia, nitrite and nitrate) are OK, except maybe a slightly high nitrate.

But none of these will cause an infection; the worst they can do is be wrong for a particular species which will cause them internal stress and make them more likely to catch an infection. Like with us, if we are run down we catch a cold more easily and it affects us more severely.


Guppies are not hardy fish; they tend to be weak these days which is why a lot of fish keepers will not buy them. They have been intensively line bred to get their fancy colours and tail shapes. This inbreeding means that they are more likely to have genetic defects than a wild fish. Breeders also tend to use any pretty fish to breed from regardless of how healthy they are, which again passes on weakness to their offspring.

I think you just have a weak batch of guppies. It would be interesting to know how the rest of that batch fared in the shop - did they all live long enough to be sold, or did the shop have deaths as well?




Your filter - what make and model is it, and what's inside it? There are ways to customise filters. If the matrix you added is a chemical medium, it will stop working when it gets full. This kind of medium is not advisable long term.

Offline uv

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2019, 09:26:48 AM »
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I think you just have a weak batch of guppies. It would be interesting to know how the rest of that batch fared in the shop - did they all live long enough to be sold, or did the shop have deaths as well?

I have these guppies in my tank since September and I had a fish-in cycle with them. I don't see any dead once among them during purchase.

Your filter - what make and model is it, and what's inside it? There are ways to customise filters. If the matrix you added is a chemical medium, it will stop working when it gets full. This kind of medium is not advisable long term.

I have Tetra EasyCrystal 300 which came with the tank. Link

The Matrix I added is this one (I don't think it's a chemical one, right?): https://www.amazon.co.uk/Seachem-Matrix-Bio-Media-250/dp/B0033Q1U7A/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1549617891&sr=8-4&keywords=seachem+matrix

I added all 250ml into the tank, some in filter and the rest outside (next to filter) to see if I can grow bacteria that can kill nitrates.

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Offline Sue

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2019, 09:47:35 AM »
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If you did a fish-in cycle with the guppies, that would have weakened them. Did the platies or gouramis go through the fish-in cycle?
Fish that go through a fish-in cycle are usually damaged and rarely live their full life span. Couple that with guppies being weak fish anyway, and you have the likely reason for them picking up infections and dying.

You would not have seen dead fish in the shop tank because they remove them so that customers are not put off buying them. The shop could have lost a lot of guppies from that tank, or just a few. We'll never know.


I've looked up your filter https://www.tetra.net/en/en/products/tetra-easycrystal-filterbox-300 and this says the media consists of
Quote
Physical filtration: double-layered Filter Floss Pads reliably remove even the tiniest particles. White side = coarse pre-filter, green side = fine filter
Biological filtration: Filter Foam and Bio Filter Balls with an extra large surface area for the settlement of beneficial bacteria
Chemical filtration: special activated carbon to eliminate water clouding and unpleasant odours

The link above has another link to the instructions https://www.tetra.net/~/media/productimport/shared/ifus/th51846_9074_filterbox300in,-d-,pdf.pdf


The 'filter pack D' appears to be a filter floss bag containing carbon. Filter foam E looks to be a thin layer of sponge. F is bioballs.


Seachem Matrix is another biomedia - I didn't know what it was until you gave me the link, and was afraid it was one of those media that absorbs ammonia. But Seachem Matrix is not this type, it is a medium for growing bacteria on.
What bit of the filter's original media did you replace with the Matrix?

Offline uv

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2019, 10:07:55 AM »
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If you did a fish-in cycle with the guppies, that would have weakened them. Did the platies or gouramis go through the fish-in cycle?
Platies and Gouramies are not, though there was 0.25 ammonia for a while which did not settle until recently.


Everything on that list will grow bacteria. The only one you don't need is carbon (that's a hang over from decades ago) but even that will grow bacteria on it. The link says you need to replace the cartridge every 4 week - that just means the carbon containing bit. Carbon gets full and stops working which is why they say to change it.
It's been 6 months and i did not change the filter floss. Should I change every 4 weeks as recommended?

The best thing is to replace it with a layer of sponge.

I don't think I got this correct. I don't see any carbon element in there - I thought it was inside the filter floss.

Sponge, foam and bioballs should just be washed once every couple of weeks in old water taken out during a water change.

yes, I am rinsing foam and bio balls every couple of months.

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2019, 10:27:23 AM »
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I'm afraid I retyped my last post just before you replied  :-[

Going through your post -

The platies and gouramis were exposed to only very low levels of ammonia while the guppies would have been exposed to higher levels. I think that this, together with their weakness nowadays, is why the guppies are affected. Depending just how hard your water is, the gouramis may also be weakened. The top of the gouramis' hardness range is 268 ppm or 15 dH. Fish should ideally be kept in the middle of their ranges, but unless your water is very very hard, it should be less than 268 ppm/15 dH.

The instructions say that the floss is part of the cartridge which is a bag filled with carbon. I had not found the instructions when I first typed my last post, and after I found the the instructions I retyped it.
At first I thought the floss was a separate thing, but the instructions say it is part of the cartridge. This type of floss does not clog nearly as fast as sheets of floss. With sheets of floss the water flow out of the filter drops quickly but if your water flow isn't dropping, that's fine.
They tell you to change the cartridge every 4 weeks because carbon gets full. But you don't need to use carbon full time. You can either leave the cartridge there until it falls apart or cut a slit in the bag, remove all the carbon and stuff the bag with filter sponge, any make cut up to get it in.
The risk is that the carbon inside the bag will remove any medication you might add which is why medication instructions always say to take out any carbon media. Even when it's been in the tank a long time and is full, there is a theoretical possibility that a medication is more strongly taken up by carbon that what's already on it so the other stuff will come off and the med stick to the carbon instead.



Do you get much brown goo on the media between washes? If you do, that brown goo is a "nitrate factory" so you need to wash it off more often - every couple of weeks.

Offline uv

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #25 on: February 08, 2019, 11:05:37 AM »
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Thank you for very informative message.

I added Seachem Matrix as an additional bio-media. Did not replace the bio-balls that came with the filter. I added Matrix because ammonia never comes to zero even after months of cycle so I though there is no enough room for the bacteria to grow. Since I added this I got 0 ammonia. Seachem also says that this type of bio-media can grow Denitrifying bacteria and can remove Nitrates in the tank. It need a slow flow of water for that type of bacteria to thrive so I placed good amount of this media outside filter. Have to wait and see if this makes any difference in Nitrate readings.

Gouramies are doing very well so I may leave them for now.

They tell you to change the cartridge every 4 weeks because carbon gets full. But you don't need to use carbon full time. You can either leave the cartridge there until it falls apart or cut a slit in the bag, remove all the carbon and stuff the bag with filter sponge, any make cut up to get it in.
The risk is that the carbon inside the bag will remove any medication you might add which is why medication instructions always say to take out any carbon media. Even when it's been in the tank a long time and is full, there is a theoretical possibility that a medication is more strongly taken up by carbon that what's already on it so the other stuff will come off and the med stick to the carbon instead.

The filter floss comes without carbon so on my next change I will order those. For now, I will see if I can remove the carbon. Is this the small balls inside the bag? Should I really insert filter sponge after removing carbon?

This is a useful message because I ordered ESHA 2000 to treat the infection.

Do you get much brown goo on the media between washes? If you do, that brown goo is a "nitrate factory" so you need to wash it off more often - every couple of weeks.

Not much, occasionally...

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Offline Matt

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #26 on: February 08, 2019, 12:19:53 PM »
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Quick one regarding the floating plants.  May people use fishing line or airline tubing to section off a part of the tank for the floating plants to they cannot get pulled into the filter/pushed under the water by filter outflow etc.  This may be worth considering if you want to get more success with them.  Bear in mind that they don't like getting their leaves wet so splashes from a filter can be just as damaging :)  Good luck!

Offline Sue

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #27 on: February 08, 2019, 12:29:42 PM »
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The filter floss comes without carbon so on my next change I will order those. For now, I will see if I can remove the carbon. Is this the small balls inside the bag? Should I really insert filter sponge after removing carbon?

The carbon is inside the cartridge. It is not needed on a day to day basis. It's uses are to remove medication after treatment finishes and to remove the colour that leaches out of wood if you don't like it. It is a hangover from decades ago when water changes were done only a couple of times a year. Such infrequent water changes made the water turn yellow and carbon was used to remove this yellow. Now we do water changes a lot more often we don't get yellow water but filter makers still include carbon in their filters.
Since you do have a fair amount of biological media already (Matrix, bioballs, sponge) it would be simpler just to leave the bag empty and use it for its other purpose of catching fine bits in the water.

Offline uv

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #28 on: February 08, 2019, 01:06:22 PM »
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Quick one regarding the floating plants.  May people use fishing line or airline tubing to section off a part of the tank for the floating plants to they cannot get pulled into the filter/pushed under the water by filter outflow etc.  This may be worth considering if you want to get more success with them.  Bear in mind that they don't like getting their leaves wet so splashes from a filter can be just as damaging :)  Good luck!

I tried with fishing line but due to the plants being small and as and when the water evaporates the plants are pulled by the filter. I also tried with a plastic boundary but did not work either.

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Offline uv

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #29 on: February 09, 2019, 08:15:33 PM »
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The filter floss comes without carbon so on my next change I will order those. For now, I will see if I can remove the carbon. Is this the small balls inside the bag? Should I really insert filter sponge after removing carbon?

The carbon is inside the cartridge. It is not needed on a day to day basis. It's uses are to remove medication after treatment finishes and to remove the colour that leaches out of wood if you don't like it. It is a hangover from decades ago when water changes were done only a couple of times a year. Such infrequent water changes made the water turn yellow and carbon was used to remove this yellow. Now we do water changes a lot more often we don't get yellow water but filter makers still include carbon in their filters.
Since you do have a fair amount of biological media already (Matrix, bioballs, sponge) it would be simpler just to leave the bag empty and use it for its other purpose of catching fine bits in the water.

Can I add Esha 2000 during Epsom salt bath with a bit of high dose or regular?

Thank you

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Offline Sue

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #30 on: February 09, 2019, 08:57:33 PM »
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Add eSHa 200 to the main tank. Use Epsom salts in a small tub (an old ice cream tub is the right size). You can add eSHa 2000 to the main tank and give the affected fish twice daily dips (half an hour at the longest each time, but if the fish becomes distressed remove it immediately) at the same time as the eSHa 2000 is in the main tank. After the half hour dip in the Epsom salt bath, the fish should be returned to the main tank. Fish should not be left in Epsom salt baths for more than half an hour.

If you have a hospital/quarantine tank, add eSHa 2000 to that and put the fish in this tank between dips. Hospital tanks are just small tanks that a sick fish is moved into to be medicated and this stops healthy fish being exposed to unnecessary medication.

Offline uv

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Re: Treating Dropsy
« Reply #31 on: February 09, 2019, 09:12:26 PM »
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Add eSHa 200 to the main tank. Use Epsom salts in a small tub (an old ice cream tub is the right size). You can add eSHa 2000 to the main tank and give the affected fish twice daily dips (half an hour at the longest each time, but if the fish becomes distressed remove it immediately) at the same time as the eSHa 2000 is in the main tank. After the half hour dip in the Epsom salt bath, the fish should be returned to the main tank. Fish should not be left in Epsom salt baths for more than half an hour.

If you have a hospital/quarantine tank, add eSHa 2000 to that and put the fish in this tank between dips. Hospital tanks are just small tanks that a sick fish is moved into to be medicated and this stops healthy fish being exposed to unnecessary medication.

Thank you

I added Esha 2000 to the main tank and unfortunately I didn't not have quarantine tank.

This helps!

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