Goldfish Dropsy – Deadly Bacterial Infection

By Jamie Boyle

Just yesterday I recieved an email from one of my readers whose goldfish is suffering from dropsy (also known as pine cone disease) that I thought I should share with everyone. Brian sent me this email along with pictures looking for some advice on how to treat his goldfish which is really sick:

Hi Jamie

I’m looking for some advice, I have a really sick goldfish, I have tried everything over the last few weeks & nothing seems to be working (Inc salt, medicine, peas etc..) he is very bloated & stays at the bottom of the tank mostly, when he does swim it is very slowly and lethargic & over the past 2-3 days he has become very black in color all over his body & fins. Goldfish Suffering From DropsyI have been changing the water approx 1-2 times a week in the hope this will help? But I am afraid I am no expert. I have attached a few photos for you to have a look, I hope you can help, I have had him for years & would hate to lose him.

Many Thanks


Photos courtesy of Brian

Goldfish With Dropsy and Cloudy EyeDropsy

I would like to thank Brian for sending me these photos of his goldfish. The only thing is I wish I would be able to help him in this situation more. You see dropsy is a bacterial infection affecting the fish organs causing the body to swell and also the eyes to bulge. There is no real way to treat dropsy. The best thing one can do is make sure you maintain excellent water quality and try treating your fish with aquarium salt. Aquarium salt is known to help treat a wide variety of diseases and can help kill parasites as well. Maintaining water quality with proper maintenance is the best way to try and prevent dropsy from occuring.

Another suggestion that Brian should do is stop performing 1-2 water changes a week. You see by doing too many water changes can mess up your nitrogen cycle causing further stress on your goldfish. Dropsy is usually caused by poor water quality in which I suspect that has caused dropsy to occur on his goldfish. After doing the water changes Brian should add beneficial bacteria after every water change and keep testing his water quality to make sure there are no ammonia spikes. Water quality is something people need to always make sure is kept up and tested to prevent goldfish diseases and parasites from occuring.

Treating goldfish for dropsy using salt and feeding them Internal Medicated Food for bacterial infections is about the only thing you can do. The prognosis for dropsy isn’t good at all. Dropsy is usually fatal and one can only try and treat their fish in hopes that he recovers. Hoping and praying is the last thing we can do just waiting to see if our attempts to treat dropsy works. Dropsy is a deadly bacterial infection and people should plan for the worse when they see symptoms on their fish.

I wish Brian best of luck and hope that his goldfish is able to recover from this deadly bacterial infection called dropsy.


Jamie Boyle
The Goldfish Guy

Other Related Posts:

Goldfish Medication Treatments For Illnesses, Diseases and Parasites

8 comments on “Goldfish Dropsy – Deadly Bacterial Infection

  1. Hi JamieMany Thanks for the advice, I will try what you have suggested & hope he pulls through.Again Many ThanksBrian

  2. The Goldfish Guy on said:

    Your welcome Brian!I only hope that your goldfish can pull through as well. Dropsy is usually fatal so just be prepared for the worse. Your goldfish appears to have a bad case of dropsy but you can always try.Have you tested your water yet? What were the readings for PH, Ammonia, Nitrite and nitrate? Also what was the type of medecine you were using?Best of luck with your goldfish.Sincerely,Jamie BoyleThe Goldfish GuyP.S. Happy New Years!

  3. The Goldfish Guy on said:

    Brian after looking at those goldfish photos of dropsy I noticed the one eye fas a white film over it. This is called cloudy eye. Your goldfish has more then one issue going on at the same time could be more.To learn more on cloudy eye you can go to this post of a question from one of my readers and read comments:Goldfish Help- Cloudy EyeCloudy Eye Goldfish ProblemThis will explain more on Cloudy Eye in which I can see on the eye of your fish. To treat this you can use Melafix an all-natural medication. Read post to learn more.Hope you have yourself a great New Years Eve and best wishes in 2009.Sincerely,Jamie BoyleThe Goldfish Guy

  4. Anonymous on said:

    Dear Rick:Last year I had a Red Cap Orando who got Costia (Red Spot). Is using peroxide on the wound right? Sadly he/she died. Please help on this questionI feed them sometimes with Hikari pellets. I soak them first. They remain at the top. Is this bad and what can I do about it.I would appreciate advice,Anne

  5. ChesterRxs on said:

    My goldfish is in the first stages of dropsy and i wanted to know what kind of salt you were talking about. I just wanted to know if it was regular table salt of something else because all it said for goldfish was “salt”.Thanks for the info!

  6. Andres on said:

    Hi Chester,It has to be Epsom Salts. It can't be table salt or Aquarium salt as these might make the your fish absorb more fluid as oppose to get rid of it. Hope this helps.

  7. I have a question regarding my fat goldfish. We were given him 6 years ago and he was fat in his back end. He is still alive, still active, but keeps getting fatter. Just in his back end. He eats and swims with the other fish and is not lethargic at all.

  8. Keith Miller on said:

    I have a gold fish that must have an extreme case of this illness, yet it keeps on swimming, living and generally showing no signs of the affliction. About 20 other fish live in the same pond and none of them are showing any signs of this. I first noticed that this one fish was getting fat about 12 months ago.

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