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Pearlscale bubble/sacs = dropsy?

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Hello, everyone! This is my first post on the forum. I’ve been searching it for the last few days to try and find how to help one of my pearlscale goldfish. I wanted to register and also ask for your input too.

 

We have two pearlscales in a 36 gallon bowfront tank, and have had them for two years. My son picked them out and we love their silly selves.

 

About a month ago one of them (Lil’ Swimmer—I’ll just call the fish a “he”) started developing bubble/air sac looking things around his vent. They went away and came back and now there are several. This is what they looked like last week but there are more now all in that same area. The poor guy has also been sitting on the substrate a lot (and he never used to before).

 

I have seen several threads about this issue with pearlscales and it seems most people think it’s dropsy. Following another thread, I have put our guy in a hospital tank with metroplex and I’m warming it to 80. I’m not sure if I should add Epsom salt or not, and if there’s anything else I should do for him. I’m planning on changing the water and dosing the metroplex every 2 days for maybe 8 days to see if there is improvement.

 

I feel bad in some ways for taking him out of the main tank he shared with his buddy. They both seem sad now (although that might be me projecting lol). I know dropsy is pretty tough to recover from and I do wonder if I should just let him be in the big tank. On the other hand, it’s hard to see him declining and not try to help.

 

What do you all think? Is my plan to do the metro for a week and warm temp reasonable? Any suggestions? 

 

Thanks for reading :)

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Hi!  Please fill out the disease and diagnostic form we have in this forum so we can get a better picture of what might be going on in the tank. The blistering pearl scale thing we have seen before and it does seem to be associated with dropsy when it gets that bad, but we really can’t advise on treatment without knowing all the tank parameters.  Please include details of all the medication/treatments administered within the last six months or so too, and the doses :)

 

Pearlies have a tough time recovering once they get sick, but we will try our best.

 

Disease Diagnostic Form

Test Results for the Following:

* Ammonia Level(Tank)

* Nitrite Level(Tank)

* Nitrate level(Tank)

* Ammonia Level(Tap)

* Nitrite Level(Tap)

* Nitrate level(Tap)

* Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 

* Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)

Other Required Info:

* Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops?

* Water temperature?

* Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running?

* What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)?

* How often do you change the water and how much?

* How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change?

* How many fish in the tank and their size?

* What kind of water additives or conditioners?

* What do you feed your fish and how often?

* Any new fish added to the tank?

* Any medications added to the tank?

* How long have symptoms been going on?

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Here we go!

 

Disease Diagnostic Form

Test Results for the Following:

* Ammonia Level(Tank): 0

* Nitrite Level(Tank): 0

* Nitrate level(Tank): 20 (although I did a PWC a few days ago, so this was higher previously)

* Ph Level, Tank: 8.0

* Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? API drops

* Water temperature? 72

* Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 36 gallon bowfront, running for a little over 2 years

* What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? AquaClear 50

* How often do you change the water and how much? 1/3 water about every month (I know, it's bad and wrong)

* How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? earlier this week, about 1/3

* How many fish in the tank and their size? two ping pong pearlscale goldfish, about the size of, well, ping pong balls

* What kind of water additives or conditioners? Prime

* What do you feed your fish and how often? Hikari sinking pellets, occasional frozen bloodworms and other frozen mix, and occasional veggies

* Any new fish added to the tank? nope

* Any medications added to the tank? not to the main tank; the bubble butt fish is in QT now with Metroplex

* How long have symptoms been going on? about a month, maybe a little longer

 

Lil' Swimmer is in a hospital tank with Metroplex dosed per label instructions. Planning on changing the water every other day before I dose more Metroplex.

So far, he seems to be doing OK in the QT tank. It's heated to 79-80 and has a filter and bubbler. He's swimming around all the time and one of the large bubbles went away. Hoping he's able to pull out of it if it is dropsy, or that it's a weird slime coat issue or some such and it's not a problem. We'll see.

 

Any other recommendations for how to proceed with treating him?


Thanks!

 

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Posted (edited)

Keep an eye on the ammonia in the quarantine tank, I usually have to do daily changes in there and redone the metro each water change, but if he isn’t eating much that could keep it low enough to make it two days.

 

Remove the filter media from the filter in quarantine, we don’t want that in there while treating.  Filter bounces, existing bacteria that contribute to the bioload of the tank, possible harbouring of parasites or bacteria that are stressing the fish, etc.  Hospital tanks really only need aeration/circulation, heat, and frequent water changes.  A filter is fine for the aeration and circulation but run empty :)

 

The temperature looks good, keep running the metro for a total of two weeks of treatments.  By four or five days you should see some improvement in his condition.  But if you do not let me know and we adjust and try something additional with the metro. 

 

You can also keep 1/2 teaspoon of epsom salt in the water too, adding that back when you change the water out along with the meds.  The epsom should help reduce the blistering.

The high nitrate could absolutely account for long term stress and weakening him to cause an infection.  Generally, when your nitrate is hitting 10 ppms it’s time for a change.  Some people let it go higher but sensitive fish can’t really take it.  Down closer to 5 ppms is better.  

 

You absolutely HAVE to change more water more frequently.  It’s almost assuredly what caused this issue, however indirectly.  At a minimum please do 50% of it every week.  There is nothing more critical for the long term health of your fish than water quality. And pearl scales have often seemed more sensitive to it than other types.  Your main tank also needs another change to get the nitrates down below 10 ppms, okay?  And test every few days for awhile to see where it is - when it crosses that threshold it’s time for a change again, and it might mean more frequently or bigger amounts of water than what I suggested above.

 

I personally change my 110-ish gallon tank 90% weekly and it keeps my nitrates down to ppms. When I let them slip higher I notice more problems with the fish in general. It’s like you breathing smog in daily and wondering why you have asthma and lethargy.  Make sense?

Edited by Arctic Mama
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Thank you @Arctic Mama! Much appreciated for you taking the time to reply and it helped me proceed.

 

I’m glad to report that Lil Swimmer seems to be feeling much better and there is only one very small bubble remaining after his course of antibiotics in the hospital tank. I did a huge water change in the main tank and another smaller one, and now the two goldfish are reunited again. They are so cute! I know it’s maybe anthropomorphic but they seem happy to see each other. They’ve been snuggling ever since! 🧡

Hopefully keeping the water better will keep the bubbles and illness at bay.

Thanks!

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