How To Treat Guppy Dropsy | A Useful Guide

This post will teach you what to do if your guppy fish has dropsy. Please note that fish that stay in freshwater are more susceptible to be infected by dropsy bacteria.

How Do You Treat Guppy Dropsy

The main reason your guppy will develop dropsy is poor water conditions which introduce aeromonas bacteria in to the water.  This bacteria will harm fish which have a compromised immune system.

The best way to treat this disease is to clean your tank then add aquarium salt (Available on Amazon) to the water which will help the guppies to recover.

What Causes Dropsy?

It is very important to spot what is causing dropsy in your guppy fish. Some how bad bacteria is entering your aquarium, We need to find root cause so we can apply a treatment.

The most common causes of dropsy include

  • Poor Water Quality
  • Overfeeding Your Fish
  • Sharp Change In Water Tempreature
  • Stressed Guppies
  • Poor Nutrition
  • Other Aggressive Fish
  • Injury
  • Other Disease

In some cases there might be two or more causes, For example stress can lower a guppies immune system and poor water quality will introduce bad bacteria to the water which in turn infects your fish.

Signs Your Guppy Has Dropsy

It is hard to be specific about the signs of dropsy because they exhibit the same symptoms as other ailments, but if you detect most of the signs below in your fish, then it is probably dropsy.

  • Extremely swollen navel and belly
  • Fish scales sticking out or pine coning of fish scales
  • unusual color around their gills
  • Eyes bulging
  • Extremely stringy feces
  • Pale and swollen anus
  • Bent spine
  • Sores around the body
  • Wrinkled fins
  • Loss of appetite
  • They become sluggish and lethargic.
  • Fish always at the surface of the water.

Be fast about diagnosing your fish as soon as you notice any of these. Pale color on the body, lethargic trait, loss of appetite usually come first, and later you will observe sores on the body, wrinkled fins, stringy feces if it is dropsy.

Besides, most people wait for the swollen belly, which is at the last before they take action, but by then its already too late, and the only solution might be flushing your beautiful fish.

How To Treat Dropsy In Guppies

Even if dropsy is discovered early, it is difficult to solve it. It is curable though not easy feat, but it has to be detected very early to be cured. The treatment also takes weeks, and this is one of the reasons even those that discover early give up on the fish and flush it.

To treat dropsy in guppies follow these steps

  1. Move the infected fish in to a separate tank
  2. Add aquarium salt to the aquarium (Available on Amazon)
  3. Make sure the tempreatre of the aquarium is between 72° to 78°F, you can use an aquarium heater (Available on amazon) to regulate the water tempreature
  4. Feed the guppies twice a day, Be careful not to overfeed
  5. Treat the fish with antibiotics (Available on Amazon)
  6. Monitor the fish for signs of recovery

It is very important not to introduce the fish back in to the community tank until it is fully recovered.

Is Dropsy Contagious in Guppies?

The disease dropsy itself is not contagious and will not spread to other guppies, But what affects one fish will affect the others.  So it is important to find the root cause and treat that.

Having said that it is possible in rare cases for the bad bacteria to spread from one guppy to another, This is why infected guppies need to be separated from other guppies that do not have the disease.

Can Guppy Fish Recover from Dropsy?

Dropsy can be difficult to recover from, But if you treat the guppies early by transferring them to a separate tank and add aquarium salt and give them antibiotics they should make a full recovery within two weeks.

For more information about how your guppy will recover from dropsy take a look at our treatment section above.

How To Prevent Dropsy In Guppy Fish

There are a few things that we can do to prevent dropsy infecting our guppy fish which include

  • Clean Filter Frequently : Filters are as crucial as the aquarium water because they can house ammonia and all kinds of waste that can make your guppies susceptible to dropsy. You should do this occasionally, check your media and filters and clean them to prevent the accumulation of bacteria.
  • Quarantine Affected Fish : All aquarium must have special tanks solely for treating ailing fish. In this case, quarantine is also the best option so that others will not be infected. Most dropsy symptoms are contagious, it is important to isolate affected fish immediately, so it does not wipe your pets.


If you discover early, there are antibiotics that kill dropsy, causing bacteria, and it also builds their immune system against such an attack in the future. The antibiotics are to be taken daily for ten days, and you also need to start feeding your fish with high-quality feed, which can help them to build their immune system naturally.


Hello, I'm Jason. I'm the guy behind I volunteer at my local fish shop and I created this site to offer tips and advice on the fish I care for.