How to Treat Bloated Goldfish in Pond {Is It Dropsy or Constipation?}

Are you noticing one or more of your Goldfish in your pond looking very bloated? Will you be able to debloat with simply feeding your Goldfish peas? In this article, we’ll find out that there is much more to learn about bloating in pond Goldfish.

How to Treat Bloated Goldfish in Pond: Your Goldfish could be egg bound, suffering from dropsy disease, constipated or living with a tumorous growth. You will have to identify the cause of bloating first in order to treat with medication, hormonal injection, peas (laxative) or possible surgery. 

Does My Goldfish Have Dropsy?

Goldfish in ponds or aquariums can develop dropsy which is sometimes known simply as Bloat. Look for the following symptoms:

  • loss of appetite
  • swollen body filled with fluid
  • scale sticking out (pine coning)
  • bulging eyes
  • pale gills
  • swollen or red anus
  • pale or stringy feces
  • ulcers
  • curved spine
  • clamped fins
  • lethargy

A bacteria has most likely invaded and weakened the immune system of your goldfish. Dropsy can spread to other fish in your pond as well.

Fluid builds up in the belly and swells. The internal organs can soon become damaged beyond repair. Treating dropsy with medication or Epsom salt has proven to save the lives of pond goldfish and other pond life.

Is My Goldfish Egg Bound?

Your Goldfish that you notice as swollen in your pond, could be egg bound. The belly would feel firm compared to the fluid build-up associated with dropsy.

The eggs that are bound could begin to rot away if they are not released. The following 3 tips have been used to assist egg bound goldfish:

  1. You can try feeding your pond goldfish live foods such as daphnia to help her release eggs.
  2. If your goldfish is unable to release any waste as well, she might be also be constipated. You can also try feeding her peas to act as a laxative.
  3. If she refuses food, you may need medical assistance. A hormone injection is available in a vet clinic to help induce your goldfish to lay her eggs.

How Do You Debloat A Goldfish?

You must determine if your goldfish is bloated due to the following conditions:

  • constipation
  • egg bound
  • dropsy
  • tumor

If the case is constipation, start with offering peas and live daphnia 2-3 times a day. If you notice that your bloated goldfish is not eating, consider a short salt bath.

3 minutes or so in a bath of aquarium salt or Epsom salt, then placing your goldfish back into the pond, may help reduce bloating. If the bloating continues, your goldfish may need:

  • hormone injection to release her eggs
  • medication for dropsy (Maracyn-2 or other antibiotics)
  • surgery to remove a possible tumor
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What Causes Pond Goldfish To Bloat?

A pond goldfish may experience bloating with feedings during cold weather. Their digestion slows down or becomes non-existent during this time. Many pond fish do not require being fed through cold weather conditions.

It can cause swelling and the inability to pass stool. You may begin trying to loosen the stool by offering peas soaked in garlic liquid. Over the next couple of days, hard pieces of stool may release as chunks and your goldfish will be relieved.

If this doesn’t cure the bloating, there could be a bacterial infection due to dropsy. You may have to isolate this bloated goldfish and use salt or medication in a quarantine tank until you notice improvement.

Is Dropsy Contagious in Pond Fish?

Dropsy is not contagious, but this won’t stop other fish in your pond from also being inflicted with it.

The bacteria that causes dropsy is present in the pond and it puts your pond fish at risk.

You can try to increase the temperature of the pond for a short time, add 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons of pond water only if you are also performing some water changes. Add aeration to your pond with an air pump as well.

How Do You Treat Goldfish Bloat?

The four most popular methods of treating goldfish bloat are:

  • Dose the pond, tank or preferably a quarantine tank with Epsom salt (aquarium salt) at 1 tablespon per 5 gallons of water.
  • Raise the temperature of the water to 82 to 86 degrees.
  • Treated with antibiotics (metronidazole, MArcacyn-2).

Feed your goldfish peas
and dip them in liquid garlic for added immune boosting for enticing flavor enhancement to encourage eating.

Should I Use To Salt To Cure Goldfish Bloating?

We can’t say for certain that salt treatment will absolutely be helpful to relieving the bloating you are seeing in your goldfish.

Be careful because adding too much salt in your pond will throw off the sensitive balance of your ecosystem that you are managing.

Use a quarantine tank and remove your bloated goldfish to rest in this new location for short spurts of 3-5 minutes at a time, 2-3 times a day.

Cover the tank with a lid to makes sure your goldfish doesn’t try to jump out. The salt helps your goldfish release the fluid that is trapped inside causing the bloat. More serious conditions of dropsy require antibiotic treatment instead.


Since the reasons for bloating in your pond goldfish are unknown, it’s best to not act to quickly with all of the tips we have advised.

We are not vets and internet research cannot equal that of an expert professional who is trying to focus on your specific fish only. Salt treatments, antibiotics, medications or peas as a laxative are all methods to relieve bloating.

Sometimes it’s a worse-case scenario of a tumor growth or the inability to treat this case that has worsened to the point where euthanasia might have to be considered. If you can take your goldfish to the vet, you will get the best possible course of medication or treatment.


Thanks for visiting where we aim to serve our fellow community of aquarists in all areas of fish keeping and aquatic life. Check out more of our articles anytime you have a question or concern. 

Brian Arial

Brian Arial has kept fish for leisure and worked with fish stores for most of his life. He enjoys writing and caring for aquariums and ponds.

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