Aquatics Unlimited: Articles: Fat Fish III: Kidney Disease
Image 1
Image 2
Image 3

Fat Fish III: Kidney Disease

for the week of 6/17/99

In freshwater fish, the main function of the kidneys are to expel water that is constantly entering the cells by osmosis. If the kidneys fail or are weakened, the fish begins to balloon up with excess water, leading to conditions often called "dropsy" or "Malawi bloat."

What causes kidney problems? Parasitic, bacterial and viral infections can all damage kidneys, as can exposure to toxins. While not a common problem in any species, certain fish, such as dwarf gouramis and some of the "mbuna" African Cichlids, appear to be pre-disposed to these infections.

What are the symptoms? Fish with kidney problems usually swell quickly, from normal to very distorted within a few days. The skin may stretch so much that scales begin to stand on end, and the eyes may also begin to bulge. Generally, only one fish is sick at a time. Fish usually refuse food after a few days, but continue to balloon, and death follows within a few weeks.

Can it be prevented? There appears to be a link between "Malawi Bloat" and overfeeding or inadequate roughage and "Dropsy" seems more common in dirty water type conditions. Good aquarium husbandry reduces the risk of these and most other problems.

Is there treatment? Occasionally, fish recover after receiving antibiotic treatment, preferably by injection, but sometimes by high-strength, short-term baths. In general, however, fish are beyond hope of recovery before the disease is noticed. Infected fish are best removed from the community aquarium well before death to avoid the risk of disease transfer as other fish feed on the deceased.


"Tip of the week" appeared regularly in 1999 and 2000.

Copyright © 1999 Aquatics Unlimited
All rights reserved.

Local Specials

Through 10-26-17

Pond Fish 50% OFF!

Pond Plants 50% OFF!

Select Saltwater Fish 20% - 30% OFF!

Dry Base Rock $2.50 per Lb

GLO-Fish 20% OFF!

All Freshwater Angelfish 20% OFF!

Cobalt Microvue Aquarium Kits 20% OFF!

Seachem Flake Foods 20% Off!

Kent Pro Scrapers 20% Off!

10 tank $16

20H tank $33

20L tank $33

29 tank $50

40 Breeder tank $86

55 tank $105

65 tank $141

75 tank $133

90 tank $225

120 tank $365

125 tank $306

150 tank $521

180 tank $617

210 tank $712

75 Overflow tank $270

90 Overflow tank $324

120 Overflow tank $474

125 Overflow tank $461

150 Overflow tank $663

180 Overflow tank $726

210 Overflow tank $932

Aqueon Pine Black Stands 20% Off!

REWARDS account may be required for special pricing. You may sign up and use the special pricing the same day!

* = SPECIAL ORDER; 100% deposit required

** = while supplies last

*** = specially marked tanks only; selection may vary during the sale

Aquatics Unlimited | 3550 S. 108th Street | Greenfield, WI 53228
Monday-Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m., Sunday 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. | Phone: 414-543-2552 | Fax: 414-543-4929