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Old 11-15-2012, 04:52 PM   #1
PlantedRich
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Epsom salt questions?


I'm dealing with an African cichlid (Copodichromis Azureus) that seems to have some form of "bloat".

I read in various places about using Epsom salt as a laxative but I see nothing that indicates that it works in fish. As this is a fish that I feel is worth saving, I have him in QT with a small cull fish to keep him feeling safe. I have been treating with MGSO4 at a tablespoon for ten gallons for 8 days and see no effect on either the sick fish or the healthy one. The ailing fish seems quite well except that he has not eaten in 8-10 days. Being in a ten gallon makes him a bit nervous but otherwise he acts normal. He acts pretty much the same as the smaller fish. No unusual hiding nor gasping for air. I can see no excretions of any sort. He just takes the food in and it comes back out.

That brings the question of using Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate). Do any of you folks see anything that indicates it acts as a laxative in fish as it does in humans? Not what you've read but what you have actually seen, please.
Clout, Maracyn and Maracyn II seem to have no effect.
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Old 11-15-2012, 05:17 PM   #2
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The bloat symptom is caused by many diseases like inflamed internal organs not necessarily clogged intestine. Epsom salt couldn't hurt but keep treating with antibiotics and antibiotic foods since it is an internal infection.
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Old 11-15-2012, 05:41 PM   #3
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IME, epsom salt did nothing for bloat. One of my bichirs got bloat and even with a 2 week treatment with epsom salt, it didn't recover.

I'll have to agree with Mistergreen with bloat being caused by an internal infection.

I've used both metronidazole and kanamycin sulfate which are apparently good for internal infections but there was no effect against bloat. I would have tried neomycin sulfate but I couldn't find it locally.
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Old 11-15-2012, 07:25 PM   #4
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I'm wondering if the Epsom salt really has any effect on fish. It would seem to change the water qualities but since it is fairly routine to use it to add magnesium, I began to wonder why all my fish are not suffering with digestion problems. Reading what I feel is pretty reliable info, The MGSO4 is recommended but I see no effect on the sick nor the healthy fish. I begin to wonder if this is not bogus thinking due to the effect it DOES have on human digestion. Somebody may have jumped to the conclusion that it does the same for fish??? A strong dose of salt water clears a human but does not a fish.
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Old 11-22-2012, 04:17 AM   #5
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You're making your water "hard" with epsom salt, but I don't think it will do anything for constipation. People recommend blanching frozen peas and taking shelling them and mixing with flake food and feeding the fish the mixture. Seems to work, but I'm with the rest of these guys. It doesn't sound like that but rather an internal infection or parasite.
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Old 11-22-2012, 05:00 AM   #6
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Internal problems are hard to fix. If bacteria are causing the swelling they may still not respond to the med due to immunity, resistance or correct levels of med. Swelling in this case may would be caused indirectly; the direct cause often being organ failure/weakness, so other causes such as metal toxicity, virus or individual congenital diformity could be considered along with the more likely bacterial cause. I don't have a lot of experience diagnosing or treating internal bacterial infections but I think I have one in one of my fish. I will probably feed Kaneplex or a blend of several antibiotocs directly into the fish, which should improve my odds of success over treating the water and hoping the correct amount of med. finds its way into the fish. Good luck.
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Old 11-22-2012, 05:02 AM   #7
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I've used it for dropsy with a bit of improvement, but the fish still died eventually. I do know from personal use that it is helpful with naturally drawing fluid out of the body and reducing swelling (which is why it's used for sprains and backaches and stuff) and for that reason it's recommended as a treatment for dropsy. Like I said the swelling with the dropsy did go down a bit, but I think it was more of a bandaid and not a cure. I did baths rather than dosing the tank with it.
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Old 11-22-2012, 05:13 AM   #8
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I would not be surprised to see the epsom salt thing debunked someday. Lots of people have been reccomend different types of salt for many conditions... "thereputic" salt...with no valid scientific basis, I have ever heard. It probably hurts as often as it helps IMO. There's a lot of crap "info" out there.
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Old 11-22-2012, 05:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wendyjo View Post
...I think it was more of a bandaid and not a cure.
Agreed. Forget the salt. Don't try to treat a symptom with a questionable method. Try your best to diagnose the underlying ilness then use what is most likely to cure it. If you think it is constipation use a proper laxitive like fiber from peas or brine shrimp or other roughage... Bacteria, use antibiotics... etc.
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Old 11-22-2012, 05:26 AM   #10
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I'm a skeptic as well. From what I've read, aquarium salt will often do more harm than good and that overdosing with some species can be fatal.
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:22 PM   #11
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Thanks for the response. I find no way to feed the fish as any food he takes in, just comes out again. He will try the same bit of food for 5-6 times before he quits trying but none stays. So the peas or medicated food is out.
I'm usually not too quick to treat fish but in this case, I really wanted to give it a shot as he is a bit of a favorite.
I'm traveling currently and can't give a recent update but my last act was to use up the Maracyn abd Maracyn II that was on hand at a higher than normal dose. It was going to expire fairly soon so there was no reason to save it. But then there was no apparent effect either. My last big act for this guy was to do a good water change and wish him luck. I advised the lady checking things and showed her the net for disposal if needed.
I'm thinking it will be about 15 days since I noticed him not eating so he may be gone by the time I'm home.
I would like to have a better idea of treating as this seems to come around at odd times for no really obvious reason. I can't say that I will have learned much from just watching him die. About All I've learned in the past is that I'm rarely successful at treating for bloat,dropsey or whatever he has. When cows do this it is often blamed on them eating a plastic bag and there is just not much to do for them either.
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Old 11-24-2012, 03:29 AM   #12
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Fish are hard to treat and a big part of it is cause we just don't even know what's wrong with them. I hope your guy makes it, but sometimes there's just not much you can do or you do everything possible and they still die. I have a betta who's been under the weather for months - fin rot (or maybe biting himself since for months now there's no actual evidence of rot other than some clean chunks missing), clamped, more lethargic than he used to be. I dunno wth is wrong with him. Tried antibiotics, a bit of salt, extra water changes, frozen foods. He's not dying but he's not well either and I dunno what else to do. Anyhow I got off on a tangent there - sorry. Point is that I agree it's very frustrating.
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Old 11-24-2012, 03:36 AM   #13
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You see more vets treat fish these days. They operate and can inject antibiotics.
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:18 AM   #14
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Well, I have a news report. All he needed was a good stern lesson in "tough love"! I just got home and he is alive. Last thing I did before leaving was to wish him well and tell him to start eating or he would die!
I had a lady look in and expecting him to die, I laid a net out. I've not talked to her for a report but all fish seem to be okay but not expecting me as she has been feeding in the morning. How fast they forget who the friends are!
I offered the sick fish a few flakes just as a test and he is HUNGRY! He only got a few flakes tonight but he was sucking them down as fast as he could.

So here's the plan for curing anything that looks like bloat----Try several methods of treatment. It doesn't make any difference what because none will work anyway. This is just to set the fish up for the real treatment. Then you go out and drive around for a week or ten days and when you come back he will be all well.
I guarantee it--- it worked for me. Don't bother with Epsom salt though as it is too cheap. Use something that is really expensive as it will impress your fish much more. It's just a matter of bad fish attitude!
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:35 AM   #15
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