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Old 02-18-2013, 10:59 AM   #1 
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Unhappy Betta Dropsy Cure / Pain Reduction

Hello Community,

I have recently noticed that my Betta is being pretty lethargic and having trouble floating (lays a bit on side at bottom) and squeezes next to filter in a vertical fashion. I had a lot of problems with a swelling side earlier and because he was starting to seem in pain drained it with a syringe (he was great for a week or so after that even jumping for food).

The one aspect that has occurred with this new lethargy is slightly raised scales (you have to look hard to see them as not very apparent). I am pretty sure its dropsy or some sort of internal infection. To treat presently, I have been treating with both Kanaplex in his 5g tank, Epsom salt (6 tsp for the tank), an Indian Almond Leaf as well as made him a custom food mix. The food is mashed up tiny pellets mixed with focus, tank water, and Kanaplex. Surprisingly he loves the stuff and greedly gobbles it up. I don't think it should go bad left out as its just mushed up food and meds right?

Anyway, I wanted to see as its early on with the disease if I cant maybe cure it. Although, I am aware its pretty fatal I want to try and keep it under control as I feel it reduces his pain that way. I feel like if hes got fight left in him we ought to give him the chance and not euthanize . He does still jump for food at times and exhibits short bursts of energy. Any advice?

Please see pictures after surgery was two days after draining (bump shown) and presently is today (laying on side).

Here are some more Parameters:

What size is your tank? 5 Gallon Hex
What temperature is your tank? 83ish Consistent
Does your tank have a filter? Yes, Carbon Based / Bio filter
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No but the filter does mix it up pretty well
Is your tank heated? Yes, 83ish degrees.
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? Hes a loner lol.

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Presently small fish new life spectrum mixed with meds or freeze dried daphnia.
How often do you feed your betta fish? Twice daily small amounts.


How often do you perform a water change? Every 5-6 days
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? Roughly 70-80 percent.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Epsom Salt (recent), API Stress Coat Plus.

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? Yes (pre water change btw)

If so, what are the following parameters?
Ammonia: .25ppm
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: 8.2

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
Seems a little lighter in color and has slight sticking out fins. Also, although the puncture removed all but one small bump the side seems to be getting slightly larger again.

How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
Seems to be more lethargic and trouble staying higher in water. Seems to like to stay vertical a lot and cram next to filter near water top. Also lays around a lot more. Still jumps at times for food though:)

When did you start noticing the symptoms?
Bout 3 days ago now. The initial side swelling was like 2 months ago. The laying around and slight pine coning / sticking up scales was withing the last few days.

Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
Yes please see top content section for info.

Does your fish have any history of being ill?
Had the swollen side that I drew liquid clear yellow out of a week or so ago. Seemed to be struggling on and off with pinhole fin rot at times.

How old is your fish (approximately)? Probably around 2 - 2 1/2.
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Last edited by techstud85; 02-18-2013 at 11:01 AM. Reason: Explaination
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:45 AM   #2 
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He might be a tad bit hot. Try to cool down the water.

Luckily your guy isn't like this yet:

Try to treat it with this Maracyn, Maracyn-Two combined for bacterial infecitons.

This is from another website that I highly trust (
Notes: Dropsy is nearly always fatal and some aqurist may prefer to not treat it.

I'm sorry.

Edit: His scales may not pinecone, but he'll get very bloated like this:

Add 1/2 a tsp of aquarium salt per gallon to help with the bloating.

Last edited by Crowntails; 02-18-2013 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:56 AM   #3 
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Kanaplex is probably the BEST thing you could have to treat it. If you have metro, you can also mix it with Kanaplex. Dropsy is usually caused by an internal bacterial infection (treated by Kanaplex) but it can also be caused by an internal parasite that you can't see in their poo that can be treated with Metro.

I've lost a fish to dropsy and it is a relatively fast moving disease. If the meds aren't working, he will probably decline quickly in the course of the day. I still think that Kanaplex and the epsoms are probably the most effective treatment, and combined with IAL, I think he's got the best chance he can get.

Dropsy is completely treatable. However, most people who successfully treat dropsy will see it come back in a couple of months so be prepared. It is caused by the internal organs shutting down/malfunctioning, and it's not necessarily reversible although it is treatable.

Edit: Also, Aquarium salt won't help. You are doing good with the epsom salts.
And one more thing: The meds usually lose their effectiveness after a while so it is best to make a new mix of the food every 24 hours. I'm feeding meds right now and I mix up the metro daily, and I also soak the pellets and let them dry so that they won't sink (I have a blind fish who can't catch sinking pellets, lol).

Last edited by AyalaCookiejar; 02-18-2013 at 11:59 AM.
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Old 02-18-2013, 02:07 PM   #4 
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Red face Few More Questions

Hi AyalaCookiejar,

I just ordered the Metro-Meds as if its got a shot its worth it to me. Peeta is a trooper and want to do all I can even if it dropsy infection becomes dormant and comes back at a later date. Still worth the extra time he gets!

Overall, I am glad that you confirmed that I am on the right track for doing something. It seemed that the combo through research should be helping and he definitely does not seem to be getting worse. As I am new to all this, the feedback sure helps.

On the medication end, you generally mix the Kanaplex with the Metro aka soak it into it? The questions I have are about mixing them. How much do you use for mixing with the food a full spoon or less? Can I mix the Metro with Kanaplex and Focus (binding agent) together as well? Lastly, would it be find to dump the Kanaplex into the tank as well or would that be overkill? Don't want to OD but the more in him I would think would help right as long as not too much?

Thanks so much for your help:)
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Old 02-18-2013, 02:27 PM   #5 
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Kanaplex is a gentle medication and shouldn't hurt him. I'm not sure if its necessary to feed it and add it to the water since they can absorb it. Metro and Kanaplex are fine to mix, but I'm not sure what focus is.
If you do add it to the water, I'd use the recommended dose. Under dosing meds can result in bacteria that are resistant to the meds.

I would ask Callistra or Sakura8 for more info on meds and dosing.
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:17 PM   #6 
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Focus is by Seachem and is used for binding the medication to the food (less loss into the water when put in bowl per description). Probably not super necessary but I am not sure if it would help or hurt. If you have had luck with the food and Kanaplex internally, that is what I will be trying. Anyone else have dosing advice?

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Old 02-18-2013, 03:55 PM   #7 
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Like I said, I would contact Callistra or Sakura8 or possibly both. I know that both of them are familiar with Kanaplex and Metro and they are probably also familiar with other products by Seachem.

I know they get a lot of questions but if you PM them I'm sure they'd be happy to look at this thread for you.
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:30 PM   #8 
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How long has he been on Kanaplex.. just in his food or also in the water? How long do you soak the food with Kanaplex?

You need a different pellet to feed meds as NLS won't soak anything properly.

What color is his poop?
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