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Old 06-21-2012, 11:37 PM   #1 
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Question SBD, PopEye, Dropsy maybe

My Fancy Dan (crowntail) never seemed to adjust to his 5 gallon cycled tank. He was a rescue from Wal Mart last August that I thought would die due to his extremely dirty water and lack of luster. He didn't and the only problem he had up to now was being able to eat his food without gulping in a lot of air (lips face upward all the time unlike all the other betta's).
At that time he was the only betta I put in a cycled tank that I had used river rock pebbles from Home Depot after rinsing them really well in small amounts and soaking them in hot salt water for 15+ minutes stirring occassionly before rinsing them really good again. Then I let a carbon filter run in the tank 3 days (cleaning it daily) before I took it out to start cycling the tank. When it was done I baffled the filter and acclimated him to the tanks water.
Unlike in the 2 gallon tank he never did a lot of swimming and showing off in the cycled tank and eating became a lot harder. In the 2 gallon tank if the pellet started sinking he would chase it down and get it before it got to the bottom or after it was on the bottom. 5 gallon I left the side away from the filter without any gravel so the 2 problem eaters could do that or I could easily remove what they missed. Yet in the 5 gallon he would only chase the food half way down and never tried to get it off the bottom. All tanks are glass rectangles.
After 6 days in the 5 gallon he really had a hard time eating and not active so I removed him to the 2 gallon tank after acclimating him again that I had used Methylene Blue (MB) in since he might have contacted something out of the gravel.
Next day he still had a hard time eating and started showing signs of SBD. I mistakingly added just a pinch of Aq. Salt to the water dissoved before I checked my notes and found out he needed ES instead. I used MB only the next 2 days then slowly got him on 2 tsp/gallon ES with the MB doing 100% water changes daily. With a magnify glass that same night I realized he had pop-eye and his swollen belly looked gray along with bloated. No pine coneing. His left eye was worse than his right and both seemed to have come down although the left is really pretty big. His bloat has gone away on the belly and his head area seems larger than the rest of his body.
I orginally fasted him for 5 days and on the 6th when changing his water 100% while in his container I notice him looking for food so I fed him 2 small pellets. Next day fasted then next started feeding since he had a stool and his body except for his head area was looking really thin.
I kept him covered all the time and later during the day left one side of the tank uncovered since he never seemed to be stressed. If startled while his eyes where swollen he would dart to the other side of the tank. Now when he knows I'm around (in the bathroom) he comes to the side of the tank that is uncovered.
He still has SBD mainly proping himself upright with his fin on the tank and can swim straight to the other side but when he stops he floats sideways. After he gets a bite he will float sideways (still gulping in a lot of air trying to get the pellet) for a few seconds before he straightens up looking for another bite. Last Bio-Gold baby pellets where not very small so while at a poorly stocked pet shop I found some that look to be 0.05mm and have some NLS on order that is maybe coming in tomorrow along with som Maracyn-Two that the web site said was for Popeye, gill disease, fin and tail rot, dropsy, septicemia, etc.

On the 21st it has been 6 days of ES/MB and when I did the water change he seemed to be a little more active/lively compared to how bad it had gotten yet no where near his same old self. Belly not swollen but gray color, left eye still really big and still has SBD. I have some metronidazole so I mixed up the amount you would use for 2 gallons with a container of frozen brime shrimp, a little color flake food and the newer 0.05mm Betta Bio-Gold pellets. With treezers I dropped a pellet with shrimp and few flakes in the container that had about 1.5" water in it (use a turkey baster to make the water a lot lower when feeding). He missed the shrimp but got the pellet, floated sideways and then tried to get the shrimp but never made it to them and tired out. So I got him another medicated pellet which he got before putting him back into the cleaned tank. Noticed tonight I do have some mosquito larvae in some water I set out (along with other drowned bugs) that I will try to feed him a few during the day tomorrow. Tonight though it will only be more medicated food that I put in the freezer from last night.

He is not getting any worse, but not a whole lot better either so I suspect that at the end of 10-14 days of ES he will need more treatment unless he goes downhill big time before that. The only place I have to buy medication at is a WalMart. Local pet shop doesn't have a very big supply of medication and highly over priced. Paid $4.99 for a banana plant with only about 3/4" banana's. City is 90 miles away and don't have time to run up there. This is what I have on hand. What do you think I should try next along with the amount of time I should spend between treatments?
Intensive Care_Aquatronics (1991)
Aquarium Salt/Epson Salt
Quick Cure_Aqueon
Fish Cycline Forte_Tetracycline_500mg
Methylene Blue_Aquatrol Inc
Kanamycin (Kanaplex)_SeaChem
Furan-2 Powder(Nitrofurazone)_API
Mopani driftwood that I haven't started to soak, would tanins from it be good to introduce now and during future treatments?

BTW a female PK has been put into the tank he was in and has shown no signs of having any problems. She is as mean as a shark though and the only one that is a big time jumper. She jumped out of the water to bite me one time while feeding and another time while cleaning. I suspect he may have gotten stressed in the tank thus picked up something whereas she is too aggressive to get stressed. I have another 5 gallon tank I am in the process of cycling but after this I'm not sure he will ever be able to live in it unless he gets supper well and I float him in the tank a week before letting him out of the specimen container and of course changing its water a few times a day while in it.

Off to do his nightly care, I wait until the AC isn't running big time since the bathroom is the coolest place in the house. He has a heater in the tank and it stays at 80*.
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Old 06-22-2012, 02:22 PM   #2 
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Day 12 MB, Day 7 ES
Both eyes are maybe about same size now with both bulging some still. He moves both looking around, before the left eye that was swollen more he didn't move much if at all. Change came overnight so the medicated food was the only thing done differently.

The food I treated the other night was with Metronidazole & Kanaplex and I froze what I didn't use.
Changing the water he had 2 stools from the last feeding.
The pellets sank right off the bat this time so he had to eat off the bottom of the container (no gulping air). He still floated sideways after a bite but curled up looking at the bottom for more in a second. Never got any of the shrimp, guess he couldn't see them good enough. 2 of the 0.05mm pellets is all I gave him (no other food during the day).

He went to the middle tank and stayed upright a little while before he turned sideways floating, then went to the side of the tank to stay upright after he was back in the tank a little while.

Pics are on 6-18 (MB=day 8, ES=day 3) when he was at one of his worse stages, but his bloated belly was down. Body was curled that night, but back straight now and he keeps all his fins exteneded fully now. He had fasted 5 days & on the 17th got 2 small pellets, but this night he was fasted again. All pictures where sharpened, some show white light reflections-not missing scales and all resized smaller. 2nd picture has bubbles stuck to him by his right eye.
Dark area around the head is from it being on the surface a lot and MB probably.
Looks terrible, but he is fighting it so I am too. Will post more pictures of his progress later.
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Old 06-22-2012, 03:40 PM   #3 
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His body and the floating at the top looks a lot like my little guy. I have him in a ES treatment with Rooibos Tea right now.

Does your guy go to the bottom at all or just spring back up if he tries?
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Old 06-22-2012, 04:18 PM   #4 
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He doesn't even try to go to the bottom, hangs around at the top of the water in the 2 gallon tank propped up against the glass to stay right side up. In the beginning before he got the SBD bad he would chase food down half way to the bottom and then go back to the surface, but all that stopped when he started floating sideways.
Sorry to hear your going through the same thing. Hope it recovers a lot faster than this case is going.
This ones lips are always open and pointing up since I got him and he's always had a harder time eating than the rest.
Different betta had it months ago and just fasting without using ES got it better in a couple of days. Hand pick small pellets for it now.
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Old 06-22-2012, 04:27 PM   #5 
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I'd get him started on the ES treatment as soon as you can, that way you can treat the Popeye and SBD at the same time.

1 tsp/gallon will hopefully do the trick. I hope he gets well soon, he looks like such a beautiful boy D:
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Old 06-22-2012, 04:45 PM   #6 
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Pictures where on day 3 of Epsom salt (ES) at 2 tsp/gallon since his left eye was really bad, etc. He is now on his 7th change of ES that high today.
He is also on his 12th day of 2 drops (1/gallon) of Methylene Blue (MB) which I used since it is good for internal problems, stress, poisoning, SBD, Dropsy, stain parasites, etc. I wasn't sure if something left in the river rock was the cause or not so I used MB. I may start decreasing that and when off use oak leaf tannin or if tannins from the mopani wood that hasn't started soaking yet would be good to use, then use that slowly building up the tannins.
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Old 06-23-2012, 07:19 PM   #7 
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Todays 2 gallon water change=1MB & 4 tsp ES
13th day of MB with this decrease to 1 drop instead of 2 and 8th day of ES in this water change

May not have dropsy if his underside is naturally gray (Pic FD-130). That or my oldest betta that shows no sign of being sick has it.

Still no word on using tannins from mopani wood I'll start soaking if it would be better to use than oak leaves.

So tomorrow I'll acclimate him to no MB and I guess just leave him in ES up to 11 days before I wean him off of it 1 tsp decrease per day so by day 14 only 1 tsp ES will be used and day 15 no ES.
I guess from there 2 days plain water before going to using medication in case he has dropsy and make sure his popeye is 100% cured.
After he has been with no ES 7 days I'll add it in for his SBD.
I'll keep feeding him medicated food pellets until I get him in medication and then may start fasting him 3 days at a time to get his SBD better. I have some NLS pellets in I may feed him since his medicated food that was soaked probably lost it's protien at some point.

I'm detailing what I'm doing but do not suggest others follow suit unless like me they come for help and it seems none is given.

FD-121 before water change center tank stay upright little bit before sideways, eyes normal?
FD-123 corner tank eyes normal?
FD-125 side tank prop up, fins normally kept open most of time
FD-128 container looking for food, eyes normal?
FD-130 gray belly?=dropsy..used a lot of sharpen/clarify to bring it out in dark picture
FD-131 after fed looking for more but propping up
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Old 06-24-2012, 05:54 PM   #8 
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IMO/E-that looks/sounds like Mycobacteriosis and the best thing....and I hate to say this...but he needs to be euthanized......Unless I am seeing the pics wrong- but his spine looks curved/deformed and if it is and he wasn't always like that...then it is most likely Mycobacteriosis......

Not a lot can be done-especially in the late stages...Plus you risk all your fish.....

Sorry I couldn't give you better news or hope.....but-sometimes we have to do what is best for the fish......
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Old 06-24-2012, 07:42 PM   #9 
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Thanks for the replys.
His spine was not like that before.
It was like that only for a day really bad because he was constantly propping himself up on the tank with his body after 5 days of no food. When he swam it would straighten back up that day and with mycobacteriosis I think they can't even swim without the body staying that way if I recall right.
It has straightened back out (FD-121 pic) and curved only when propping himself up on the side of the tank, yet most of the time he just uses a fin to hold himself upright instead of his body probably because he is getting some medicated food and has more strength.
I have seen fish with mycobacteriosis years ago so it did worry me when he was in that shape, but they never did have their bodys go back straight like his had if I recall right.

Can they get cramps or due to lack of strenght (withholding food for SBD 5 days) and using their bodys to hold themselves up get in this shape temporarally or can ones with Mycobacteriosis temporarily straighten themselves back up?

Does the picture above (FD-130) gray on his underside look like dropsy to you?

I had my notes wrong and he isn't showing signs of septicemia (blood poisoning), but the Aeromonas Bacterium that causes septicemia also causes SBD, popeye and dropsy. Since there is a chance that could have existed by using non-aq river rock and him being stressed in the 5 gallon cycled tank I'm suppecting it as the underlying cause.
He does not seem to be suffering (only starving-aggressively looks for food when cupped during the water changes) so I think I will try treating for that before I give up all hope because he hasn't.

The only treatments he has had is MB, Epsom and probably poorly made medicated food and he has become better with it in a 2 gallon hospital tank (no filter). So I think it would only be fair to him to try gram-negative antibiotics both internally and externally. If he takes a turn for the worse then yes I will either put him to sleep or do as you suggested so he can go peacefully. I know he probably needs to detox so tonight I'll do as you said since then will mark only his 9th dose of ES. My driftwood has been soaking in a covered bucket outside since about 1 pm so I'll use that as the tannin and make up some oak leaf tannin now.

I do know sometimes even when animals fight and show no signs of giving up even when there is no hope for them (organ failure) there comes a time when you do have to euthanize them. Don't think I'm going against your suggestion, because I know it is hard to make those kind of calls when your not able to have the full details or be with the animal full time. And if with mycobacteriosis if they can straighten back out for days, then if he gets like that again I will put him to sleep. I have one animal alive today a vet had said it was probably time to put them down, so sometimes even when it's a bleak picture we know their ups and downs more. Others I have held their paws while they where put to sleep, so it's not a matter of not being able to do what's best.

I appreciate your time and thoughts and hope you can get back on my other questions since I have other betta's too.
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Old 07-09-2012, 05:29 PM   #10 
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Wahaha, I had to dig to find this.

So to summarize:

You got him in August 2011 and he was perfectly healthy minus his air gulping-while-eating habit in a 2 Gallon. You moved him to a cycled 5 gallon and he got sick? Or was he always sick just got worse in a 5 gallon?

Either way, I think he may just be:
a) getting old (and swapping tanks may have stressed him)
b) has chronic SBD possibly due to his awkward eating/breathing

I personally don't think he has dropsy in any of these photos, and the pop-eye only appears in some photos, so it's hard to say.

Last edited by bahamut285; 07-09-2012 at 05:32 PM.
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