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Old 01-04-2013, 05:09 PM   #1 
elledreen
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Is this dropsy?

I came home from vacation to find my 2 year old betta, Alpha, is terrible condition! He is bloated, fairly lethargic, his color is TERRIBLE and he definitely has the pinecone look to him. I immediately went to look up what it could be, and I'm really afraid it's dropsy :(

here are some pictures:


He has all the symptoms of dropsy, but any opinions on what else it could be would be so much appreciated! I know he is not constipated because he has produced stool in the isolation tank. His main symptoms are lethargy, severe bloating, raised scales, loss of color, and improper swimming. He doesn't have an appetite, and he is pretty much inactive, but he randomly freaks out and darts around the tank sometimes. I have isolated him into a glass bowl with shallow water to aid his breathing, I used all new treated water, however it is not heated. I have been gradually adding some warmer water (not too much to shock him) but I don't think that will help. He has lived in a 2.5 gallon tank with no filter or heater & routine water changes and has been happy and healthy for 2 years until now. He is normally a dark iridescent blue, but his fins have faded and atrophied to a grayish red.

I don't know how to treat dropsy, I've looked at many websites but most say he will likely die. Apparently you can remove fluid with a tiny syringe but I'm not skilled enough to anesthetize him or perform the procedure. Is there anything I can do for him? I hate to see him suffer so much, but I don't know if I can bring myself to euthanize him...

I left him with a friend who has watched him before, and I don't think it was her fault. I cleaned his tank before I left, and I was gone for 11 days. She did not do any water changes, only fed him his normal amount. Any information at all would be so much appreciated, thank you so much!
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:48 PM   #2 
Hopelessaddict101
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That definately looks like dropsy. You can try and treat him like this:

Move him to a QT tank or bowl.

Treatment: If you spot the early signs of Dropsy then treat him/her with ES at 1-2tsp/gal and Jungle’s Anti-Parasite pellets while performing 100% daily water changes. It helps to increase the temperature to 84*F. If he/she has begun Pineconning then do the full course as described below:
Performing daily 100% water changes. Increase the temperature to 84*F. Add 1-2 tsp/gal Epsom Salt. Use API General Cure OR API Erythromycin OR Maracyn II and/or Maracyn for best results. Feed something containing Metronidazole, for example, Jungle’s Anti-Parasite pellets. If caught early, Dropsy is curable.

I got this off :')
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:54 PM   #3 
elledreen
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Housing
What size is your tank? 2.5 gal
What temperature is your tank? ~75 degrees
Does your tank have a filter? no
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no
Is your tank heated? no
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? none

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Aqeuon Betta food
How often do you feed your betta fish? twice a day, 2-3 pellets

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? weekly
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 20-40%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Conditioner

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? (No) If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness: soft water
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? color has changed from dark blue to unhealthy reddish gray. He is bloated, has pineconing, and his fins look more transparent and smaller.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He is mostly floating nose-up and at surface. Lethargic, lack of appetite, sudden bursts of panicked energy, not swimming much & struggling to swim
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Unknown, because I wasn't home
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Changed water, attempted to raise water temp, did one treatment of epsom salts, no improvement
Does your fish have any history of being ill? None, he has always been healthy
How old is your fish (approximately)? 2 years on January 8th, just hoping he makes it til then :(
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:59 PM   #4 
AyalaCookiejar
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I'd say since you were gone you missed the early symptoms.
It IS true that you can treat dropsy and he may recover for a few months but eventually the dropsy will come back. Many people think that by the time you start to notice pineconing, it's too late. However, that doesn't mean it isn't treatable, still, but his chances are slim.

Treating him or not is entirely up to you. If you think he may be able to recover and want to treat him, then go ahead. But, if you think it may not work and will just prolong his suffering... I wouldn't.

It's a hard decision for any keeper when they notice pineconing, but many fish have been able to recover (temporarily) and live another few months or longer.

Edit: One more thing; dropsy itself is not a disease, it's internal organ failure caused by something else that's been going on. My guess is that water quality may have been an issue, because for one, the tank needs a changing more often than once a week (for a 2.5 gallon) and also needs to have 100% changes with no filter, and two, his water hadn't been changed for that 11 days that you were away and the ammonia probably was pretty built up.

Last edited by AyalaCookiejar; 01-04-2013 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 01-04-2013, 06:01 PM   #5 
elledreen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopelessaddict101 View Post
That definately looks like dropsy. You can try and treat him like this:

Move him to a QT tank or bowl.

Treatment: If you spot the early signs of Dropsy then treat him/her with ES at 1-2tsp/gal and Jungle’s Anti-Parasite pellets while performing 100% daily water changes. It helps to increase the temperature to 84*F. If he/she has begun Pineconning then do the full course as described below:
Performing daily 100% water changes. Increase the temperature to 84*F. Add 1-2 tsp/gal Epsom Salt. Use API General Cure OR API Erythromycin OR Maracyn II and/or Maracyn for best results. Feed something containing Metronidazole, for example, Jungle’s Anti-Parasite pellets. If caught early, Dropsy is curable.

I got this off :')
Thanks for the info. The dropsy looks very far progressed, he is very pineconed as you can see in the pictures, and his color is really bad. I will keep doing the epsom salts because I already have it. Tomorrow I will try and find the antibiotic treatments, and borrow my friend's heater, but I have very little money to spare so hopefully the Maracyn or other meds aren't too expensive...

Another question: would it be dangerous to use a heat lamp to heat the water? I have those on hand but I'm not sure it's safe.
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Old 01-04-2013, 06:05 PM   #6 
AyalaCookiejar
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I wouldn't use a heat lamp as it will not heat the water consistently. I'd float his QT tank inside the regular tank to keep the temp steady.

Also, the sudden bursts of panicked energy also indicate internal organ failure.
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Old 01-04-2013, 06:16 PM   #7 
elledreen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AyalaCookiejar View Post
I wouldn't use a heat lamp as it will not heat the water consistently. I'd float his QT tank inside the regular tank to keep the temp steady.

Also, the sudden bursts of panicked energy also indicate internal organ failure.
Thank you for the information, also that's very sad to hear. I haven't been using a heat lamp, I was too afraid it would inconsistently heat the water and overheat it. At this point I think he is beyond treatment, I think had I been home when symptoms began I may have been able to treat him, but when I got home he was already very bad.

I feel so guilty that I left him, and now he has to suffer... I don't currently have clove oil, but of I did I'm not sure I could bring myself to euthanize him. I will think about it overnight, I may ask a less-squeamish friend if he would consider humanely decapitating him so he wont feel pain. If not I will consider the clove oil, I have a good article on how to gradually add the oil so they will not panic and just sleep.

I have had him for 2 years now, and it does make me very sad to know he likely wont survive, I was planning on moving him into a 10 gallon tank this weekend I found for a very good price, which would allow enough room for me to put in a filter (I had a functioning filter from a past tank, but it was just too strong for the 2.5 gallon). If only :(
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Old 01-04-2013, 06:39 PM   #8 
AyalaCookiejar
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I'm really sorry :( It's not easy. Did you get him from the pet store? He may have been older than you thought when you got him and many of them will near their time at 3 years of age.

I do think that it could have been prevented with another water change a week and if you had either not left him or taken him with you, but I know that this cannot be changed now and it may not have been an option, but it is good to learn from it.

Pineconing is usually the final stages of dropsy and he may not make it until tomorrow. I would give him some quiet and darken his tank to keep him a little more calm and comfortable.

I am very glad that you have decided to get a larger tank for him and that you want to do what is best for him, but I hope it won't discourage you as a keeper because there is always more to learn and every betta has his or her own little perks that we learn to love, which is why it's so hard to say goodbye to each and every one of them.

I'm really sorry that you and him have to go through this, though. :(
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