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Old 02-16-2013, 02:53 PM   #1 
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Unhappy Dropsy in New Bettas

Hello all, last Sunday I added two new girls to my 10 gallon betta sorority. Today, I noticed to my dismay that the new fish's scales are beginning to pinecone. I have moved the original fish to temporary housing in the hopes that they won't catch it. I realize the chances of my girls recovering from dropsy is next to nil, but I would welcome some advice on how to best care for them. A google search has come up with a dozen contrasting ways to handle this. I live in a tiny town whose only petstore has just closed, so my access to meds is very limited. I can turn up the heater and add epsom salts, but that is all I know to do. What else can I try to make them more comfortable at the least?

Thank you so much.
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:04 PM   #2 
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It's always a good idea to quarantine new fish for a month to prevent exposure of disease, or it could be stress response. I would break down and disinfect the tank and cycle it all over again before returning your healthy girls, but that will be your call. Sorry.

Need more info on the 10g if you want to leave the fish in there (but I would at least add a divider and not keep them together) : Please add how long the tank has been set up with fish and if you have live plants.

In the meantime they need to be treated with epsom salts at 1 tsp per gallon predissolved and added slowly over an hour to avoid shock. It needs to be 100% pure magnesium sulfate with no additives. In another 12 hours you can add an additional tsp per gallon epsom salt, bringing it to 2 tsp per gallon. They will also need a good internal antibiotic (which will toast your biofilter in your tank) like Kanaplex, or triple sulfa may work if you cannot find the kanaplex. You need to treat for 2 weeks.
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:27 PM   #3 
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What size is your tank?
10 gallons

What temperature is your tank?
Typically 78. I'm turning it up to 84 for the sick girls.

Does your tank have a filter?

Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?

Is your tank heated?

What tank mates does your betta fish live with?
It's a female sorority ranging from 3-5 fish.

What type of food do you feed your betta fish?
Omega One Betta Flakes

How often do you feed your betta fish?
A small pinch twice per day, 6 days a week.


How often do you perform a water change?
20% water changes twice weekly, 50% water changes once per month.

What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?
Typically Topfin water conditioner, but occasionally Aqueon Ammonia Neutralizer if ammonia starts to rise a little.

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia: .25 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0 ppm
pH: 6.5
Hardness: General :~15 ppm
Carbonate: 0 ppm
Alkalinity: n/a

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
Scales have pineconed.

How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
They are laying on their sides on the bottom of their tank except to get air.

When did you start noticing the symptoms?
The pineconed scales have only been noticeable since this morning. They have been gradually becoming more lethargic for about 3 days now.

Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
Except to start warming the tank, not yet.

Does your fish have any history of being ill?
They are new fish.

How old is your fish (approximately)?
They are 2 1/2 weeks out of the petstore.

Last edited by Faezify; 02-16-2013 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:45 PM   #4 
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Also, I very much doubt that I will be able to get a hold of those antibiotics anytime soon. I'd have to order them. I do have some Tetracycline leftover from a scare last year. It's supposed to treat bacterial diseases. Would that work, or should I go ahead and order the meds?
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:57 PM   #5 
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Don't turn the temp up. If it's not stress or injury it's probably a bacterial infection and the high heat will only speed up the disease process.

Tetracycline will not work. It is an API med though so if you found it you should be able to find Triple Sulfa. If you can't find API meds Maracyn Plus or Maracyn 1 & 2 in combo have a chance.

Your tank is not cycled. Chemicals do not replace water changes. Cycling takes up to 2 months and during this time you should be testing daily for ammonia and nitrite and doing an extra 50% change any time either show up. In addition to this a regular 50% weekly change with siphon is needed. Your readings show the tank has not even barely started to cycle. First you will see ammonia spike, then you will see nitrites. Eventually, even after a week of no water changes ammonia will stay at 0, then finally nitrites. At this point you should be left with only nitrates, which should be kept <20ppm and the lower the betta by the once weekly change with siphon.

Your bettas are too sick to be subjected to cycling. I would do weekly 100% changes in the 10g while they are healing.

This may also be helpful with the sororities. 3 is too few and you have to add them all together. It's also possible the other girls picked on your new bettas and caused the internal organ failure..
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:43 PM   #6 
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As I said in my first post, the only pet store down here, from which I got the tetracycline, has just closed. All I have is a walmart. I cannot get a hold of any more antibiotics without ordering them.

My tank has been running for approximately 7 months. I assure you that it has been cycled and has been home to a number of healthy bettas for some time.

The new girls have no internal organ damage because they have been in an isolation net in order for everyone to get acquainted without being able to do damage. Thank you for your advice on the number of fish in my tank, but I am not new to betta sororities. I am however new to dropsy. What I really need is advice on how to make my sick girls more comfortable with limited access to the resources and expertise provided by a pet store.
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Old 02-16-2013, 07:27 PM   #7 
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I don't know what happend, but your cycle has broken down. You have ammonia with no nitrates. A fully cycled tank will have no ammonia, no nitrites and some nitrates unless you are very heavily stocked with root plants that eat the nitrates, but then you shouldn't have ammonia either. Sorry but something has happened to break down your cycle.

Walmart carries the Maracyns, at least most do. You should look. But if yours doesn't I doubt your bettas will make it. The best thing you can do is keep their water clean - again the ammonia is not okay and adding chems is not an okay way to deal with it - and the epsom salts.
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