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Old 01-18-2010, 01:04 PM   #1 
Fishy Wiegert
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Mild Dropsy and swollen gills... old age?

My Betta, Fishy is in a 2gallon cube with thriving live plants, 9watt light, and small HOB filter adjusted for low flow and filled with bio balls along with the filter insert. Water is heated to 76-78*. Water used is 12 step filtered RO water treated with Kent liquid RO right

We've had him for a bit over 2 years now... rescued from a craft store. He was already quite a large adult so I don't know how old he is really... probably at least 2.5 if not 3 years.

He has swim bladder problems if he eats too much so he gets a tetrabetta pellet every couple of days or so and Hikari freeze dried blood worms every other non pellet day.

He gets a 50% water change weekly (I have a spare heater so I preheat his fresh new water to prevent temperature shock).

Recently he's become slightly pale in color and a bit less active... he still swims around and interacts with us... eats aggressively and sometimes flares a little. No where near as much as he used to though. He used to flare and dance in front of his filter all evening. He does spend more time resting in his plants or near the bottom though. He doesn't clamp his fins.. but he doesn't flap them about when he's resting.

I noticed at first one gill slightly out.. like he was partially flaring.. but it stayed like that all the time. That was a week or so ago. Now both gills are swollen. They aren't off color or anything though. I noticed that yesterday and so I did a full water change (50% then refill then rechange and refill and repeat) and treated with marycin plus and maracide.

Today I noticed he's started to pinecone just a little bit. It's very slight... mostly around his gills/belly. It's not full on dropsy yet.(I had a badis dropsy once... literally a pine cone with fins).

Otherwise he shows no other signs of illness. I just fed him and he was quite active.. dancing around, watching me... attacking his food. Now he is hovering about the front of the tank watching me and if he sees me move or wave at him he dances about.

Is it possible that the mild dropsy is caused by old age? I know when people get old things start to fail without any disease (bacterial or whatnot) as cause. What about the swollen gills though?

Thanks for any help

a picture of Fishy in his younger days... 2 years ago

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Old 01-18-2010, 01:26 PM   #2 
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I've heard that freeze-dried food can give them constipation. Is the bloat localized in his belly?
The experts are probably going to want a current photo of him, though, just a warning. (I'm not an expert. I just read a lot.)

What a beautiful betta!! I'm jealous. ;D
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Old 01-18-2010, 01:57 PM   #3 
Fishy Wiegert
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Here are current photos. Hard to take because he thinks the camera might be food... and then swims all over when he realizes it's not.

and his tank (ignore the algae )

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Old 01-19-2010, 08:09 PM   #4 
Fishy Wiegert
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Well... day three of meds and his color is a bit better... he's more active and I got him to flare and show off to his reflection. Before I could hold a mirror in front of him and he'd just stare dumbly at it.

I got a good look at his gills while he was flaring and the gills themselves look perfect. It's the gill covers and the 'frill' used during flaring that are puffy. It has gone down a bit though.

I think he's extremely constipated... so I cooked up a pea and he furiously attacked and ate all the bits I gave him. He almost impaled himself on the (thankfully blunted) toothpick I was using so I just stuck the pea bit onto my finger and he was fine attacking my finger to get the food.

Now I'm going to wait and see if he poops finally. I haven't seen poops in his tank in forever.

Thursday is the last medication day and then Saturday I'm going to do his water change and will report back if he's improved more.

I think I'm going to cut back on the freeze dried food, maybe pre-soak his pellets.. and incorporate peas into his diet as well.
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Old 01-19-2010, 08:54 PM   #5 
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If it is Dropsy, then there isn't any cure, sadly. There have been some cases where it wasn't really dropsy, and they got over it, but most of the time it is Dropsy. From what I've seen, it can take either one day for it to kill the fish, or a month or so. It really depends on the betta. I do see some slight pine coning, so you could be dealing with your betta's last days, here. If that is the case, the most that can be said is to make him as comfortable as possible, and hope he doesn't feel pain.
Also, it's better to not feed peas unless it's the last possible choice, as bettas are carnivores, and the pea isn't very healthy for them. For a healthier alternative, try looking around for some daphnia, which works the same, but is a more natural cure.
Good luck!
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Old 01-19-2010, 08:59 PM   #6 
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Oy.... poor boy.

One of my boys passed from dropsy. I did everything in the book there is to do. Jus keep him warm and comfortable. And pray. :)
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