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Old 01-26-2011, 12:48 PM   #1 
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Help Fishum! Constipated or Dropsy?

I have a beautiful three year old red betta named Fishum. He's a man's man, ladies man - loved by all.

A week ago I did something bad - I ran out of his pellets so I gave him some flakes. He was quite snobby about it and let me know he was clearly unimpressed.

I was really busy last week so he had to go about three days with flakes, which he barely ate. Then I went to the pet shop and bought his regular pellets, hoping he would love me again for making such a mistake in his diet.

I gave him his pellets but he didn't seem hungry. I thought that was weird but figured he'd eat while I went to work. When I came back, I noticed he wasn't as active and floating almost vertically and very still. Two days ago got much worse, now he's bloated and his little scales are poking out a little bit and he has a white spot on the top of his fin. WHAT HAPPENED???

I read online last night that I shouldn't feed him right now so I scooped out his food and have been spending the morning with him. I put his bowl under a lamp and am playing some music - he likes it.

He seemed to interact a lot with my boyfriend this morning, but he just looks miserable. I tried to feed him some peas and he was not having it.
I read somewhere that I could give him a bath in epsom salt. What's the proper way to do that?

I know bettas aren't supposed to live a long time, but he was fine and now all of a sudden, he seems to be near death! I believe he still has a lot of life left in him, I just have to try to save him! Help!

I'm just relieved because now he's moving his little fins again. I'm gone a lot and he hasn't had a whole lot of interaction. I don't want to part with him, but I also don't want him to die from boredom or neglect. What do I do!!?
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Old 01-26-2011, 07:11 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Batavia, IL
If you look at him from the top and his scales stick out to where he looks like a little pinecone, then its Dropsy. If hes just chubby and having a hard time getting around, then its bloating or possibly SBD which aren't as big of a deal and easily treated with fasting and some Daphnia.

Dropsy, however, as far as I know, is pretty much incurable. I believe its actually a symptom of some other underlying infection or disease, which is usually associated with poor water quality, and once it starts to show its pretty much too late. Also because there are different things that can cause the pine-coning to occur, Dropsy is very difficult to treat, if not impossible unless your sure of the underlying cause.

Epsom salt sometimes does help with Dropsy. Instead of bothering with a bath, I would just treat it more like Aquarium salt and add about half a teaspoon per gallon to his water and do more frequent water changes, slowly increasing the amount of salt to a teaspoon per gallon(being sure to dissolve fully before adding of course). It couldn't hurt to give it a shot and its best to not jump right into hard medication if you can avoid it.

However, since you mentioned a bowl, I assume hes in something small with no heater, and right there is probably one of your biggest issues. Contrary to popular belief, bettas are in fact tropical fish, and can life 5 years or more in proper conditions(2.5+gallon tank with a constant temp of 78-80 degrees F), where as their life expectancy in a small unheated bowl is less then half. And the smaller the container, the quicker ammonia builds up, and if you don't do frequent enough water changes the the water quality plumits quickly and you end up with a sick, or dead fish.
If his bowl is less then a gallon, I'd suggest looking for a larger container(Larger Kritter Keepers work quite well and aren't too pricey), or better yet a new tank if you can afford it, and definitely get a small, fully submersible, adjustable heater before starting to try and treat him. If the bowl is a gallon or so, then you may be able to fit the heater in there and see if you can treat him, then upgrade later on if he gets better.

Hopefully I could help some :)
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