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Old 09-15-2011, 10:51 AM   #1 
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mathkid's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
Unhappy Ich + Dropsy? =( with pictures

Hi guys, long time lurker, first time poster.

My fish, Dragon, has gotten sick. I got him from a friend in June; she got him in October. He's pretty big, for a betta. She had been keeping him in a 1/2 gal bowl (typical betta kit, the same one I got when I first got a betta several years ago) and using BettaSafe to keep the water clean rather than water changes. I wanted to give him a better life, not kill him =(

What size is your tank? 2.5g
What temperature is your tank? Usually around 80, right now 85-86
Does your tank have a filter? No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Pellets, Zoo Med
How often do you feed your betta fish? twice/day, 3 pellets

How often do you perform a water change? Usually every 4 days, right now every 2 days
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Prime (used to use AquaSafe). I used to use aquarium salt, but right now I'm not.

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

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: haven't tested
Hardness: haven't tested
Alkalinity: haven't tested

Symptoms and Treatment
Here's the story so far:
Day Ich Status Medicine Water changes Temp
1 9/6 4 visible spots on right pectoral fin 1.75mL Maracide 80-82
2 9/7 1 visible spot on right pectoral fin 85-87
3 9/8 Last spot fell off 1.75mL Maracide 25% 85-87
4 9/9 No new spots 85-87
5 9/10 1.75mL Maracide 25% 85-87
6 9/11 4 new spots on right pec fin D= 5p: 2dr QuickCure, 2tsp salt 100%: 2G 86
7 9/12 2 spots on fin still, 2 tiny pinprick holes 7p: 2dr QuickCure, 0 salt = 1.8tsp 10%: .2G 86-89?
8 9/13 More holes, lots of small spots on fin 2mL Maracide, no salt 100% 84
9 9/14 Beginning treatment for Dropsy 2mL Maracyn2, 2 tsp Epsom salt 86
10 - 9/15 No new ich. Still swollen belly. 2mL Maracide, 0.2pkg Maracyn2, 4tsp ES 86

On Sep 6, I noticed 4 visible spots on his pectoral fin (pic). I ran out and got Maracide just as PetSmart was closing and dosed him with it. I turned up the temperature that night to 86.

At first he seemed to be doing better - maybe the Maracide, maybe the temperature? But in any case, over the next two days the spots fell off. I wasn't doing full water changes since I wasn't sure if that was OK with the Maracide - I was just doing 25% changes. But then on the 11th, there were new spots =(

I panicked and did a 100% water change and switched meds to QuickCure. I also took out the gravel in the tank.

But on the 13th, after 36 hours of QuickCure, he didn't seem to be improving - actually, he kind of seemed to be going paler. Also I noticed these tiny pinprick holes in his fins that looked like a bad sign... and I found out that A) formalin doesn't mix well with salt, and B) malachite green is light sensitive so I was supposed to be keeping the tank dark. So I did another 100% water change, took out the aquarium salt, and switched back to Maracide. I did notice a slight swelling on his tummy then. =( I wasn't sure if I had overfed him (I usually feed 3 pellets but there were a couple of times when I lost track and I think I might have given him 4.)

Last night (the 14th), the swelling was more noticeable. He is not pineconeing on top at all, but I started treatment for dropsy: 1tsp Epsom salt/gallon, Maracyn II.

Today (9/15), I did another 100% water change, added Day 3 of Maracide, upped the ES to 2tsp/gallon, and am on Day 2 of Maracyn II. I'm keeping the tank dark.

Until the last couple of days, he's been his normal self - gobbling down his food, swimming around. Lately he's not quite GOBBLED as greedily as he usually does. He's resting a lot more - maybe because I started covering the tank? Or maybe he's gotten really sick... =(

I noticed today his poop is brown and stringy instead of round and red like usual. Is it because of the Epsom salt? I am planning to go out and get anti-parasite pellets today and feed them to him tonight.

Am I doing anything wrong?? Is there anything else I can do?

Attached images:
1310 - I noticed slight greying & swelling of fin before this happened
1318 - Ich =(
1346 - Brown stringy poop
1349 - Swollen belly
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Old 09-15-2011, 12:23 PM   #2 
Indyfishy's Avatar
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Location: Indiana
To be honest, I don't really see anything much wrong with him. I definitely don't think he has dropsy, he would be pineconing by now if he did, and be wayyyy more swollen. It looks like he's just bloated. However, he is pretty swollen so I would go ahead and put him in quarantine with 1 tsp of epsom salt in with him. No medications, just epsom salt and dechlorinator. You can leave him in QT for up to 10 days with epsom. If the swelling gets worse or doesn't change in about 4 days then up the dosage to 3 tsps per gallon. It looks like his case of ick isn't that severe, so an aquarium salt dip should get rid of that. Mix one gallon of dechlorinated water with aquarium salt to use for the dips. Make sure the water is about the same temp as your QT tank so he doesn't go into shock. Scoop your little guy into the salt bath and leave him in there for 10-15 minutes. Watch him closely, if he has a bad reaction to it then get ready to put him back in his QT tank very quickly. Make sure you rinse the container that you did the dip in very well with hot water, as the parasites are going to fall off of him in the salt dip. You can do this up to 5 times daily, and I would do it for atleast one day after you no longer see the ick. Make sure you do a very thorough tank cleaning to make sure that there are no eggs or parasites left in the tank.
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Old 09-15-2011, 01:40 PM   #3 
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Hi Indyfishy,

Thanks for the reply - and thanks for some perspective, I know I tend to over-worry about these things =)

I'll finish out the meds since I started them already and I hear it's bad to stop half way but it'll be salt and rest after that if he's still sick...

How much salt do you put in a salt dip?

Question re: Maracide, which is supposed to dose on days 1, 3, 5 - can I do water changes on days 2 & 4?

Question re: Maracyn II, is it possible to store? It's 1 packet to 10g and I've only got 2g of water, so I mix the packet with 20mL of water and dose with 4mL of that. Can I keep the rest and use it tomorrow? I heard it loses potency as soon as it hits water... could I store it for 24 hours or will it be useless by then?

Annd, apparently the Jungle Anti Parasite medicated fish food is no longer sold anywhere - I went to Pet Club, PetSmart and called Petco. Not on Amazon either. Anyone know what happened?


P.S. I'm from Indiana too - hi!
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Old 09-15-2011, 02:45 PM   #4 
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Indiana
It won't hurt him to stop the meds halfway through, and since the swelling didn't start until the meds were added I would seriously consider stopping them. They're pretty strong, and he may be having a bad reaction to them. Since he doesn't have dropsy the Maracyn isn't doing him any good, and the Maracide is a powerful pesticide that is probably doing more harm than help. Aquarium salt dips are much more effective in killing off ick than maracide anyway.
Only 1 tsp of aquarium salt in a salt dip, and you can do it up to 5 times daily (don't feel like you have to, personally i would only do it about 3 times since he's going to be in epsom too).
I think they still sell the Jungle Anti Parasite food at Wal-Mart, but I've never been able to find it here either >.<
sweet!!!! what part of indiana are you from???

*edit* I also noticed that you're feeding him three pellets twice daily, and that's twice as much as he needs in a day. That might be contributing to his bloating. Just three pellets in the morning is fine, with a bloodworm snack at night time.

Last edited by Indyfishy; 09-15-2011 at 02:55 PM.
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Old 09-15-2011, 08:28 PM   #5 
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Yeah, I see what you mean.

Is a 2.5g tank (maybe 8 inches high) a significant distance to swim? He's lost color and now he just sort of lies on the bottom and swims up to the top for air every now and then. I could fill the tank only halfway up - would that help him? I could add an air stone?

He wasn't excited about dinner today... I didn't feed him breakfast because of the bloating. He did eat one pellet - I'm not going to feed him more since he's bloated enough.

I figure I'll discontinue the Maracide (no day 5) and use the salt baths if the ick turns up again. Not sure about Maracyn2 since sometimes if you stop antibiotics halfway you create superbugs... Last water change was today morning, next water change is scheduled for tomorrow morning, but I'm wondering if I should do one tonight as well. I wouldn't want to overstress him, but at least then he can sleep in clean, medication-free water.

ETA: Should I add some more decorations back in? Would he feel more comfortable? I have a little rock-cave thing that I took out.

I'm from Carmel, IN - I live in California now.

Last edited by mathkid; 09-15-2011 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 09-15-2011, 09:31 PM   #6 
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Do you have some live or silk plants that you can add? Something new to entertain him with, so to speak?
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Old 09-15-2011, 10:37 PM   #7 
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It would be best to put him in a small quarantine container while he is ill, so he can reach the surface easily and just rest. It will also make the daily 100% water changes easier. No decor, just bare bottom. Please stop the medications, I seriously think he's having an adverse reaction. Superbugs are not created from stopping them in the middle. Super bugs are caused by over use of antibiotics, and the germs build up a tolerance to the medications over time. Do not feed him while he is so bloated, it will only make it worse. Fasting him for up to 4 days is perfectly fine, and the epsom salt will help get rid of the swelling. Make sure you use epsom, only use AQ salt for the dips as AQ salt will make bloating worse.
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:38 PM   #8 
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@iloveengl - I got out his other nylon plant.

@Indyfishy -
Thanks for your advice. No more food for Fishie for a couple days.
I did a 100% change and did not add more medication. Epsom salt is at about 1.5tsp/gal. I didn't fill the water up all the way, and I'll float him in his plastic cup -- not sure how else to keep his water heated and also shallow.

There's no visible ick right now - should I do a salt dip just in case, or would that be unnecessary stress?

Attached pic: hospital tank setup, closeup just now.

ETA: He swam out of the cup and is resting under the plants now.
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Last edited by mathkid; 09-15-2011 at 11:41 PM.
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:57 PM   #9 
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Poor guy doesn't look so good, is his belly turning grey or is it just swollen??? If it is turning grey i might retract my statement about removing the maracyn, grey belly is a sign of infection. But it looks like he might be a tad less swollen, which is good!!! One way you can keep him in his QT is to turn it upright and clip it to the edge of his tank with a clothes pin or any kind of clip, or tape it down.

*edit* If his belly is turning grey I would add in the maracyn again, but I would wait until tomorrow to do it. Give him a night of rest that's chemical free, that will be good for him. Tomorrow, if the swelling is still the same, up the epsom salt content to 3 tsps per gallon. Has he been pooping??? If he's not, you could try feeding him frozen daphnia, it acts as a natural laxitive. Since you don't see any parasites on him I wouldn't do any salt dips until tomorrow, wait and see how his swelling is in the morning.

Last edited by Indyfishy; 09-16-2011 at 12:07 AM.
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Old 09-16-2011, 03:59 AM   #10 
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Jungle Anti Parasite medicated fish food
I couldn't find it anywhere either when i needed it a few weeks ago. petco claims they never carried them as they girl couldn't find it in the computer.
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