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Old 12-09-2011, 03:27 PM   #1 
Mikkisaur
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Exclamation HELP: Mystery Disease, might be Dropsy?

I'm really worried about Gramps. He's sick with something, but I haven't got a clue as to what it is. He lives in an unheated, unfiltered .5 gal bowl temporarily, while I set up the divided 10 gal (still :c). I do 100% changes every other day, I acclimatize him properly, I have a very soft and gentle, albeit plastic, plant. I feed him two or three meals a day, 1-2 pellets each, of dry AquaFin Betta Bits. He was doing really well for a while, and then just stopped. It's been a few weeks, and for a while he didn't eat, although he does now.

I gave his bowl a good cleaning today and I noticed a few things, some clues. What I thought was a white growth on his dorsal is actually a big lump inside his fin... It's really heavy, and he can't swim well because of it. I thought he was lethargic, but he might be just upset that he can't really move around, so he lounges on on of the top leaves of his plant most of the time. The little bugger had a big bubble nest, though. He's hardy. But his belly is turning all silver, and it's almost as if it's going up his pectorals, tracing gold on them. There's a discoloring and a bump on one side, which might be an injury from not being able to swim properly. But I don't know what kind of disease or sickness he might have.

I really should've been able to see this coming. He was neglected, before, and had ammonia burns and poisoning, as well as plain old age and malnutrition from stale food. I did my best to nurse him and he was bouncing back better than I expected. This just feels like it's my fault, and I'm frustrated.

Is this any sickness in particular, any way to treat it? I know he's about two years old, but I'm not giving up on him.
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Old 12-09-2011, 07:16 PM   #2 
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the bump can be lymphocytisis, which is viral and really can't be treated other than clean water and aquarium salt if it bursts. Keep him separate from any other fish, and if it bursts, do a thorough cleaning of the entire tank so he doesn't get infected with it again.

Star him on an antibacterial like Maracyn and/or Maracyn 2 since his belly is starting to gray and that's a definite symptom of dropsy cases. Has he started to bloat/pine cone at all. If so start him on 1 tsp/gal epsom salt and work your way up to 3 tsp/gal within a few days.
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Old 12-09-2011, 09:20 PM   #3 
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He doesn't look bloated or pine coned at all, if anything a little thin. Medication isn't exactly an option right now because of goings-on over here, but I'll try some epsom salts. Is there really an alternative to meds, or should I just raise hell and get some? He's housed alone (obviously, since it's painful to keep 1 fish in a half gallon, let alone a few), so keeping his water clean shouldn't be hard. I'm considering changing out his small gravel to bigger, smooth pebbles to make cleaning easier. My only question is as to how epsom salt treatments work.
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Old 12-10-2011, 12:10 AM   #4 
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Well, you can hold off on the meds and just keep his water clean while you observe him. Offer him a mixed diet and try and make it as nutritious as possible. Garlic helps the immune system as well, so if you can get a jar of plain, minced garlic and use the juices to soak some of his food in, that'll boost his immune system as well.

Epsom salt works as a laxative and draws out excess liquid from the body. This is why it helps with pine coning, since all that is is fluid build up under the skin.
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Old 12-10-2011, 03:43 PM   #5 
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Alright, that clears things up :)
He's been going back to his old self lately, as soon as I started keeping the water really clean. He's back to flaring at everything xD I'll try the garlic thing, since there's never a shortage of the stuff at my house. Is there any way to make him more comfortable with the extra weight on his dorsal, or do we just have to tough it out?
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Old 12-10-2011, 04:30 PM   #6 
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You could try lowering the water level for him to make getting to the surface easier or maybe try some more medium/tall plants to make staying/resting at the surface easier for him.

Heavy fins are usually just something you tough out and and make accommodations for.
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Old 12-11-2011, 12:17 AM   #7 
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Alright. His plant is perfect for his little situation, and he rests on it most of the time. It's got medium sized leaves, and they stretch from one end to the other of the bowl, close to the surface. Keeping the water clean and just being careful, hopefully he'll fix up before I have to go away.
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Old 12-12-2011, 06:20 AM   #8 
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Damn. I woke up this morning and found out that the little dude got popeye overnight. I don't think there's anything I can do before school, but I'll start treating the dropsy/popeye asap. Isn't popye a symptom of dropsy, sometimes? Geh, I really hope he'll make it through the day.
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:05 AM   #9 
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Correct, popeye can be a symptom of dropsy- but all else you have stated with him doesn't point to dropsy.
Popeye can also be associated with Ich or an injury. It is a symptom, not a disease in itself and has many possible causes. Popeye can be difficult to cure if the source is unknown. The origin can range from bacterial, viral, parasitic or dirty water- dirty meaning high nitrate/ites, ammonia, etc. If he does have Lymph that was mentioned above, this could be a result from that too even..

Is there a way you could post a picture to help us see what is going on so we can make sure the correct treatment is made for him?

For now I would go ahead and do 2 teaspoons of Epsom salt, pre dissolve it before adding your guy in there (don't forget the water conditioner), and do daily 100% water changes- it shouldn't take more then a week or so before he will either get better, or show other signs. From there we can go a different route of medications.
When caught early for popeye, Espom is usually all that is needed- for dropsy if cause early, Epsom and Jungle’s Anti-Parasite pellets tend to be all that is needed.

But as mentioned, I didn't read any true signs of dropsy- but that would be your call since you can see him and we can't right now. Keep us updated on how he is doing. If he doesn't get any better with the popeye and everything else, let us know and we can start him on medications.

Last edited by Myates; 12-12-2011 at 08:14 AM.
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Old 12-12-2011, 04:19 PM   #10 
Mikkisaur
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I don't know if I've mentioned it or not, but he was neglected before he came to me. Before I got him, he was in a .5 gallon bowl that hadn't gotten a water change in six months... Poor little guy. Of course, now that his conditions have improved, he gets sick. Urg. I'll try and take some pictures, but forgive me if they're really blurry ^__^; I changed his sandy gravel today into smooth glass stones to siphon easier while I wait for my dad to find the epsom salts.
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