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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all. I really need your help. My male crown tail, Finley, suffered from Temp. Shock around August. He's still suffering from what I believe is a sensitive immune system. Today, he's easily prone to constipation, bloating, and swim bladder. The thing I'm worried about is his discoloration under his belly as well as hiccups and yawns. I have attached photos of the discoloration.

During his episode of temperature shock in August, he was in such terrible condition that I considered euthanizing him. His belly would discolor to a dusty gray and had little black specs. He got better, though. I have learned to be more careful with him and I'm learning to keep the mistake from repeating.

After he recovered from the shock, I started treating him for fin rot. (btw, his fin rot at this time had fuzzy tips)
He still has digestive problems
He still "hiccups" (not blowing bubbles for a bubble nest. Like actual hiccups.)
Sometimes he darts and spasms.
Still very active!

Recently, I changed his water. 50% water change while he was in a plastic cup in the tank. I vacuumed the poop and made sure the temperature of the original and new water was the same 78º F. He usually does fine. After I finished changing the water, I tilted the cup and let him back into the rest of the tank. He seemed a bit jittery, which worried me since I thought I was taking all the right measures: same temperature water, acclimation, not taking him out of the tank, etc. I then fed him a pellet. He developed swim bladder. But this time, he showed the same discoloration that occurred during August's temp shock. His symptoms of swim bladder got better the next morning (I gave him an epsom salt bath overnight). He seems to be hiccuping now. As if he has some sort of gag-reflex. His belly is blackish and dusty looking. It's scaring me, and I'm suspecting parasites or an infection. Please help me figure out what I can do to help Finley.

One thing about my tank is that I have had problems with nematodes after introducing a live amazon sword plant to my tank. It's really annoying because I don't want them there. I've replaced the substrate and taken out the amazonian sword, but they're still everywhere! They're super tiny. I'm afraid they could be invading his belly or something of the sort. Around the site, a lot of people say they are harmless. But some people say that there are parasitic ones. This being said, I'm not completely adamant on a parasitic infection because Finley's poop is not white. It's the regular orange color.

If not parasitic, could it be bacterial? Or fungal? I have a medication called "Focus" by seachem for bacterial infections that I have tried to pair with daphnia.

Housing: 5 gallon fluval spec
How many gallons is your tank? 5 Gallon
Does it have a filter? Yes with a modified flow output
Does it have a heater? Yes
What temperature is your tank? 78º
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? He used to have a snail which left a lot of poop

Food: Pellets and occasional daphnia when he needs it
What food brand do you use? Tetra betta pellets (they're pretty big) and Hikari Daphnia when he was sick.
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Pellets
Freeze-dried? I used to feed him freeze dried bloodworms but I stopped
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? 4 pellets a day. The tetra pellets are pretty big so I have to break it into pieces for him to eat. I would give him more but he's easily prone to constipation, bloating, and swim bladder.

Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? 50% each week with acclimation.
What percentage of water did you change? 50%
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Vacuum the poop
What additives do you use? Tetra safeguard

Water Parameters:
What are your water parameters? Please give exact numbers. If tested by pet store please get exact numbers. "Fine" or "Safe" won't help us help you.

Ammonia: 0.25ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
pH: 7.8

Symptoms: blackening belly with some white patches. Occasional swim bladder. Easily constipated. Some fin rot (currently getting better).
When did you first notice the symptoms? When he was in temperature shock, he lost a lot of his fin length as well as color. Particularly under his belly and around his beard.
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? Black and white blotches under belly and beard area. Looks like it's decomposing.
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? Not as active after the recent water change, and hiccups a lot. As if he's having some sort of gag reflex. He isn't building a bubble nest either. It's just like hiccuping. Usually happens after he eats.
Is your Betta still eating? Yes
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? Furan-2 for fin rot. Works great. Epsom salt for the occasional swim bladder, which usually lasts 4 or 5 hours.
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? Yes. A few months ago, he suffered from temperature shock. Which I believe weakened his immune system. Recently, I tried to change his water (50%) while he was still in the tank. I put him in a transparent cup. The temperature was the same in both the new water and the original water. After I acclimated him to the new water, which took an hour, I gave him a pellet. He started showing symptoms of swim bladder, which surprised me since he wasn't previously bloated or anything. He also grew patches of white and black under his belly.
How long have you owned your Betta? Was he or she a rescue? 2 years, and no.


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Instead of using Epsom salt, try using aquarium salt. Also, your ammonia and ph are too high, so change the water! You might wanna do a full water change though, since your betta is sick. From what you've said, I would start treating you fish for early signs of popeye or dropsy. I'm not sure if this is correct, but your symptoms seem to be pointing to early versions of those diseases.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hello! Thank you for replying.

Dropsy and popeye sounds scary. Especially dropsy, since there's no cure.
I just searched up symptoms of dropsy and sadly I think he may have it. I read that the treatment would be antibiotics. What type of antibiotics should I look out for?

Should I move him to a 1 gallon hospital tank? And this may be a dumb question (I apologize in advance) but do I move the heater along with it?

Also, I read that I should add a bubbler. Which makes sense because he's always around the top of the tank. He's always gulping for air, too. So I think I'll do that.

The rims of his eyes seem to have gotten darker. Initially I thought it was casual marbling since he's a rapid marbler. I guess that's also a clear sign of dropsy. If there's any method known to be somewhat effective, please let me know!

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I found that this thread is very helpful! I'm sorry about your fish! I'll keep him in my thoughts! I've heard that Dropsy can be cured if it hasn't reached the pineconing stages yet, so there's still hope! Yes, you should move him into a hospital tank, it'll be easier to medicate him and do 100% water changes. Heater is very necessary! Just make sure to monitor it closely since a 1 gallon tends to fluctuate a lot. I'd increase the temperature to 82-86 degrees Fahrenheit as well to help his immune system. Keep doing the epsom salt baths! I was mistaken when I said to use aquarium salt, sorry!
Here's the treatments for both the illnesses, I hope this helps! I'm still new at betta care myself, so I don't have a lot of experience, sorry about that!

•Symptoms: One or both eyes will swell and bulge out. It in itself can also be a symptom of Dropsy.
•Treatment: Usually not fatal if treated, but your betta might lose an eye. Conservative: If the swelling is extreme then use ES first. Perform 100% daily water changes. You may be able to treat the popeye with just Epsom and clean water. However, if the swelling goes down but the eyes remain cloudy/white, then switch to Aq.Salt at 1tsp/gal or use medications. Do not combine Aq.Salt with medications but you can continue to use ES during medical treatments. Medication: If ES or Aq.Salt do not do the trick or it is a serious case of popeye, then combine the ES with API Tetracycline, API Fungus Cure, API General Cure, API Triple Sulfa, OR Mardel’s Maracyn.

•Symptoms: Your betta will have a bloated belly and raised scales. They will look like a pine cone. This is usually a fatal disease caused by an internal bacterial infection resulting in internal organ failure but many have had success bringing fish back when treated quickly.
Early Symptoms: Swollen eyes (important), Gray belly (important), Clamped fins, Lethargy. If your fish has swollen eyes and a gray belly, I suggest that you treat it for Dropsy.
•Treatment: If you spot the early signs of Dropsy then treat him/her with ES at 1-2tsp/gal and Jungle’s Anti-Parasite pellets while performing 100% daily water changes. It helps to increase the temperature to 84*F. If he/she has begun Pineconning then do the full course as described below:
Performing daily 100% water changes. Increase the temperature to 84*F. Add 1-2 tsp/gal Epsom Salt. Use API General Cure OR API Erythromycin OR Maracyn II and/or Maracyn for best results. Feed something containing Metronidazole, for example, Jungle’s Anti-Parasite pellets. If caught early, Dropsy is curable.

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you so much! If it weren't for you, I wouldn't have realized I was dealing with dropsy. I forgot to mention this, but every time Finley gets air from the surface, he starts spasming and hiccuping even more. The spasming is really scaring me.

I put him in a heated 1 gallon hospital tank with an air stone. The water in the tank is the same water from his 5 gallon housing. I knew moving him would stress him out enough, and changing the water would add on to the stress. I'm going to do the change gradually tonight so it doesn't shock him.

His behavior is just erratic right now. As if he's being attacked from the inside. :( It's hard to watch. He would be still for a couple of seconds and randomly spasm. Kind of like a very fast seizure kind of spasm... These are more frequent when he gets air from the surface.

I'll look into getting the anti parasite pellet the author of that post mentioned. I also read about some success with Seachem Kanaplex. I called my LFS earlier and they had Kanaplex. I'll have to do more research on which medicine is more effective! That way I can get it asap tomorrow (LFS is closed right now).

I noticed that his scales aren't raised but they do look rough. His fins are clamped.
For the eyes: When I look above the tank (aerial view), I can see white lines atop the crease of each of his eye rims.

Should I fast him? I'm afraid he may develop swim bladder.

My biggest concern is the spasming. He seems to have calmed down a notch when I added the Epsom salt dosage.

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Hmm, you use dechlorinator in the water, right? Sometimes spasming and gasping is a sign of chlorine/chloramines being in the water. Also, you might want to do a complete water change as soon as you can. The spasming could be a sign of ammonia poisoning as well. Clean water is vital to healing! I know complete water changes are really stressful, but having pristine water is more vital in the long run. I'd just try to get the water to the closest temp to his original water as you can and let it sit out for a little while to let the chlorine evaporate. Fast him for a little but, maybe for one day, but food with help him get more energy to fight the disease, so not too much! Some of these symptoms might be linked to internal parasites as well, so definitely look into that as well! Try not to over medicate your fish, as it is stressful too, but it is definitely required.

Best of luck to you! You're doing great! I bet your fishy is feeling all your love right now, :) I believe in you!

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You've helped me so much! I do add dechlorinater. He seems to be calmer. I'm gonna keep him in the hospital tank and do water changes. I'll keep a super close eye on him! It's finals week but I'm still gonna give him my 100% (I'm a first year college student lol). Thanks for everything. Like I mentioned before, you've helped me tons. :)
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