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Discussion Starter #1
Housing
Tank size: 6.6 gallons (Petco Bookshelf Aquarium)
Temperature: 79*F maintained by a 25w Elite
Filtration & Aeration: ATI Hydro Sponge filter (for 7 gallons) run by a Marina air pump.
Tank mates: None.
Plants: Several sprigs of anacharis and a banana plant.

Food
I usually feed her crushed NLS Betta Formula (1 pellet) in the mornings plus a few frozen bloodworms in the evenings. In the last three days I switched to Hikari Micro Pellets in the morning because those seem easier for her to swallow. She is very small.

Maintenance
I usually perform a 25% water change every two weeks. I always check the parameters and if the nitrates have gone above 5 ppm, I do a change. I use Prime as my conditioner.

Water Parameters
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: just above 0 ppm
pH: 7.4
GH: 5 degrees (89.5 ppm)
KH: 5 degrees (89.5 ppm)

Symptoms and Treatment
Four days ago (Wednesday) I noticed a white spot on her throat, around her "beard" area. When I looked closer I saw the whole area bulging out -- the white was just in a small spot on the end of the bulge. With magnifying glass and a flashlight I examined the white spot to see if it was fungal or bacterial, but it looked smooth, not stringy or "fuzzy." There are no other marks on her body. That night I rolled her bloodworms in chopped garlic before feeding them to her. The next day, Thursday, the white was gone! But the bulge was still there.

Friday morning I gave her Micro Pellets also rolled in garlic. By midday she started to clamp her fins and swim slowly. Her appetite was good in the evening when I gave her the garlic bloodworms again.

This morning, she was very lethargic, hardly moving at all, her fins very clamped. She had perched herself on a leaf so she could breathe easily at the surface. I coaxed her over to feed her, but she only managed to eat a single Micro Pellet.

I'm very worried about her. She was only this sick once before and that time she clearly had a bacterial/fungal infection, lots of "fuzzy" spots and deteriorating fins. She's over two years old now, about 27 months.
 

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Sorry to hear your girl isn't well. I'll admit I'm a little stumped. Typically I would assume some form of infection but in your case I'm not quite sure. Would you be able to post a picture?
 

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Discussion Starter #4


She came out from hiding behind the piece of driftwood. I can now see she's lost a lot of color on her face and even at the bases of her pectoral fins. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #5
She won't eat anything today. I put an Indian almond leaf in the tank to see if that might make her more comfortable.

Any ideas for what I should try? I'm really worried these are her last days. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have put her in a little cup so she can reach the surface more easily. I also offered her a garlic bloodworm fragment, which she ate thank goodness. She wouldn't eat any more than that though.

Now that I can look underneath her, I can see the bulge has white stuff inside. It's like there's a piece of cotton caught in her beard. It still doesn't look very fuzzy, but could it be columnaris (cotton wool disease)?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm now adding aquarium salt. 5 tsp now. Tomorrow morning 5 tsp more, correct? And then another last dose tomorrow evening.
 

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Wow, poor girl. :-( I hope she gets better soon. I'm not sure what to tell you since I have limited experience, but hopefully someone with more knowledge will be along to help you shortly. Can you get any more pictures?
 

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Unfortunately, I don't have much experience with columnaris. Not sure if that's what she has - but I just wanted to throw that out there.

Is there any possibility that she could have damaged the area somehow (maybe nicked it a teeny bit)? Or has there been anything that would have put stress on her immune system? New plants?

I read through your previous thread from when your girl wasn't doing well and noticed that stuff kind of just cleared up on its own, so to speak. I'm wondering if maybe what is affecting her now is the same thing that was affecting her then, just in a different spot. Bacteria doesn't really go away, it kind of just waits for conditions that it thrives in and then multiplies rapidly.

As for treatment... not too sure. I would up the number of water changes just to make sure that he water is nice and clean - I'd throw a good gravel vacuuming in there too. If this is bacterial you could try an antibiotic, although you would need to be the judge on her overall health. If she seems weak I wouldn't try one.

Also, just wanted to clarify how your treating her now. Are you leaving her in the cup and treating her with 5 tsp of AQ salt, or is she in the main tank again? I usually start with 1 tsp/gal and work my way up to 2 or 3 tsp/gal. I suppose you could go higher, but only for short baths.
 

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Sorry my post wasn't too helpful. More pics would definitely help, especially if you can get a nice close-up of that bulge (easier said than done, I know^^).
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'll keep trying for another photo, but you're so right, duskydolphin: easier said than done.

I let her out of the cup when I started the salt treatment. She was uncomfortable being confined and she was a bit more active after just the first 5 tsp of salt so I think she's doing well with keeping herself at the surface when she needs it. I also got her to eat a garlic bloodworm this morning. Small victories!

Yeah, I've been thinking about that too, that maybe the previous bacteria has regained another foothold. Her old nemesis back to finish the job! :( It just looks so different being in the beard... But this morning it was looking less pearly white, more grayish, so I guess it could be a resurgence of that stuff, whatever it was, not columnaris. I wish I had kept adding small doses of PimaFix with my water changes -- maybe that would have kept the bacteria at bay.

I keep wracking my brains trying to figure out what could have triggered it. There were no recent changes. The banana plant was added in January. If she got nicked on something, I didn't notice it. The only thing that changed was that I started feeding her the NLS betta formula instead of the Hikari Micro Pellets. We had a battle of wills over it and I had to fast her a day. That was at the end of February. But why would that weaken her immune system?

I also ordered some medicine that should arrive this week: API Furan- 2, SeaChem Kanaplex, and Kordon Methylene Blue. If she looks strong enough by then, I'll give her a 20 minute bath of those plus the salt and hope for the best.

For now, I'm going to add the last dose of 5 tsp AQ salt this evening. I was thinking I'd do a water change and gravel vac tomorrow. Question: should I add more salt with the new water?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Just a little update on my girl: the bulge is smaller today. I went ahead and did a 100% water change, scrubbed everything, including gravel, driftwood, and the sponge filter, and added the full strong dose of AQ salt (5 tbsp) plus 5 ml StressCoat to the new water. Trying to keep the temperature below 78*F as well.

I had her in the little cup while I did the water change and offered her a garlic bloodworm -- she ate two fragments!

I'm tentatively hoping she's on the mend, thanks to the AQ salt.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Tonight she ate three more bloodworm fragments. I thought she was improving, but I noticed her eyes are swollen and her scales are starting to "pinecone." Looks like dropsy. :(

Should I switch to Epsom Salt in place of the AQ Salt? Still waiting for the meds to arrive.
 

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My betta just died from dropsy a couple weeks ago. I am no expert but from what I've read (which was just about everything the internet has to offer) they say to use epsom salt instead of aquarium salt. The AQ Salt will only bloat the fish more. Give us an update.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'm sorry to hear that, LovelyBetta. :( So sad. It's the only downside to bettas: they leave us too soon.

Thanks for the info on salt. I did a 50% water change last night and then again this morning, trying to take the AQ Salt levels down somewhat gradually so as not to shock her but still quickly. I'm going to do a 100% water change this afternoon and then try an Epsom salt bath.

With any luck, the meds will come today.

She's eating much better and swimming around with more energy. It's like she doesn't know she's supposed to be dying!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I gave her an Epsom Salt bath (1 tbsp in 1 gallon) yesterday for 15 minutes. Placed her back in the tank after a 100% water change.

Same today, except I only kept her in the bath for 10 minutes. I'm going to give her another in the evening.

She is deteriorating quickly. :( That energy is gone and she rests on the bottom of the tank most of the time. She won't eat.

Still waiting for the medicine.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The meds came! I just gave her a 20 minute bath in a mixture of Furan 2, Kanaplex, and Methylene Blue.

She's back in the main tank now.
 

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Sorry I've been rather absent. How is she doing now? I'm glad the meds came. I hope they'll help her out. I really really wish I knew exactly what was going on so I could help you out more. It's sad to see our bettas sick and not know why :(
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for checking in again, Dusky. She's still very weak and showing the signs of dropsy. But she ate for the first time in two days last night! And she ate again this morning.

I've been giving her 30 minute baths in the medication (to which I added a bit of Epsom Salt and extra Kanaplex) twice a day and changing her water 100% every day. I also turned up her temperature since I read that could help with dropsy.

I was certain yesterday that it was her last day but when she ate some food, even diving after a few pieces that fell and ravaging a bloodworm... I'm probably taking false hope, but I'm encouraged to keep up the medication baths.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Update: I *think* she's over the dropsy. Her eyes don't seem as swollen and her scales are back to normal.

She's still extremely weak and spending most of the time resting on a leaf that's floating close to the surface. But today she swam around to get her breakfast -- she's eating pretty well.

I've stopped the med baths. She was taking longer and longer to normalize after I took her out, spending hours and hours gasping weakly at the surface. The longer I went between baths, the more energy she seemed to have. Plus, I thought I was seeing the scales smooth out... Hard to be sure I wasn't hallucinating, but I figured if she was nearing the end I'd make her as comfortable as possible.

Yesterday I just let her rest and didn't disturb her at all except for feeding, not even for a water change, because she seemed so weak and yet better (less swollen). Today I'll do a significant water change.

I don't think we're in the clear just yet, but I'm hoping! She's my miracle fish!
 
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