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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I thought I remembered reading something about adding epsom salt to the water and causing mild pineconing but I can't find it now. I noticed tonight that my very sick fish is now pineconed a bit and I'm worried but I don't want to assume the worst. I added 1 1/2 tsp to his tank last night, a 2.5g, a small dose since I've never tried it before. He has an extensive background of illness and he's been sick since October. I also added IAL for the first time tonight a few minutes before I noticed his scales. I know epsom salt is used for dropsy but if there's a bad reaction to it, can it cause pineconing?

Housing
What size is your tank? 2.5g mini bow
What temperature is your tank? 78-80F
Does your tank have a filter? Yes but the current, even baffled, is too strong for him while so so its been off.
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No. He hated it.
Is your tank heated? Yes.
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None.

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? NLS Betta Pellets, Hikari frozen bloodworms and daphnia.
How often do you feed your betta fish? Twice a day. He hasn't been eating the pellets so I've been feeding him the frozen. I've starting fasting on Sundays.

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? 50-100% five to six times a week. Skipped last night.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? See above
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? I use Kordons AmQuel plus and NovAqua plus. Last night I added 1 1/2 teaspoon of 100%magnesium sulfate.

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? Not lately, I don't feel they're super necessary with the crazy water changes.
If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia: Nitrite: Nitrate: pH: Hardness: Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Reaccuring bloat/constipation and pineconing.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? None.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Tonight, an hour ago.
Have you started treating your fish? For previous conditions yes, not this.
If so, how? Does your fish have any history of being ill? Yes. Yes. Yes. He's always had bloat issues. In october, he got ich, finrot, and SBD. The ich went away with temp and AQ salt. The finrot returned in early November. I started the salt again and after a week, I saw regrowth. Stopped salt on day 9, the 22nd or 23rd. Since then the finrot has seemed to return, evident by the pinholes I just found in the edge of his anal fin. He still has SBD and can't swim right. I have never treated with medication. Only new additions this week have been epsom salt maybe 20 hours ago and IAL about 2 hours ago.
How old is your fish (approximately)? Got him from Petsmart in June.
 

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Usually ES won't cause pineconing but if used for a long time it can still put stress on the kidney's and liver just like AQ salt and thus cause organ failure which Dropsy is one symptom of. If the fish doesn't have organ failure and is still pineconing then ES could help with it but if it's organ failure it's pretty much 95% death rate unfortunately. There's no good way to tell so you really just have to try it and see what happens. But no, it doesn't normally cause pineconing.

You can up the dosage to at least 1 tsp per gallon so that would be 2.5 teaspoons for your 2.5 gallon. And then tomorrow if he's still alive then gently bump up to 2 tsp per gallon so 5 tsp's over all of Epsom.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hmm that sounds like a good idea. I know dropsy/organ failure is pretty much a death sentence but I don't just want to give up. He's faught this long so I don't want to stop fighting either. Its just that the epsom salt was the newest thing so I feel like I should make sure that is not the cause before I use it to treat things. I used 10 days of aq salt in October. Waiting nearly two weeks then did another 9 day dose. Its been a week since that and I've only added that tiny amount of ES. I feel like I at least haven't caused the organ failure in my attempts to heal him. *sigh* my poor boy.
 

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Of course! :)

Yeah AQ salt will cause Dropsy if used too long but your use isn't much at all, it's more like if you used ti daily without thought and didn't actually need it for a disease or used it for a month solid at more than 1 tsp per gallon. But no, ES should be totally fine for him :)

Start with 1 tsp per gallon today and tomorrow let him rest in it.
Day 3 do a 50% or 100% depending on container size he's in, and bump salt up gently to 2 tsp per gallon.
Day 4 let him rest in the salt
Day 5 do water change and re-add salt and bump up to 3 tsp per gallon.
Day 6 let him rest in salt.
Day 7 do small water change (25-50%) and just re-add lost salt (if you took out 1.5 gallons replace 3.5 tsp of salt that you took out with the water change).

Always dissolve salt before adding to tank :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Yes, that definitely sounds like a great game plan! I hope he makes it. The scales are only barely raised. He's got these little dried out areas on his back from that part being continually out of water due to SBD floating and it looks awful right now. More like an open sore than just some dried out scales. His breathing is soo slow. I'm off tomorrow/today(its 5am but I haven't slept yet) so I can keep a good eye on him.

Oh and yes, I always predissolve in tank water before adding the salt!

Thanks lilnaugrim!
 

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Glad to help! I hope he makes it too!
 

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Sorry your Betta isn't well.....From my personal experience and years in this hobby-working with this species...I have not found Epsom salt to cause any problems even when used long term and I have used it on some of my Betta for years for various reasons.

One thing I have found and I am not saying this is in your case.....But generally, often hobbyist with good intentions can over act-then treat needlessly and/or over treat-That in of itself can cause long term problems and that can make future wellness and treatment more difficult. Often the focus is lost on S/S when you should look at the bottom line cause for the S/S. That being stress-especially for the long fin males-often that stress factor is too much stimuli from the environment and once that is correct-the fish will take care of the S/S on their own.
I can't over state the importance of supporting the immune response of the fish.

IMO/E-what I would recommend for your Betta at this stage-and sadly it does look grim.....I would turn off the filter, light and lower the water level to a few inches-add mass amounts of tannins and get the water as dark as possible-add Epsom salt 2tsp/gal over 1 hour-Stop water changes for now-especially if he is not eating-if he is eating-make small 25% water changes every 3 days with some premixed treatment water.

Good luck....
 

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Great advice from OFL once more! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you! And actually I'm already doing most of your suggestions. I noticed early on that he seems especially sensitive so the times I have treated him I've been very careful. This is also why I haven't used any medicine. I've been trying to figure out the root to all this, but I've had little luck.One reason he's had issues with finrot is that he's a tail biter, which hasn't helped the case at all. He had a problem with it a couple months before all these problems. These problems started after I added a bristlenose pleco, without quarantining (big mistake! Wasn't thinking and had a major algae problem since I had only one plant and used too much plant food). At the same time, we had our first cold snap and me without a heater. That's when he got ich and it was a couple days before I got a heater. He then started tailbiting and bam tailrot. I've learned a lot through this fish, like some kind of crash course fish school. He's not my first, but he is the first I've had in years and the first I've ever cared for myself. Any insight on the root of his illnesses? I've been chalking it up to poor breeding which caused a weak immune system. He seems super susceptible to illness and unable to fight things off. And while my starting conditions were less than ideal (I.e. not cycled, still isn't, somewhat strong filter, not enough water changes), they were never really bad and have continued to improve as I learned.

I turned the filter off a while ago, two weeks maybe? Even with it baffled to a minimum, he was having trouble. He's actually a halfmoon so baffling was one of the first things I did to the tank. I added the IAL last night. About a third of the leaf which should be double what he needs for a 2.5? I can definitely lower the water level. I've been keeping the light off for weeks, too, and only turn it on for observation/feedings. Last night I had a water change scheduled but didn't do it because I was too concerned about stress so its been two days since a 50% change and a few more days since a full one. I also received some IAL tea bags with the leaves. Would these help release the tannins quicker?

I adopted a second betta a month and a half ago and he's doing absolutely marvelous which helps me think that I must be doing something right.

I think I'm on the right track here. I'm staying hopeful but I know the odds. If the worst happens, at least he taught me what I needed to know while he was here. I'm a much more knowledgeable fishmom because of him!
 

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It could be bad breeding, it could be trauma from when he was younger, it could be a whole host of things and some of them might not even because of you! But don't worry, you do know much more now and it's really all a learning experience. It might not feel good to you but you come out of it definitely much more knowledgeable and that's how you should look at it :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well he's hanging in there. I managed to feed him a few bloodworms. He took the first eagerly (I fed him maybe a few too many though. He ate four or five small to medium size). The IAL is waterlogged and on the bottom. The tannins are starting to stain the water so I ripped up one of the pieces. I remember reading somewhere that it helps release tannins. I also lowered the water a few inches. He's still pineconed. He completely ignored the pellet this morning but he went after the bloodworms (I hold them with tweezers near him because he can't navagate). Taking OFL's advice, I haven't done anything else and have kept the light (and filter) off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Chi lost the fight today. I thought he would since he wouldn't eat yesterday. I'm terribly sad, but I've been expecting it for months now. I'm almost sort of glad he doesn't have to fight anymore.

If you're wondering, yes, I will be breaking down the tank, sterilizing it, and setting it up for a new family member, if anyone has any suggestions for sterilization.
 

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I'm sorry to hear :-( but you did your best for him and really learned a lot from the experience, however sad it may be. But he's swimming happily under the Rainbow bridge now :-D

For sterilization I used to use Bleach but that doesn't get rid of everything. Instead go to wal-mart and get either 70% or 91% (I like the higher concentration) Rubbing Alcohol. Alcohol will sterilize everything including Mycobacteria if there's a threat of that. There's nothing else that will kill Myco's besides UV ray's but that usually takes longer. So Alcohol kills everything and will be your best friend in cleaning! i also find it's just easier to use since you can spray it directly on things where in bleach you have to mix with water and all and it's just a pain.

I use a spray bottle, make sure you label it as Alcohol, wouldn't want anyone getting into it that they shouldn't! And then spray everything, net's, cups, tanks, heater's, gravel too if you want, plants, the entire thing. Everything he's come in contact with, then rinse with hot tap water, let dry and you're good to go :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I was going to ask about alcohol! I use it all the time, for everything! Including cleaning my phone. I would prefer to use it to bleach or vinegar actually. I'll definitely do that.

Chi definitely taught me a lot. I've spent at least an hour searching everything I could think of nearly every night for months. I feel prepared to recognize and diagnose any problems that might come up in the future. I plan to have my 2.5, my 10 and a 20g so this will definitely come in handy!

Thank you.
 

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Yeah, definitely! Alcohol is the best for sure! :)
 

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He was loved ,and swimming happily under the Rainbow bridge now. You did the best trying to help him.
I am glad you going to have another one!
 
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