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Does my boy have dropsy?

310 Views 13 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Rose of sharon
Fin Water Fish Tail Glass
I just noticed most of the signs today so I haven’t done too much treatment but from my limited knowledge of dropsy the prognosis isn’t good so I wanted to ask for advice immediately. I’d really appreciate anything you guys can offer me here. Let me know if I’m doing anything wrong, I’ll do whatever I can to save him. I tried to get some pictures but my camera isn’t great so lmk if they need to be clearer.

How many gallons is your tank? 2.5 (I know it’s not ideal, I feel really bad)
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What temperature is your tank? 80 degrees
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? No

What food brand do you use? Aqueon, occasionally bug bites, frozen daphnia, brine shrimp, and mysis shrimp to vary his diet
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Pellets
Freeze-dried? See above
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? 5-6 pellets per day

Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? Once per week
What percentage of water did you change? 75%
What is the source of your water? Conditioned tap
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Vacuum
What additives do you use other than conditioner? What brand of conditioner? API Stress Coat+

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. Important: Test your water before the regular water change; not after one.

Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 10 ppm
pH: 7.8
Hardness (GH): 200? (couldn’t get the exact number)
Alkalinity (KH): 150

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? He’s been lethargic for a few days but I didn’t think much of it because he’s never been very active. I noticed minimal bloating a few days ago, and pineconing today.
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? Pineconing and bloated
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? Lethargic and trouble swimming
Is your Betta still eating? Yes, he’s still hungry and goes to the top of the tank whenever I come by in hopes of food.
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? I just moved him to a 1 gal hospital tank with aquarium salt. Picked up both Bettafix and API Melafix from the store today, but I haven’t used them yet because I wasn’t sure which would be better. Any thoughts?
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? He was finbiting when I first got him and although they’ve partially grown back, they haven’t fully recovered. My thought was that might make him more susceptible to infection, leading to dropsy.
How long have you owned your Betta? Around 9 months
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? Not to my knowledge

In the last photo he’s hiding behind the heater at a 90 degree angle. My poor little guy…
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I'm so sorry, I would say yes. Good thing is it isn't the worst I've seen. Get some kanaplex IMMEDIATELY

So sorry your fin baby is ill!!! Poor little boy!!! :(

Unfortunately, I have never been able to bring back a betta that has shown signs of dropsy. The fluid build up usually means organ failure, and that is not something that can be reversed.

The standard recommendation for treatment is aquarium salt and Kanaplex, along with water changes. Some say that doing methylene blue baths can help, too. You can use a clean bucket, add one gallon of heated, treated tank water along with 1 ml of methylene blue. The betta can stay in the bath for 30 minutes. You can also add a small heater to the bath, if you have one, to keep the water warm, or put the bucket in a warm place, so the betta doesn't get too cold. If he is not super stressed, you can do a methylene blue bath daily. If he is stressed, then one every other day. You can also add aquarium salt to the bath.

I would not use any of the "fix" products. I find them to be mostly useless. I would recommend that you return them both and get your money back. They are both the same, with betta fix being a less concentrated form of melafix. These products may help other fish, but they contain tea tree oil, which has been reported to negatively affect a betta's labyrinth organ. When I used the stuff, all it did was smell up the tank.

Tannin rich water is much better for stress relief. If you haven't already done so, you can add Indian almond leaves (catappa leaves), or maybe some dark water extract, or brew a cup of organic rooibos tea with treated tank water, and add that to the tank. It will tint the water brown, but it really does help the betta. It will not cure him, but may soothe him a bit. Tannins can help keep bettas healthy overall by providing some slight antibacterial and antifungal properties to the water.

Depending on the severity of the case, some bettas can live a good three weeks or more after showing signs of dropsy. If you see him struggling to swim to the top for air, you can lower the water level, or add something for him to lay on at the top of the tank, like a betta leaf, or a tall plant, or some other decor that will work.

When the betta starts laying on the bottom, stops eating, stops moving, and struggles to breathe, then it might be time to euthanize, unfortunatley. At that point, there is no quality of life, and it would be more humane to euthanize rather than let the betta suffer.

Again, so so sorry this has happened! These poor fish are so over bred and genetically weak now, that even with the best of care, many do not live past 2 to 3 years, especially those that come from big chain pet stores.

I hope this helps a little.
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I see pineconing and also I think popeye. I agree with @Rose of sharon I think it is time to let him go :(
He’s stopped eating, although he seems to be trying to. He’s also having a lot of trouble swimming now. Is there a chance he’ll make it or should I stop his suffering while I can?
It is my opinion that he is not going to get better. You can try soaking his food in garlic juice to see if that will entice him to eat a little.

But I fear the best thing to do is to euthanize, especially if he is having trouble breathing. I use clove oil when I have to euthanize. I get if from my local pharmacy. You can also find it at Wal-Mart, or any place that sells essential oils. Make sure it is pure clove oil, and not a mixture of clove and something else. Clove oil is used as a fish anesthetic. I don't know if you know how to do this, but I use a disposable contanier, fill it with some tank water and put the betta in. I take a disposable water bottle, fill it about one fourth of the way up with tank water. Put about 8 to 12 drops of clove oil into the bottle, and shake it really well. Then slowly add the clove oil/water mixture to the container that is holding the betta. Add it a little at a time, slowly. He is going to freak out a bit, so be prepared. But after a little while, he will settle down, and eventually go to sleep.

So sorry that you may have to do this!!! :cry:
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Okay, so I’ve picked up both Kanaplex and clove oil because I got him to eat last night. I’m going to try treating him first, and if he doesn’t improve after three doses (the maximum number it says on the bottle) or if he gets worse anywhere in the process, I’ll put him to sleep.
One more question - what should I do about tank cleanings during the Kanaplex treatment?
Thank you guys! Everyone on this forum is so helpful 😂
I would do a 50% water change before starting. Then I would change water after the thrid dose, maybe on day 7. The directions say to dose every 48 hours, if I remember right.

It's great that he is still eating a little. It's good to eat to help his immune system.

Sending you good thoughts!!!!! 💕
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An update for anyone who’s interested:
Edward got his last Kanaplex treatment today! He’s still having a hard time swimming but either pineconing less or not at all (I can’t tell exactly), he’s noticeably less bloated, and I think he’s breathing more easily. He’s got a big appetite (only for the cheap bug bites though, not the fancy frozen stuff, which I wasn’t expecting!) although he has a hard time locating it and eating anything bigger than his eye. Thoughts? Opinions?
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Holy moly! I'm stunned!
Are you able to help him with a pellet at a time so he can find the food? Hopefully if maybe his eyesight was affected, or something, it is temporary.
I do hope he makes it!! So encouraging to hear that he is doing better!!!! 💕
Edward is still improving! Now that the dropsy seems to have mostly vanished, we’re working on getting his strength back. I’m feeding him 3-4 times a day because he can’t eat too much at once and giving him daily water changes. He seems in high spirits and keeps poking his little nose out of the water whenever I come by which is just so cute 🥰
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@vivid, this is so wonderful!!! This is definitely not what usually happens once a betta has dropsy!!!

You've done a great job with him!!! 😍
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