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Discussion Starter #1
Over the past few weeks, I have had two fish come down with dropsy. One died yesterday or the day before, the days are a little blurred this past week for me, the other I just realized has it.

I currently have four bettas, three of which are healthy and I'd like to keep them that way. I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong so that no one else gets dropsy. The two fish with it came from completely different sources, one from Thailand and one from a LPS.

Housing
What size is your tank? The two who have/had dropsy were in separate 5 gallons, my other the are in separate 10 gallons (two of which are divided with plans to add another eventually).
What temperature is your tank? Depending on the tank, 76-82 degrees.
Does your tank have a filter? All but one ten gallon have a filter.
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
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 pellets and Omega One pellets. I had fed freeze-dried bloodworms and Spirulina Brine Shrimp (rehydrating first) but have not since the first one showed signs of dropsy.
How often do you feed your betta fish? 1-2x daily with one day of fast per week.

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? Used to be 1x per week, have upped it to 2x weekly.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 25% in the 10 gallons, 50% in the five gallons, with a larger change 1x monthly.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Seachem Prime.

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? Not recently.

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

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Bloating when
viewed from above
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Lethargic, less hungry.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Today for the one who is still alive.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Yes. Dosing with Kanaplex and Furan - 2 in the main tank, Adlai added 2tsp of Epsom salt post gallon. Also am doing medicated baths with Epsom salt, methylene blue, and Kanaplex, and feeding Neoplex in his food.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? The one who died did not. This one had velvet when we first got him. He also glass surfs constantly, and shreds his tail to pieces.
How old is your fish (approximately)? 6-8 months. Have had him 2, he was full size when we got him and hasn't grown at all.

Please, someone, help me figure out what is going wrong! I'm at my wits end, I don't know what to do. I really don't want to lose any more fish.
Thank you.
 

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Could you post a picture of the new guy that has it? Both top-down and side-view?

Unfortunately - it's really hard to pin down a cause for dropsy, as it's a symptom and not a disease itself. It's essentially kidney\liver failure, and that can have many causes from something bacterial, to poor conditions before you got the fish, to a cyst or tumor growing in an area that puts strain on the organs, to other illness that's harder to specify. From what I'm seeing, you're doing everything right.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I can do that, I won't be able to get any up until tomorrow, though.

*sighs* I was planning to get another guy to go in Arausio's tank, but with this new development, I'm not entirely sure that I should.

I'm glad you think I'm doing everything right, that's encouraging. I've been wondering if there's something stupidly obvious that I'm doing wrong that I keep missing, but I guess if there is it can't be that obvious.

Is it possible I have really crappy tap water that is causing this? Should I get the gh and kh tests and see if there is perhaps something going on there?
 

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My aquarist friends think that water problems can lead to dropsy. It isn't difficult to learn to test water. You might discover a stressor that is making oportunistic infections more likely or that is causing kidney problems. For example, if your pH is very low (6 or lower) and then jumps (perhaps during a water change) ammonia that was locked up as a less toxic ion changes to a more toxic ion. The low pH can be a result of very low KH (under 50 ppm.) This might be a tap water issue or depletion of minerals or both. Learning about your water gives you an opportunity to remedy the problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Okay, I'll get the gh and kh test kits. Is TDS something else I should be aware of?

I got a recommendation to try feeding them live food and/or soaking their pellets before feeding on Facebook when I asked this same question. I thought I'd read somewhere that live food might carry something that causes dropsy? Hmm, but I guess I'd be hearing lots more about breeders having issues with it if that were a very common problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I had also posted this on the IBC Facebook page and someone there asked about cross contamination, which made me realize that I had cross contaminated between Arausio's tank and the others, especially Edgar's. Perhaps this is the whole problem? I feel awfully stupid. I only did it from his to theirs, because I'd had him 2 months and he seemed totally healthy. Obviously this stopped as soon as he showed signs of dropsy.

So, I've made the decision to do a full round of Kanaplex treatment on the others, even though they show no signs of being ill.

I'm still planning to get the gh and kh test kits, though, and TDS if I can find a good one for a reasonable price, and look into water quality that way.
 

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I used to keep fancy goldfish, and had a few once-in-a-lifetime fish.

I moved out of state, and with all my prep, the fish survived and did great, settled right in.

Several weeks in the new place, and they just weren't right.

Couldn't pin it down, but, not right, you know?

Soon, one, then another, started showing dropsy/kidney failure.

I tried everything, but lost every single one.

Around that time, it was discovered there were issues with the local water source and that there were heavy metals present in our tap water.

I think investigating your water source is a logical step for you, at this point.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I used to keep fancy goldfish, and had a few once-in-a-lifetime fish.

I moved out of state, and with all my prep, the fish survived and did great, settled right in.

Several weeks in the new place, and they just weren't right.

Couldn't pin it down, but, not right, you know?

Soon, one, then another, started showing dropsy/kidney failure.

I tried everything, but lost every single one.

Around that time, it was discovered there were issues with the local water source and that there were heavy metals present in our tap water.

I think investigating your water source is a logical step for you, at this point.
Thank you for the advice! Any ideas about how to check that out? I've ordered gh and kh kits, and a TDS meter. Is that something that would show up on something like that? I'm trying to read up on gh/kh/TDS, but I'm having a difficult time understanding it all.

Could I filter my water before using it or something, would that help? Or is using different water the only thing that would work?
 

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Thank you for the advice! Any ideas about how to check that out? I've ordered gh and kh kits, and a TDS meter. Is that something that would show up on something like that? I'm trying to read up on gh/kh/TDS, but I'm having a difficult time understanding it all.

Could I filter my water before using it or something, would that help? Or is using different water the only thing that would work?
We took our water to an EPA lab--I didn't have anything at home that could detect the toxins, no.

That's been quite a few years ago, so my memory is a bit vague--but I think all those tests you have relate to minerals in the water--heavy metals require more sophisticated tests, I think. So not even close to an expert, but I know some of our tests had to be "sent out."

I don't know if home water filters do chelation, or not, sorry. We moved shortly after that, and I never really followed up.
 

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Thank you for the information! I'll have to look into that further.
If you have city water--the annual test results are public information, and most likely you could look up online.

We were in the country, with water sourced from a small town's deep well.
 

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I feel your frustration. It's exhausting and trying to figure out what's going on can be annoying.

I'm in the same boat. I've kept my equipment and accessories separate so far with all my fish ( I have 3) but am being extra careful now since my boy Omar seems to have dropsy. He's being treated now. I as you am soaking the food first. I've always had them fast at least 1 day a week. My female eats more than Omar so why he got it and not her...I don't know. They actually came from the same store although months apart but she is healthy has a horse.

I haven't figured it out yet either. I hope your Betta can kick this. Keep us updated.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks AukWord! Looks like I'm going to have to call the city, I can't find it anywhere online. :p I'm not too surprised about that, my city is ridiculous about such things.

Thanks for you kind words, Zippy, and best of luck to you as well.

Here are a few photos of Edgar:


 

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Edgar is just the perfect name, love it.

I guess you could start looking into RO and all that, if you discover that is the problem.

Geez, sorry you're having to deal with all this.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yeah, we just got a filter that's supposed to take TDS down to zero this evening, my hubby wanted it for drinking water, and I figure we can use it to cut the straight tap water with it needed.

It came with a TDS meter (although I have a better meter coming Tuesday or Wednesday) so I tested our water with the meter. Tapwater is at 78, aged Tapwater is at 86. Then I tested one of the tanks. 508!?! What on earth? I was adding AQ awhile ago, but I have done 2-3 water changes since I stopped. I'm totally baffled at the difference. I mean, completely baffled.
 

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...so I tested our water with the meter. Tapwater is at 78, aged Tapwater is at 86. Then I tested one of the tanks. 508!?! What on earth? I was adding AQ awhile ago, but I have done 2-3 water changes since I stopped. I'm totally baffled at the difference. I mean, completely baffled.
This might be overly obvious, and you've already gone there, but...what sort of substrate and decor do you have in there?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Sand, silk plants, a hamster tunnel, a craft mesh tube, and a foam lily pad. Please do comment away, I don't know if it's just that I'm overtired or what, but I'm having difficulty putting this all together. I just really didn't expect such differences between tap and tank, and it makes me wonder if I can successfully lower it if it is the problem.
 

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Sand, silk plants, a hamster tunnel, a craft mesh tube, and a foam lily pad. Please do comment away, I don't know if it's just that I'm overtired or what, but I'm having difficulty putting this all together. I just really didn't expect such differences between tap and tank, and it makes me wonder if I can successfully lower it if it is the problem.
Oh well, my brain is a very tired being, and I'm off to zzzzzzzzzzz, but it just seems to me the only way there'd be that vast difference between your tap and your tank is that some kind of solid is dissolving in your actual tank, and then going into solution in your tank water.

Right? I mean, has to be, I would think.
 
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