07-17-2011, 10:24 PM
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sadly dragon fish need 3 simple things to be happy and healthy. salt, sand, and shade. in most pet stores, especially walmarts, they are given none of these. i used to always say that if your lucky, fish purchased at walmart will die quickly, if your unlucky they will crash the whole tank. i'm sorry thats not more positive but walmart is a pretty bleak place for fish.
that being said, might as well see what can be done for your fish. what your dealing with sounds like bloat, a very nasty internal bacteria. i have dealt with it quite often and one treatment usually seems as good as another, and the fish survival rate seems pretty similar to those untreated. i have only had noticeable success treating bloat with saltwater fish, using the gel antibacterial food, i cant remember the brand, i'll look it up later. sometimes when dealing with saltwater fish that are a bit larger and less fragile then most freshwater we actually physical revealed the pressure by cutting the stomach open which seemed to add to the survival chances if we could manage to do it right... i don't know if you've ever tried to puncture a tangs skin before but it is not easy.
ok so my recommendations are to stop feeding entirely, most likely this is already the case, give him some shade to reduce stress a little, and start adding salt. the salt may actually have some affect on the bacteria, but probably not a whole lot since its internal were the fishes body is regulate levels. in addition to this you can hit it with some melafix. melafix is mostly designed for external bacteria and wont do much, but might have some affect.
you can also do melafix as a treatment bath in addition to the standard whole tank treatment. to do this make a 4x concentration in a bucket or other container and place the fish in for 1-20. the time really depends on how the fish reacts to the treatment bath. usual start with 1 minute and if he seems to handle it just fine up the dosage a little and up the duration. i can't give you any exact numbers on the treatment bath unfortunately as its all kind of trial and error. you do however need to discard and remake the bath after each use as the melafix with evaporate into the air.