I've had my betta fish for almost 3 years and now he looks really blotted, and his scales are sticking out. I read online that it is a disease called dropsy. I was just wondering if this has happened to anyone before or if it is possible to save him. I really don't want him to die especially not this way:cry:
3 - 5 yrs is the average lifespan of a betta splendens. When it comes to dropsy, there is no cure. You can treat it by keeping the water extremely clean and feeding the fish well on a variety of healthy foods, but thats about all you can do for it... oh, and keep it away from other fish. If the fish with dropsy dies and other fish eat the internal organs it can be transmitted to the other fish.
If its any consolation, I took a sick betta home for my daughter when she was about 8 yrs old. The betta had dropsy and severe popeye in both eyes. With a lot of love, warm temp (82F), good food and extremely clean water, she kept that fish thriving for another 3 yrs. The dropsy and popeye never went away, but the fish did very well and was active, colorful and had a good last 3 yrs of its life. In case you're wondering, no medications were used during that 3 yrs.
When it comes to betta care, especially in the case of dropsy, clean water and a high temperature have huge benefits. A lot of people do not understand that betta care is not all that different from any other tropical fish. Just like other tropicals, bettas require warm water (actually a little warmer than most tropicals, 78-85 degrees Fahrenheit). Also, bettas are susceptible, as are all other fish, to the harmful effeects of water that is not properly filtered. The only major advantage that bettas have is that they are labyrinth fish--air breathers. For the most part, bettas require care that is very similar to other fish.
No less, most people do not really know these things, mostly because of inaccurate sales ploys on the part of various pet shops. Many pet shops will tell customers that bettas can handle very small environments, which (in part) is true, that they do not need a filter (only partially true), and that they do not need a heater (this is outright false--no fish adapted to live in the tropics of our world can be expected to do well at any temperature below the tropical threshold). The truth is that since bettas are air-breathers they do not require aeration (which is not the same as filtration) and have a high tollerance for small spaces (though most bettas in the wild will have territories in excess of 100 gallons sometimes) even though it is not necessarily preferred. To successfully keep a betta in a small environment, it should be heated and partial water changes should be done frequently (every couple days, 10-30% of the water) to make up for the lack of filtration.
I am sure you are aware of most of this stuff. I am doing it more to hear myself talk than anything else (and maybe a new aquarist will benefit from it). I wish you the best.
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