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-   -   Betta Constipated, Dropsy, Fungus or combo?! Help telling out which and treatments! (

Akeath 01-31-2010 09:43 PM

Betta Constipated, Dropsy, Fungus or combo?! Help telling out which and treatments!
Here is what my Betta A****aka suddenly started looking like about a week ago:

From the side:
From the top:

Its not easy to see in the pictures, or even in person, but there is a certain transparency to the bubble, it looks clear inside. And I just noticed this, he seems almost dirty in spots, there is something light brown on him, on his sides and his caudal fin and head.

Needless to say, I'm exceedingly worried.

Necessary info:

1. What is the size of your tank? 10 gallons

2. What are your water parameters? State the brand of test kit used. 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, between 5-10 Nitrate, 6.6 pH. Everything but the pH is API liquid test kits, the pH is Fresh Lab liquid test kit.

3. Is your aquarium set up freshwater or brackish water? Fresh water

4. How long the aquarium has been set up? It finished a fishless cycle last July

5. What fish do you have? How many are in your tank? How big are they? How long have you had them? 1 male Betta, he is the only occupant, typical Betta length (around 2 1/2 inches), I've had him for just under 7 months

6. Were the fish placed under quarantine period (minus the first batch from the point wherein the tank is ready to accommodate the inhabitants)? As he was to be the only occupant, I didn't quarantine him

7. What temperature is the tank water currently? 79 degrees, or 26 Celsius

8. Are there live plants in the aquarium? Yes, I added in live plants about 3 weeks ago. I have a Java Fern, Anubias, and Dwarf Sagittaria

9. What filter are you using? State brand, maintenance routine and power capacity. Whisper 10 Power filter, I put in some biostars and just rinse the foam in tank water to clean it. I haven't changed any of the filter media recently. Power capacity of 90 gph.

10. Any other equipment used (aside from heater and filter which are two very important components of the tank)? The heater is a topfin heater rated for his size of a tank, I'm not sure of the exact wattage. No other equipment.

11. Does your aquarium receive natural sunlight at any given part of the day? What is your lighting schedule (assuming you do not rely on sunlight for our viewing pleasure)? No sunlight at any time of the day, a single Flora-Glo Aquarium bulb on for approximately 12 hours a day, give or take 1/2 an hour or so.

12. When did you perform your last water change and how much water was changed? How often do you change your water? Do you vacuum the substrate? I do my water changes every Tuesday, 1/3 partial water change with a thorough gravel vacuuming. The last one was last Tuesday, 5 days ago.

13. What foods do you provide your fish? What is the feeding schedule? I provide him with Hikari Betta Bio-Gold pellets, freeze dried medley (daphnia, mysis shrimp, and bloodworm mix) and frozen bloodworms. Usually he gets the freeze dried once a week and the frozen blood worms once a week and the rest is pellets, but lately I've been lazy and have been feeding mostly freeze dried medley.

14. What unusual signs have you observed in your fish? Extreme bloating, 3 light brown marks on body that are clearly not a part of him one on the top and towards the rear of his head, one on his side, one on his caudal fin, less active (although still fairly active). Symptoms began about a week ago - before the last water change. He is NOT swimming lopsided or scratching against anything. I'm in such a state that I can't even tell if there is any pine-cone scales viewed from the top, and would appreciate an objective opinion on that.

Treat the water with Prime

15. Have you treated your fish ahead of diagnosis? If so, what treatments did you use? State your reasons for planning ahead of proper diagnosis. At first I thought it was just constipation, so I stopped feeding freeze dried stuff and have fasted him for 3 days, and today I finally got him to try a pea, he ate about 3/4 of it.

Recent changes to his aquarium:

I've made several changes to his tank within the last month - I put in live plants, some Dwarf Sagittaria, Anubias, and Java Fern (and for them to survive I've also put laterite in with the bottom of the substrate, got new gravel to cover that, and have been putting Nutrafin plant glo and got a new brighter light for him) and I also have started putting in some black water extract. All of these changes date back to three weeks ago, and I only noticed his stomach about 1 week ago - and its the kind of thing I probably would have noticed right away. It didn't happen gradually, either - suddenly, there was a ginormous bubble in place of where his stomach was!

Also, if this is something contagious what precautions do I take to keep it from passing to my other tanks? I have a 5 gallon with another Betta and a 75 gallon with Dwarf Neon Rainbows, Panda Cories, Otos, Harlequin Rasboras, and Gold Tetras. All of the fish in these tanks appear and act very healthy.

bettababy 02-01-2010 01:18 AM

This does not look like dropsy to me, it appears to be an internal bacterial or parasitic infection. You can coat his pellet food with metronidazole for 7 - 10 days, and follow that with a treatment of fungus eliminator, but do not use both meds at the same time.
To coat the food, put a teaspoon or 2 of pellets into a zip lock baggie along with a small amount of the powdered medication (less than 1/8 tsp), zip it shut and shake until all traces of medication are gone. The medication will coat the food. Offer this food once/day, 3 - 5 pellets per feeding for 7 - 10 days. If the fish responds to this treatment in that time frame, there is no need to do more. If it does not respond, then wait 1 day and begin a treatment of fungus eliminator, following the instructions on the bottle. During the day you wait do a 25 - 30% water change and put some carbon into the filter for that 24 hrs to remove any traces of the metronidazole. Remove carbon before treating with fungus eliminator and put in fresh carbon at end of treatment with fungus eliminator.

After reading all of your posts I can see any number of ways this could have come into your aquarium. I'm not even going to attempt to guess. This is not an uncommon illness in bettas but is very often misdiagnosed and mistreated, which is fatal.

To keep your other fish safe, always soak nets and other equipment in salt water for 12 - 24 hrs between uses and before moving from tank to tank. Wash hands good with soap and water and rinse for triple the amount of time you normally rinse after using soap. You don't want soap in your tanks, but you will want it to kill any bacteria that may be on your skin from the other tank. Wash any part of your arm that was in the tank as well. Do your maintenance at different times so you are not exposing equipment or other items to each other in things like buckets, the sink, etc. When drying hands between tanks use separate towels.

When I am working with sick tanks/QT tanks, I will usually schedule that tank for morning maintenance, and then do the others at night or on a different day. This ensures I am not using the same stuff from the other tank right away, and I have had plenty of time to wash my own hands to remove anything I might carry over to another tank. My nets are always soaked in saltwater overnight and then hung to dry completely before even going back into the same tank again so I don't re expose the same tank.

I hope this helps, if you have any questions about the medications or need links online for where to find it just let me know and I'll post those here for you.
Good luck to you and your fish.

Akeath 02-01-2010 12:06 PM

He's still got the giant bubble this morning, but the light brown substance disappeared from 2 of the 3 places on his body, and the scales beneath are quite healthy. This confused me for a bit, so I sat and looked at his tank for a while. Finally I had an "aha!" moment. The Dwarf Sagittaria plant came in a pot with some kind of light brown "soil" in it. I took most of the excess of that stuff off when I planted the Sagittaria in my aquarium, but some I left because taking it off would tear the roots. There was a little of it exposed above the gravel, and some pieces a few inches away from the plant. This stuff comes off in little chunks very easily, and it seems that he was winding in and out of the plant and got a bit on him. He's very into rubbing his decorations, that's why I got him live plants. So he doesn't have a fungus, he's just dirty. :roll:
I'll try to find a store that carries the Metronidazole.

Akeath 02-17-2010 02:27 PM

Sorry it took me so long to reply. Thank you for trying to help my little Betta. A****aka passed away last Sunday.
I tried treating with Epsom salt and peas, with no effect. I then tried the Metronidazole, in a pellet form. This, too, had no effect. Afraid he would have trouble breathing, I put him in a floating fry trap so he could get to the surface for air. Then I saw more dirt on him, except it crawled...he was infested with what I am now positive was fish lice. The Metronidazole I found was an oral pellet medication with Metronidazole as the active ingredient, that instructed that I could try any external medication added to the water at the same time as I treated with the pellets. So I put in some General Cure parasite medication (after doing water changes to get rid of the Epsom Salt) to try and kill the fish lice, and removed the fish lice on A****aka with tweezers, but it was too little too late, weakened as he was, and he passed away.

bettababy 02-17-2010 03:04 PM

General Cure parasite medication? I'm not familiar with that name, could you please post a list of its ingredients for me so I can add it to my meds list on this end?

I'm sorry to hear of your loss. Fish lice are uncommon in bettas, though not impossible. There are limited medications that are effective on them, so be careful what you attempt to use. Not all parasite medications are safe for all species of fish, either.

It sounds as if you lost your betta to a number of things at the same time, so it would be impossible to say for sure what it was he finally lost the battle with. If you choose to reuse his tank for another fish, betta or otherwise, I would strongly suggest emptying this tank, wiping it down good with some bleach water, replace the gravel and if there are live plants, soak those in a bucket for a while away from your tanks, to be sure that any traces of parasites are gone before setting it all back up. If you can put a light over the bucket for the plants they should be able to QT in the bucket for a few weeks, and I would suggest 3 - 4 wks of this. Many parasites without a host will die, thus removing the problem. This does apply to fish lice, if that is indeed what you are dealing with.

Leave the empty tank and its contents to air dry for a few days, then rinse again real well until all odor of bleach is gone... When working with bettas, cycling the tank before bringing the fish home is not as much an issue as it is with most other fish species. Should you choose to do this anyways I am not going to suggest using your other tanks to help speed it up, just in case any of the others have been exposed/infected to the problems from the betta.

Sorry again for your loss, let me know if I can do anything more to help.

Akeath 02-17-2010 03:53 PM

Its just called General Cure, technically. "Anti-parasitic fish medication" is under the title on the box. It is made by API. The ingredients are: Metronidazole-250 mg and Praziquantel-75 mg per packet. One packet treats 10 gallons per dose, and there are 2 doses made over 4 days. In particular is meant to treat Gill and Skin Flukes (Dactylogyrus and Gyrodactlyus), Hole-in-the-Head Disease, Anchor Worm (Lernaea), Velvet (Oodinium and Piscinoodium), and Fish Lice (Argulus).

I was thinking bleach and letting sit dry etc., too, but my father suggested I empty it and then try putting boiling water in the aquarium first...and I listened. :doh!:
Of course, the glass cracked. At which point some line was crossed for me, and I got really mad and threw everything that could possibly have been exposed to the 10 gallon away, from the gravel and plants to the filter and heater to the thermometer, gravel vacuum and net (luckily, I have separate gravel vacuums etc. for each tank, and there was no equipment that doubled on tank duty, ever, so I didn't lose an appalling amount of stuff). Then, still riding my wave of ire, I cleaned myself up thoroughly, and went out and got a new everything for a 10 gallon setup - except a new net for the 10 gallon, I forgot that - put it all together, and started a fishless cycle - without adding any media from the other tanks, I was thinking along the lines of possible contamination too. Then I felt better, except for the stickershock, which I'm still not quite over.

bettababy 02-18-2010 02:10 PM

You learned a hard lesson the expensive way, I'm sorry for that. In the future you can bleach everything except gravel and silk plants... and its much cheaper than replacing it all. You can use 1/3 cup of bleach in a gallon of water, soak everything for a few hours to overnight, then rinse until all odor of bleach is gone and completely air dry. Rock from the tank can also be bleached, but it takes much longer to dry completely through, so should be left to air dry (if you can put it in the sun to dry even better) for at least a couple of wks.

Once completely dry, rinse once more to be sure there is no bleach odor and return things to the tank.

Good Luck to you with this new set up.

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