Despite the fact that a lot of keepers believe that giving a betta a bath in Epsom salts, it can be beneficial in some serious cases, like dropsy or severe bloating. Epsom salts are used medically in humans to draw out fluids that are causing problems such as swelling. If you use this on a betta as a cure for bloat or dropsy, then you need to be sure you are completely sure of what you are doing and the possible side effects of this specific treatment. Epsom salt dips can cause weaker betta to pass out temporarily, and this is not good if ignored, you must revive your betta by moving it to less salty water called a revival station or pool. For dropsy, this treatment must be done more than once per day to help combat the bloat, but dropsy is often very fatal with very few cured cases from most keepers nowadays. It is still quite possible to cure dropsy, but it is often caught once it's too late, which is why dropsy is one of the most difficult to identify in early stages.
What is dropsy anyways?
Dropsy is not a disease, it's a symptom of a failure of the fish's kidneys, and because this failure fluid is allowed to build up in the abdominal area which causes the fish to bloat and the scales to point outward like a pinecone. These indicators are not hard to miss, but often once they are discovered it is usually far along and almost too late to cure. Most keepers will naturally resort to putting their fish to sleep by euthanizing it with clove oil emulsion, as they may not be able to treat dropsy or find it too late to start anyways, so it is sometimes more humane for the fish this way.
What You Need
Start by preparing your first container, this container will be the bath water containing the salt, and you must completely dissolve one tablespoon full of salt per gallon of water used. Ensure that the water is not far off from the water of the original tank, please acclimate the betta to the bath water accordingly if necessary. This gives you time to set up the revival pool, which is going to be the same amount of water but with only a fourth of the original dose of salt that the main bath has, so you will need to measure out ¼ of a tablespoon of salt and dissolve it into the water. Once the betta is in the bath, set and start the timer for 10-15 minutes depending on the strength of the treatment. This is when you must keep a very watchful eye as the betta is in the salt bath, as it may become sensitive to the salt and risk the chance of passing out. If this happens, then immediately net it out and move to the revival pool for it to recover. Once the timer comes to an end, move the betta over to the recovery pool and let it calmly sit for 5-10 minutes until it has adjusted to the water. You are then able to re-acclimate it back to the original tank water until the next bath time.
- Multiple clean containers
- 100% fragrance free Epsom salt
- Measurement spoons
- Thermometer (optional)
If you are treating with Epsom salt baths alongside dropsy symptoms, then this procedure will need to be repeated at least two or three times per day, as well as treating the main tank with a medication prescribed to help treat dropsy. You can also add a small amount of salt to the main tank as an ongoing treatment alongside the medication for a stronger effect. Use one teaspoon per five gallons of water, or a fourth of a teaspoon per gallon. Medications that are good for dropsy are Kanaplex, Fish Mox, or an antibiotic that is especially for aquarium fish.
Betta Epsom Dip
How to perform an Epsom salt dip to treat bloating or dropsy.
I think this is a good article, but I would like to just point out a few things. When regarding dropsy you'll need to be doing 2-3 times a day to help with the treatment, so the "only five times a week" statement is good for just. bloating and such, but shouldn't be applied to dropsy. Same with the no epsom salt in the tank, you'll need that in the tank when you are treating for drops. Granted it is significantly less than the amount used in baths (1tsp per 5 gallons). I also do not see the amount of salt needed to be used in this article? Overall this is a good article, but I think a few touch ups could be added to make it even better.
Overall, a good guid to giving a salt dip, but ther'e many problems with this also. 30 to 50 years ago, salt was the only readily available medication and therefore salt was the way to go. However, nowadays this can greatly harm your betta. It is a myth that salt is the cure all first line of defense for everything. bettas have a very low tolerbility to salt and it greatly decreases their immune systems. I also want to point out that there is a difference between salt dips and baths. While many use these terms interchangably, it's still wrong and can be confusing. Your describing a salt dip in this paper. Now, i only graded you on the info you provided, but i would of also liked to of seen what salt is doing to your fish and how it's helping. this might of also helped you see my salt is a danger to fish and what you can do to avoid these problems.