Confirm Dropsy & Antibiotic Question

FareIlMioMeglio

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Hi, all:

My daughter's 3 yr old betta has a lump on his side and I suspect it's dropsy.

3 or 4 days ago I added some aquarium salt, started doing daily 25% water changes, and giving him epsom salt baths, but so far I see no change other than that he's started sleeping at the top of the tank instead of the bottom.

I'm wondering how long to continue the salt/water/bath method before I try antibiotics. I'm also concerned that if I give him antibiotics it'll deplete the good bacteria in the tank and he won't be able to fight a recurrence.


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Tank

10 gal tank, no filter, heated, temp is currently 81F but fluxuates between 78-82F, he's all by his lonesome

Maintenance
70-80% water change every 1-2 weeks, recently added about 2 tsp aquarium salt but before that was just filtered tap water, vacuumed bottom with every change

Parameters
The test strips I got don't measure ammonia, but he's not acting goofy like he did when there was too much ammonia.
Nitrite: 0-0.5
Nitrate: 0
pH: 7.5-8

Feeding
We feed him 2x/day, lately it's been a frozen bloodworm in the morning and a couple pellets at night. Frozen brand is Omega One and pellets are Wardley.

Illness & Symptoms
We've had him for 3 years. First noticed a small bump on his side a couple months ago but thought it could be overfeeding so backed off. Bump remained unchanged until recently when it got slightly bigger. He still acts normal. I think his poo is stringy but I don't know what fish poo normally looks like so I'm just guessing. Aside from the lump I haven't noticed anything different.

Thanks for any advice you can offer.
 

Repolie

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There are several things I see concerning about your betta's environment and I'm going to address them in order of the template. I see that you don't know about the nitrogen cycle in your profile and suggest that you research more about it. Basically all tank inhabitants produce ammonia as waste which is toxic, but you have beneficial bacteria that lives in the filter to convert it to nitrites then nitrates which are less toxic and can be removed with a simple water change. This is why a filter is important and needed for every fish tank.

The water changes you would normally do are big. It can cause pH or temperature fluctuations which can be stressful. I suggest you stick to 50% or do smaller changes more frequently.

It's good you're at least trying to test the water, however test strips can be inaccurate. I and many others will recommend that you invest in the API liquid test kit which tests for all the needed parameters, is more accurate and lasts longer than test strips.

Dropsy would cause a betta to be equally bloated on both sides of their body with raised scales. What it looks like he has instead is an internal tumor. There's nothing you can do about it, but it's usually harmless and shouldn't affect him in any way.
 

Kjeldsen

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Agree that it's not dropsy. At more than 3 years of age, I suspect he may be nearing the end of his natural life cycle, as that's often when tumors will turn up. No treatment will affect them, but I don't think they're painful.
 
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FareIlMioMeglio

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Okay, well I guess that's... reassuring.... I'm definitely glad I asked before giving him medication, though!

I didn't realize that male bettas were about a year old when you got them from the store. If that's the case then he's about 4 years old. Makes sense that he would be starting to have some health issues.

Thanks!
 
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