Do Newly-Imported Girls Have Bloat, Dropsy, or Just Stress?

DracarysBettasSD

Dear Fellow Betta Breeders,

I am just getting back into breeding Bettas after a 10-year hiatus, and my recently-imported sorority of 5 Black Dragon girls seems to be having some trouble adjusting to life in California. I know our water is much harder and has a much higher pH than what they're used to on the fish farms in Asia, and the person who sold them to me said that they were unsure if they had been kept singly or in a sorority setting at the farm, so I'm doing my best to mitigate all of these water chemistry and personality clashing variables at once! Help!

Backstory:

I introduced the girls to their 10-G tank last Thursday, and by Sunday two of the girls who had been getting beaten up by the two bullies of the group looked a little worse for wear. One was hanging listlessly by the filter and looked pretty bloated with torn-up fins, so I gave her a salt bath and then moved her to her own tank. Today (Monday) she is looking MUCH better, although her belly is still a bit swollen. I also gave her half of a boiled pea in case she is suffering from constipation from eating too many live bloodworms.

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I left the better-off-looking female in the sorority overnight to see if the four remaining girls would work out a pecking order, but now fish's belly is looking pretty distended as well.

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I have since put the two bullies in two separate fry nets in the sorority tank to give the other two females in there a chance to rest and eat their peas, and also to give me some time to make sure they are all passing feces normally.

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I would love some other Betta keepers on the forum to take a look at the photos above and let me know if I should be treating the whole sorority for Dropsy, or just continue with the aquarium salt and fecal monitoring while they all settle in a bit before I try the sorority thing again. I'm not going to add any more fish to the breeding pool until I've got these girls sorted out!

Today's Water Chemistry:
pH: 7.8 in the tank, 8.2 out of the tap (time to buy some R.O...)
Ammonia: 0.25 ppm (close to 0.5 ppm, but not quite)
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 5.0 ppm

Water Additives/Filtration:
Seachem Prime (1 mL/10-G on 6/26 and 6/27)
API Stress Coat (5 mL/10-G on 6/26 and 6/27)
API Aquarium Salt (2 Tb./10-G on 6/26 + 1 Tb/10-G on 6/27)
Indian Almond/Keptang/Catappa Leaves (1 x 7" leaf/10-G)
Marina 10S Filter (on the lowest setting, with both the Carbon + Zeolite cartridges installed)

Thank you so much for your help!
 

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ForBettaorForWorse

In all honesty, they don't look that bloated to me. I've had female crowntails whose bellies literally looked like they were going to explode, and that was bloated in my eyes.

Your bettas look like they have nice round tummies, which probably means they have eggs. Females are often a bit more chubby than their male counterparts.
 

DracarysBettasSD

In all honesty, they don't look that bloated to me. I've had female crowntails whose bellies literally looked like they were going to explode, and that was bloated in my eyes.

Your bettas look like they have nice round tummies, which probably means they have eggs. Females are often a bit more chubby than their male counterparts.
Thanks so much! It was really the isolated girl's behavior coupled with the suddenly "bloated" look that got me worried (and her torn-up fins!) Of course, feeding them an all-they-could-eat buffet of live bloodworms probably had a lot to do with the sudden bloated appearance :p I can't wait to see what these little tubs produce once they're out of QT and ready to pair up with my males!
 

Rose of Sharon

I find that frozen daphnia helps a lot with bloat issues, much better than feeding peas. It's pure protein; feeding them daphnia twice a week should prevent digestive issues. It will also help them absorb and/or pass any eggs if they are egg bound.

They are all just so lovely!!!
 

DracarysBettasSD

I find that frozen daphnia helps a lot with bloat issues, much better than feeding peas. It's pure protein; feeding them daphnia twice a week should prevent digestive issues. It will also help them absorb and/or pass any eggs if they are egg bound.

They are all just so lovely!!!
That's a great idea - I used to feed peas once a week to my fancy guppies way back when to help with digestive issues, but Daphnia sounds like a much more appropriate food for my little carnivorous Bettas! Thanks so much for your help! <3
 

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