Early Dropsy?

Discussion in 'Betta Fish' started by wolfdog01, Aug 23, 2019.

  1. wolfdog01

    wolfdog01Well Known MemberMember

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    Tank
    What is the water volume of the tank?
    10 gallons
    How long has the tank been running?
    Around 3-4 months
    Does it have a filter?
    Aqueon quietflow E internal (mostly for circulation)
    Does it have a heater?
    No
    What is the water temperature?
    79-80F
    What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)
    One betta fish

    Maintenance

    How often do you change the water?
    Once or twice a month
    How much of the water do you change?
    50%
    What do you use to treat your water?
    Prime
    Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water?
    I vacuum the substrate every time

    Parameters
    Did you cycle your tank before adding fish?
    Yes (used the fake plants, decor, and gravel from previous tank)
    What do you use to test the water?
    Nothing, used the liquid test kit in the older tank, never got anything except 5-10 nitrates
    What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

    Ammonia:
    Nitrite:
    Nitrate:
    pH:

    Feeding
    How often do you feed your fish?
    Once per day
    How much do you feed your fish?
    3 Hikari pellets with a pinch of frozen Freshwater Frenzy, and a freeze dried bloodworm every now and then
    What brand of food do you feed your fish?
    Hikari Bio-Gold and San Francisco Bay
    Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods?
    Both

    Illness & Symptoms
    How long have you had this fish?
    1 year and 5 months
    How long ago did you first notice these symptoms?
    About 5-7 days ago, thought it was bloat
    In a few words, can you explain the symptoms?
    Slight pineconing that has been going on for at least a few days. No change in eating habits or behavior, perhaps a little more sluggish than usual? Not enough to notice
    Have you started any treatment for the illness?
    Ordered Kanaplex, getting salt today
    Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase?
    No
    How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all?
    Fins have been getting a bit more ragged in recent months, doesn't look like rot. Behavior has been a little slower, could be due to tank change. He used to live in a 20 gallon long with snails, moved him to the 10 gallon by himself because I am preparing to move out. Also had to do a black out due to algae a few weeks ago.

    Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)
    Nothing has really changed drastically besides the pineconing and frayed fins. I plan on doing salt baths 2-3 times per day until I can get the Kanaplex, then I will treat the tank and continue with the salt baths.

    I am mostly looking for opinions on what I should do, I just did a water change of 50% today and I plan on doing another one before doing the salt baths. When he was in the 20 gallon, he had a lot of nerite snails, my nitrates never got above 10 ppm with monthly water changes, so with no snails in the 10 gallon I assumed I could do the same water change schedule, but now I wonder if this is the cause of it. My maintenence has been a bit lacking over the months because I recently rescued a parrot, so I feel like that also contributed to it. I work at a pet store so I can always just test my water for anything, but we use the strips, so I'm not sure how accurate they would be. Considering his symptoms are little to nothing, I am wondering if the drospy is just starting or maybe it is just extreme bloat? Any advice is welcome.
    Sorry the pics are a bit blurry, he was scooting around kinda fast.
    20190823_115903_HDR.
    20190823_115738_HDR.
     
  2. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Fishlore VIPMember

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    Yes that's Dropsy but by the time the fish is 'pineconing' it's not early. Pineconing is a symptom of a problem that's been going on for awhile. Dropsy is a catchall term used to describe that symptom or a set of symptoms: bloating, lethargy, loss of appetite, trouble swimming, pineconing and general physical deterioration. It's most frequently associated with poor water conditions (persistently high ammonia, nitrite and/or high nitrate levels) it usually is not survivable when it reaches this point. You can try treating it with Kanaplex or another broad spectrum antibiotic. It may improve some. I also advise you to get a test kit and check all your water parameters and correct that problem immediately with some water changes. Also, I'd advise you to do weekly water changes (at least 25%) in the future to help prevent a recurrence of this problem.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
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    wolfdog01

    wolfdog01Well Known MemberMember

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    What confuses me though is that he is not really showing any other symptoms besides pineconing, so I was thinking maybe it was different from other cases. I know treating it is probably not going to do anything, but I figured if he's still acting pretty normal then there could be a higher chance.
    I've thought about uping my water changes, but I might do a couple of more tests beforehand.
     
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    wolfdog01

    wolfdog01Well Known MemberMember

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    So I started treatment of Kanaplex on Monday, there doesn't seem to be any huge improvement. I think the swelling in his abdomen has gone down but he is slightly pineconing down the rest of his body. He is still acting pretty much the same and readily eats his pellets. I am medicating his frozen food and I think he can taste it because he won't eat those as easily. I haven't tested my water just because I know it won't matter with all of the water changes and meds I'm doing. I'm going to get clove oil today and if there is no major changes to him by this coming Monday, then I'll put him down.
    I know this is more than likely my fault due to lack of maintenence, I just didn't see any signs until the pineconing started. I have been doing water changes once a month for a while now and I know people get old tank syndrome and don't have any issues, so it makes me mad knowing I still did water changes but had this happen. I also work at a pet store and I deal with fish a lot so Idk if maybe I got something on me and got it in the tank and stressed him out. I plan on finding another job by the end of the year anyways.
    I have already made a promise to not get anymore fish until the bird passes away or I do something else with him. I know he is a big reason why tank maintenance has kinda been lacking. I hate myself for rescuing this bird now that I know I can't divide my attention. I feel kinda like a failure for letting this happen, I love this hobby so much and I am one of the go to fish people at work and I scuba dive and all that good stuff, but I let this happen.
    I hope Master Kohga (my fish) will forgive me for all of this.
     
  5. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Fishlore VIPMember

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    Well, lesson learned. I hope. Water changes in aquariums aren't just to remove fish waste and the byproducts of waste. Water exchange also removes salts and minerals that accumulate due to evaporation plus it replenishes minerals and electrolytes vital to normal skin, muscle and organ function (calcium, magnesium, potassium etc.). Without these nutrients, body systems begin to fail and in the presence of pollutants, the problems are compounded and accelerated. "Old tank syndrome" is a phrase used to describe prolonged complacent neglect of an aquarium. Whenever we commit ourselves to be caretakers of the vulnerable and helpless (animals) we have implied consent to provide for, at least, their basic needs. For fish, the needs are simple: fresh water, adequate food, shelter from extremes (mainly temperature). I can't say I sympathize or even accept that having a bird is an excuse for not spending 15-30 minutes a week to take care of the needs of a single fish. I've had birds, from injured mockingbirds to Amazon parrots-- and horses, and dogs, cats, fish, rats, snakes,rabbits, cattle, chickens and have rescued many others and I can see absolutely no excuse for focusing exclusively on one animal at the expense of others.
    I agree with you. Perhaps until you can figure out a way to manage more than one commitment at a time, it might be wise to only make one commitment at a time. Advice: get a test kit, a heater and do the research before you get another fish.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
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    wolfdog01

    wolfdog01Well Known MemberMember

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    I know having a bird is no excuse. But I also am the type of person to commit my time to one animal and one animal alone so I can make the perfect habitat. I have had other bettas in the past and taken care of them, I never planned on getting a bird.
    I know what old tank syndrome is and I know people go longer in between water changes than me and their system works.
    I just wanted to update this thread since it seems to have gotten very little attention. Everyone's situation is different.
    This might be my last post on this thread since there is nothing else to be done.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
  7. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Fishlore VIPMember

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    I'm sure you're at the limit of what you are capable of doing.
     
  8. CheshireKat

    CheshireKatWell Known MemberMember

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    I would've done Epsom salt baths to treat the bloat and pineconing, to reduce swelling and pull out excess internal fluids. If your fish isn't responding to kanamycin, I think either the bacteria causing dropsy is immune to it or your fish might have a failing organ, which I hope is not the case. You could try a antibiotic-treated food, too. Metroplex might be worth a try. You can buy Metronidazole flakes or use Metroplex and Focus to bind to food. Metronidazole can also treat some parasites.

    You definitely need a clean and well-maintained environment though. Dropsy and bacterial infections can happen regardless, but it definitely helps.

    Edit: admittedly, I have just glanced at most of the posts. You mentioned salt baths but not what kind. You mentioned medicating his frozen food; with Kanaplex? That's not really necessary since kanamycin is absorbed internally through the water. Aquarium salt will do nothing for dropsy.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
  9. OP
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    wolfdog01

    wolfdog01Well Known MemberMember

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    Everything I looked up online was very mixed on how to treat it, nothing was consistent. Some people said Epsom salt some people said Aquarium salt, others didn't specify, I used aquarium salt. I bought what I thought would be best for treatment but I'm pretty sure it's too late. He's been at the pinecone stage for over a week now.
    I know what I did wrong, I didn't need verification for it, I needed detailed help. So thank you for responding.
    On the box of Kanaplex, it said I could mix it in with some frozen paste, so I figured it'd be better than just medicating the water.
    Do you think it would be worth it to try the other meds? I hate to see him like this because I know it can't be comfortable, even if he acts pretty normal.
     
  10. CheshireKat

    CheshireKatWell Known MemberMember

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    Personally, I'd try everything I could up til the last moment. It might be too late... But it might not be. If he's still active and eating, you may have a chance. I lost my 2-3 month old platy because I spent a week observing until he or she pineconed, then used aquarium salt as well which does nothing for dropsy. I had to order Kanaplex and didn't get it in time. I feel like if I had used Epsom salt instead of aquarium salt, I might've bought more time. It's hard to say though because we don't know what's going on internally. My fish was behaving normal up until the day or two before it died; slowed down a bit, was shy, mopey, and no longer very interested in food.

    It's up to you if you want to try other meds. I always fear premature euthanasia and think what-ifs. Some people go the other route and feel better knowing they released the animal from suffering. It depends on the situation. I'm sure you know your fish better than I and can gauge his status more.

    As for treating food with Kanaplex... I mean, either way, he got it in his system. One of the treatments I read suggested treating the tank with Kanaplex and medicating food with Metroplex. I ordered Metronidazole flakes (so I don't have to bind the food myself) and Kanaplex.
    If it were me, I'd probably try Epsom salt baths to see how he responds. Because he's at a critical stage, I'd go straight to a tablespoon of Epsom salt dissolved in a separate container then add your fish for no more than 15 minutes once or twice a day.
    Because I now recognize dropsy bloat vs stomach/constipation bloat, I treated my 3 month old Molly as soon as I saw its body expanding out on the sides like my previous platy and fed the Metronidazole flakes and didn't have any further problems. Whether or not there really was an issue, I don't know, and normally I don't treat without knowing, but I didn't want to let it get as bad as my little platy got. Plus pineconing freaks me out. The raised scales makes my skin crawl... And that expression is creepy, too.
     
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    wolfdog01

    wolfdog01Well Known MemberMember

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    Thank you, I'll order the flakes but I honestly don't know if they will get here. I live in FL and there is a hurricane on the way. I'll get some Epson salt today and start that. I actually ended up not doing baths with the aquarium salt and just added it to the tank since he was the only fish in there. Gonna do baths this time though, but I want to ask. Is there a huge difference between baths vs adding to the tank itself?

    Edit: where would I find the flakes? I want to make sure I am getting the right thing
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
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    wolfdog01

    wolfdog01Well Known MemberMember

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    Just got done with the first Epsom salt bath. Going to do a near 100% water change to take out all of the salt and meds and stuff. Going to do another two rounds Kanaplex until I can figure out the flake situation. I also bought clove oil just in case.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
  13. CheshireKat

    CheshireKatWell Known MemberMember

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    I'm sure there's many places, but I got mine at kensfish.com. You can also just use Metroplex and make your own medicated food.
     
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    wolfdog01

    wolfdog01Well Known MemberMember

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    Okay, thank you.
    And is Focus just the binding agent? Should I get it or just soak his food in the meds?
     
  15. CheshireKat

    CheshireKatWell Known MemberMember

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    Yeah, it's a binding agent. Can't hurt to get as well if you're getting/have Metroplex, but it's up to you.
    According to Seachem, it's also an antibacterial alone:

     
  16. OP
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    wolfdog01

    wolfdog01Well Known MemberMember

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    Ordering them both now. They're prime on Amazon so hopefully I will get them before the hurricane comes through.
    When you treated the molly with the flakes, did it have any issues later on down the road or do you think it will have a shortened lifespan? I'be heard mixed things about this. If the fish has actual kidney damage then there is a chance of it coming back or having a shortened lifespan. But if it's just the bacteria then there are no issues.
     
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    wolfdog01

    wolfdog01Well Known MemberMember

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    The Metro and Focus won't come in until Friday, so that's out the window.
    I think I will put him down tomorrow, the baths are stressing him out and I've never had to net him before so that doesn't help either. He looks like he can't control his swim bladder or breathing when he is in the bath and turns really pale. The pineconing has gotten worse and now he's starting to get less interested in food.
    I might do another two baths today, for his dinner I'm going to go catch some mosquito wrigglers to feed him today and tomorrow when I get home from work before I put him down.
    I know there could be a small chance that he'll get better, but if he has to go through all of this with no garuntee of getting better, then I think he would rather be put to sleep.
    I was asking my mom about all of this and she was saying it could be genetics too since the cup bettas are so inbred and stuff. One of my aunts had kidney issues and swelled up too, but no one really knows why it happened. My mom says that I take good care of my fish and that makes me feel better when I think I can't take care of them. I have a rescued betta in a 5 gallom that I have been doing the same water change schedule on and he is doing fine, so I just don't know what caused this. The only good thing that'll come of this is that the rescue fish will be upgraded to the 10 gallon and my parents won't have to bother taking care of a fish when I move out.
    I've been in the hobby for almost five years and I've only had three betta fish and a lot of nerite snails. I don't want too many fish to take care of but I know this limits my experience to disease and illness, I've only ever dealt with fin rot and weird facial pimples that I still don't know what they were. Dropsy was the most terrifying thing that I had read about when I first started the hobby and now I know what to look for. I'll keep the Epson salt and Kanaplex in storage in case I ever need it again.
    Thank you @CheshireKat for your help, hearing you were able to cure it makes me have hope for the furture if I can catch it early enough.
     
  18. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Fishlore VIPMember

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    Before you get another fish of any kind, research the fish and it's needs first. Read about the nitrogen cycle, cycle your tank first and get a heater. ALL tropical fish live in warmer water than can be sustained by ambient room air temperatures. If you do those things, it's unlikely that any of your fish will ever need antibiotics. I've kept fish for over 40 years and only had to treat fish for disease 4 or 5 times. BUT I only put fish in well cycled tanks and do regular (weekly) water changes or make adjustments in tank oversight when I can't, to keep the fish safe.
     
  19. OP
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    wolfdog01

    wolfdog01Well Known MemberMember

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    I've not had a heater in my tanks for months, they stay at a steady 79-80F, even at night. Not every tank needs a heater. I know how to cycle a tank, I've done it before. I still have my liquid test kit if I need it. I also have only kept bettas so unless I go to a breeder or get a show betta, I know I am probably going to have more problems or have a fish die sooner than others because of inbreeding and overbreeding. I am still learning and I take everyones advice differently and test out stuff before I commit to it.
     
  20. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Fishlore VIPMember

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    "My maintenence has been a bit lacking over the months because I recently rescued a parrot, so I feel like that also contributed to it." "What do you use to test the water?
    Nothing,"
     
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