5 Gallon Tank Pretty sure my betta has dropsy. Help and advice needed.


Before we start I want to start what my questions are:
  1. Any advice on dropsy treatment outside of what’s on Fishlore’s fish disease page.
  2. For those with more experience, what do you think my chances in saving him?
  3. Could the snails have brought this in? Or could it be linked to his fin rot?

What is the water volume of the tank? 5 gallon
How long has the tank been running? 4/2019
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What is the water temperature? 78-80F
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) Betta and bladder snails

How often do you change the water? Once a week
How much of the water do you change? At least 50%
What do you use to treat your water? Prime
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? Yes

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? Yes
What do you use to test the water? API Master Kit
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Ammonia: <0.25 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: ~5 ppm
pH: 6.6 <— This is lower than normal.

How often do you feed your fish? 2 times a day, with 1 meal Sunday
How much do you feed your fish? 2 pellets/pieces
What brand of food do you feed your fish?
Betta Buffet pellets and flacks, NLS pellets
Do you feed frozen? Yes, currently Omega one frozen blood worms, brine shrimp, and mysis shrimp
Do you feed freeze-dried foods? Yes, only b/c I couldn’t find a frozen diatoms

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? 5/2019
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? Sunday-Monday of this week
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms?
Heavy breathing, not interested in eating, lack of activity, bloating and raised scales all over his body
Have you started any treatment for the illness?
Kinda, see below for more detail.
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? Yes, but that was 2 years ago now
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all?
See below for more detail

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)
First I’d like to address my treatment plan. Tonight after work I’ll be giving Pidge an epsom salt bath and moving him into a quarantine tank. I’m also going to order some Kanaplex as soon as I have a moment.

This is what Pidge looked like in May.

He’s still recovering from a really nasty case of fin rot from last year, that took two does of Maracyn-2 followed by Furan-2 paired with aquarium salt to knock out.

At the end of June I had a plant get mailed to me. There were some bladder snail eggs on the plant. The snails showed up and were moved into a cup and quarantined. After a week in quarantine, one snail was placed into each of my 3 betta’s tanks. Both of my other bettas are/were fine.

I don’t have any pictures of him form June, but this is what he looked like on July 19th.

I added 1 bladder snail to Pidge’s tank on July 14th and on July 18th added an Amazon Sword to his tank. Both were to help with boredom, but the hope was the bladder snail would help clean up the algae in the tank.

Here he is on July 23rd.

It wasn’t until Monday, August 2nd, that Pidge started not showing interest in dinner. He ate breakfast with no issue. I just wrote it off at first to the fact that he’d been eating the baby bladder snails that were hatching in his tank. It isn’t unheard of for him to choose hunting things in his tank over the food I give him. What did concern me was that he was breathing heavy.

I wasn’t able to do a water change on his tank on this day because it was also the day I found one of my other betta dead from a really nasty injury.

On Tuesday, August 3rd, again no issues with breakfast and still breathing heavy. Did a 70% water change with gravel vacuuming and all my other standard cleaning practices. At this time I started wondering if my cycle had crashed. Every year since I started this tank, my cycle always crashed at least once during the summer months. With that thought in mind, I added 2.5mL of Stability to the tank. Just encase my guess was wrong, I also made sure to switch out all my old Indian Almond Leaves for new ones.

No interest in dinner on Tuesday night either, and it was frozen blood worms. He never turns down frozen blood worms!

Wednesday, August 4th (yesterday), things changed. He didn’t want breakfast. Once home from work, I checked my water chemistry and the results are listed in the template above.

My tanks pH tends to be between 7.0 to 7.8, so this is low. My tape water runs around 8.0 pH. My ammonia test was mostly yellow, but had a green tent to it.

In the hope to get him to eat something at dinner, I put his pellets right in front of his face. I don’t know if he really ate anything b/c I left the pellets there and walked away. I’ve noticed that my bettas don’t always like eating with me watching them. He did seem to perk up a little after dinner and was a little more active than he had been. I also wasn’t able to find all the pellets I put in his tank.

As I was on my way to bed last night, he was sitting with his back to me and well the picture below says everything.

This morning, again he wasn’t interested in food and his color was paler then I’ve ever seen it.


I’m pretty confident that its dropsy, and I know my chances of saving him are low, but I have to try. He doesn’t seem to be in pain, just sick, so it feels wrong to go straight to putting him down.

Any help, positive thoughts, and/or advice would be appreciated.
Sadly Pidge passed away while I was at work today.


Can't tell from the pics if he was pineconing or not-sure sign of dropsy-but he definitely came down with something! Sorry to hear he passed while you were at work :(

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