Worried about betta, not sure if dropsy

chonkyguppy

Hello! Second post on this forum and I'm asking for help again :') I bought my male betta from a local pet store a month ago and he's been happy and relatively more active than when he was in the store. Unfortunately I got him before I knew about cycling and had no choice but to do a fish-in cycling while freaking out on this forum haha.. I've been doing 25% water changes either daily or every other day while waiting this cycling out- there was an ammonia and nitrite spike and a breakout of some detritus worms last week and I did a 50% water change and have been dosing seachem stability and conditioning my new water with Seachem Prime.

I'm concerned now because he looks slightly more bloated than usual though I've greatly reduced the amount that i've been feeding ever since the spike. He also seems a bit more lethargic than usual. He has no problems going up and down the tank to come up for air but prefers to sit on his leaf near the top or float in the same spot. The last poops he had were normal, and I thought he was constipated because I've not seen poop in awhile but while I was gravel vacing again this morning I caught one new piece of poop- quite dark, not sure if it was new or a piece that I've missed out in the previous water change.

The pet store owner did tell me before I got him that he liked to just space out, so I'm not sure if this is part of his personality or if there's something very wrong with him. Even when he was more active within my first few weeks of getting him, he also still liked to space out, but I'm more concerned this time because it's the spacing out + him being fat. He's still excited about food and chases floating leaves around, but I'm still worried because he seems generally more swollen than before and I'm not sure if it's in the early stages of dropsy or if it's normal. The photos that come up when I research all have bettas with already very extended bellies but those are all in the late stages of dropsy which is too late, and I don't want to wait till it gets to that stage either..

Tank
5 gallons
2 rocks
1 live plant
28 - 30 degrees celsius

Water parameters
pH: 7.6
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 0ppm

I wish I could post videos so it's clearer about his behavior and how he looks but here are some screenshots from a video I took.
 

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LHAquatics

I don't know anything about dropsy, but pineconeing is a sign of it.
 
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chonkyguppy

I don't know anything about dropsy, but pineconeing is a sign of it.

Yeah, he has a bit of pineconing but only on his stomach area, pictures I saw only had it all over the betta's body. So I'm not sure if it's in a very early stage or if this is usual. I can't remember if he used to have this when I first bought him :(
 
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BigManAquatics

I would try fasting him first before anything too drastic. 3-4 days of no food he should get unbloated. I always try to start simple.
 
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chonkyguppy

I would try fasting him first before anything too drastic. 3-4 days of no food he should get unbloated. I always try to start simple.

Okay, I'll do just that! He always looks so excited and desperate for food, I'll have to lock away his food from myself so that I don't feel bad for him and get tempted to feed him once more. :')
 
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