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Old 11-17-2005, 01:29 PM   #1
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Bulgy Betta

My daughter's betta is in a 10 gallon tank with a platy and a frog. The water parameters are perfect (I do the testing), it gets weekly water changes, and a good food variety. Temperature is a constant 80.

He eats just fine and acts perfectly healthy and normal. However, his body seems to be swelling. Just behind his head and gill covers his body is huge. It looks like the two sides of his body have inflated. The scales aren't rough, there's no fungus, but it looks like he swallowed two marbles whole.

What could this be, and how can I fix it?
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Old 11-17-2005, 02:21 PM   #2
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It could be dropsy. The cause can be viral, bacterial, fluid building up due to old age, a tumor - there are many possible causes. The scales don't always have to stick out when dropsy occurs. I had a betta live for 10 days in a very swollen state. He ate and was active until the 10th day.

Here are some of the things I did - they ultimately didn't save him but I hope I made his last days more comfortable.

In a QT tank, use 1/8 epsom salt per gallon, to try to draw the fluid out. Add maybe 1/2 of that amount, and then a few hours later, add the rest. The next day, you can add just a pinch more. If that doesn't seem to help after a day or two, do about a 60-70% water change and try an antibiotic. I have used Jungle Fungus Eliminator and Kanaplex (Seachem) on my bettas. There's a new liquid antibiotic from Mardel that says it treats dropsy. I've used it for finrot with success but not dropsy.

You can also try to feed the Kanaplex. Put a little bit of tankwater - a tablespoon or two - into a plastic cup. Put a pinch of Kanaplex in and dissolve it. Put some freeze-dried bloodworms in to soak up the medicine water for about 5 minutes, and then feed to the betta.

Finally, you can try to feed a pea. Peas can clear out digestive blockages, but usually you feed the pea weekly as a preventative measure. I boil frozen peas in the microwave for 4 1/2 minutes. I don't bring the water to a boil first; I just fill a glass with about a half cup of water, add peas, and heat on high for 4 1/2 minutes. Let cool - peel and throw away the skin. Use a little paring knife (yes, it's tedious!) and cut small pieces of pea to match the size of his regular food. I use a plastic spoon to feed the pea. Since the pea pieces will probably sink, I get the betta's attention with the spoon (they know it by now!) and when they come up to it, I let the pea float off, and the bettas usually catch the pieces quickly before they sink.

Hopefully some of these things will help. Good luck!
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Old 11-17-2005, 04:33 PM   #3
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Thanks so much for the response! I'll be pea peeling tonight to see if that helps!
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125 gallon - Lamprologus occelatus, Tropheus sp. Red "Moliro", Tropheus sp. Black "Bemba", Eretmodus cyanostictus, one Julidochromis dickfeldi "Midnight"
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