View Full Version : Beta With PineCone scales?

05-01-2009, 5:50 PM
Just looked into my community tank... I noticed that my female beta is looking a bit sickly.. she was swimming kinda vertically

upon further investigation.. I noticed that her cheeks are a bit puffy and her scales look like pinecone

any ideas? what should I do? I dont really have a place to QT her accept for a fishbowl she could live in temporarily

my QT tanks are FULL of fry... my lab and 2 guppies all dropped fry today

05-01-2009, 5:56 PM
sounds like it may be the beginning of dropsy

05-01-2009, 6:11 PM
I would start with shelled peas. She may only be constipated and that would help. Check your water params and post along with tank mates, etc.

05-01-2009, 6:14 PM
i agree. only case of dropsy i ever had to deal with, knock on wood, started just like that. yet i wasn't successful in saving the fish.

i'd put her in the bowl and medicate if you think she may have a chance. i don't think the survival rate of dropsy is very good, but i do wish you luck!

05-01-2009, 6:15 PM
well I have her quarantined in a 10g right now... forgot I had it lying around

Water params are as follows

Ammonia- 0
Nitrite- 0
Nitrate- 5
GH- 150
KH- 180
PH- 7.8

She is in a 10g alone right now.. but when she was in the 55g she was with mollies, platies, guppies, cories, a lone tiger barb and some snails

05-01-2009, 6:32 PM
Also.. I cant get her to eat anything at all-- which is very unusual for this beta as she is a pig

so I dont think I will benefit from the pea method here... also the swelling seems more in her head/neck than in her abdomen right now

05-01-2009, 6:35 PM
i'd be betting it's dropsy. same deal with mine, along with the swelling and funny swimming, she totally lost her appetite.

when yours swims in her 'vertical' position, does she do so in a darting manner some? like swims, then darts, then swims, then darts?

05-01-2009, 6:40 PM
yes that seems to pretty well describe it... acts like she is sleeping-- then all the sudden will move away quickly and sit in a new spot

05-01-2009, 6:42 PM
yep, dropsy for sure. i'd be prepared for a loss here, but i have heard of a few cases where the fish got through it, but that may not have been 'true dropsy', the articles stated. keep us posted!

05-01-2009, 6:55 PM
Not eating is a bad sign. Good luck.

05-01-2009, 7:42 PM
I found this on a betta forum. I have read of fish that have dropsy being cured, but immediate diagnosis and treatment is imperative. I don't know if the following are what you should do, but these folks had success.

I hope your betta gets better; I have lost neons and guppies to dropsy.

NEW!!!Possible Dropsy Treatment!
On 31 October, 2003, I received the following email from Lorena Hazama who successfully treated two bettas who had dropsy:
From: Lorena Hazama

I'm in no way any kind of expert, but I just wanted to share what I learned
from a dropsy episode with my fish with the hopes of perhaps helping someone
else someday. When my fish first got it, I didn't have any hope, because I
had heard that it was difficult to cure.
With a lot of help and suggestions from people a betta forum, esp. Uptongirl
and Violetedawn, as well as some other resources, my fish's case of dropsy
has been diminished if not "cured".
Have no idea what caused his kidney function to fail/decrease. I'm guessing
it was bacterial or viral because Kanacyn seemed to do the trick.
Treatment was in stages as I changed things as I found out about stuff. I
have no clue what actually helped--or if it was something I should not have
done--so I'm putting everything here:
1. Had him in Maracyn II for about a day.
2. When I got Kanacyn, I put that in the water instead (did not use the 2
3. Tried to keep temp as warm as possible--was a bit difficult because we
have air conditioning and he's at work. Some sites say they upped the water
temp to 86C for gold fish. I think his water was probably around 70-72C. But
if you're changing temp, please do it slowly as not to stress or harm your
4. Shielded his tank from stressful light by making a black paper "box" with
some air and peep holes cut out. This really seemed to help.
5. Added some epsom salt to his Kanacyn water. (1 tsp for 5 gallons of
6. I was changing his water every other day--100% change. I also kept the
water for changes in the same room as the fish tank so it would be about the
same temperature when I changed his water.
Notes: The epsom salt helped his swelling. I was so afraid that he'd burst
or something he looked so swollen. I'm sure he probably felt more
comfortable, too.
Read medication instructions carefully and follow them to the T. It mentions
not combining with other chemicals unless compatible with the medication.
This is really important! I used only Kanacyn and epsom salt together in
untreated tap water but I could get away with this because our tap water is
drawn from artesian wells and is not treated with chlorine. So I didn't have
to use water conditioners or anything to prep his water. I would not
normally do this, but I wasn't sure if the chemicals would combine OK with
the medication.
If you have to treat your water, you might want to get help from someone
who's a lot more knowledgable about water conditioning.
If you're like me and don't have a 10-gallon tank or water vessel to put
your medicine in, we came up with the following:
1 capsule of Kanacyn and 2 tsp of epsom salt were mixed in 10 Tbs of water.
We then used the ratio of 1 Tbs of concentrate to 1 gallon of water for
water changes. We kept the concentrated Kanacyn/epsom mixture covered and in
a dark place just in case. This may not be the best way to do this, but it
seemed to work OK.
My fish didn't show improvement until after the epsom salt, so it was about
a week from when I noticed the dropsy and started treating it to see
results. His recovery sped up more after that. So, even if you don't see
results right away, just hang in there and give your fishy time to try and
kick whatevers ailing him.
Like I said before, I'm not an expert, not a breeder. Not even an experienced
fish owner--I've taken care of a grand total of 4 betta! But for whatever
reason, my fish and I were lucky enough to, with lotsa guidance, to be able
to kick this.

NEW!!! A Second Possible Cure of Dropsy!
Tammy S. sent me an email stating that she cured her betta of dropsy using a technique similar to the one above. Initially, her fish stopped eating and tended to float to the top of the tank. After a dose of maroxy he started eating a little but was still floating a lot. The next day he started showing the bloated, pinecone symptoms of dropsy.
She began treating him once a day with maroxy and twice a day with maracyn II for one day every five days. This continued for 10 days. The temperature was maintained at 70-72 degrees F. and the fish was kept in a dimly lit corner. The water was changed every other day.
On the third day of this treatment she started adding Epsom salt at the rate of 1 teaspoon in 5 gallons, using prtreated water like normal.
One week after adding the Epsom salt the fish started improving. After that he recovered quickly. Tammy also stated that she regularly exercised her fish by showing it a mirror a few minutes every day. As of two months after the treatment the fish is alive, strong, and showing no signs of dropsy.

While annicdotal accounts can never replace scientific data, the above two cases suggest that in the abscence of more informed guidance there might be hope for bettas with dropsy. If you have a betta with this disease and extensive research turns up no scientifically verified cure, you might want to give this treatment a try. As with all diseases, a critical factor is early detection and medication. Left to linger for even a few hours, a fish can sustain enough damage to his or her internal organs that even if the disease is cured, the fish may still die. Also, I have read that Epsom salt has sulfer in it so there may be problems using it with sulfa-based medications.

05-01-2009, 11:00 PM
Thanks for all the info guys.. I have her in the hospital tank right now-- she isnt looking good at all