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From: Amber Worman (
Subject:         Re: beta fish trouble
Date: January 8, 2008 at 10:23 am PST

In Reply to: Re: beta fish trouble posted by khadijah on December 28, 2005 at 6:43 am:

In my workplace we have a fish named Li'l Jerry. Last week we noticed that Jerry didn't look like he felt very good. He isn't as sprightly as he usually acts. We changed his water to see if it would help. On Friday he developed some bloating. I think it's worse on one side than on the other. The bloating makes him float to the top. He has to swim and struggle to remain rightside up. What's wrong with him? Is there anything we can do?

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Hello Anna-

Another woman with your exact question e-mailed me a few days ago, so I am going to use the answer I gave to her to help you help Jerry.

I'm very sorry to have to say this, but Jerry may have a case of Dropsy. Hopefully it's something else, but you need to know that once a fish develops Dropsy, it's almost always fatal. :( I'll do everything I can to help you help him, and after that all we can do is hope for the best.

Here are some pictures of Dropsy-fish:

Here are some steps you can take:

1. Buy a 1 gallon heater for his tank. Set it at 80 F (you can use a small $1 stick-on thermometer to measure this.)

2. Check the levels of ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites in his water (before you do a water change.) Ideally, these should be 0 - PETsMART will check a water sample for free and will offer further advice based on your results.

3. Add just a tiny pinch of Epsom salt to the water.

4. Add a dose of Melafix to the tank to help his fins grow back, if they are frayed.

5. Wrap the tank in a blanket to shield his from loud noise and light.

6. (optional and possibly expensive) Purchase an antibiotic, like kanamycin (KanaPlex) or minocycline (Maracyn-Two) - A cheaper alternative is QuickCure, but it's not as helpful in curing Dropsy as the other two antibiotics.

This is all I can think of - This treatment should bring Jerry back to normal if he doesn't have Dropsy, and may save him if he does.

Hope this helps,
Amber Worman

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