Betta Fish With Dropsy: 6 Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Care

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Are you trying to find out anything about betta fish with dropsy? Dropsy, also known as “pinecone disease”. Betta fish dropsy is not a disease in itself but a secondary symptom of another problem going on inside the body.

Betta fish, known for their vibrant colors and beautiful fins, are very popular with aquarium lovers. However, these beautiful animals can sometimes face health problems. One thing that can affect betta fish is dropsy. In this article, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, treatment, and care tips for Betta fish with dropsy.

Betta Fish with Dropsy: Understand the situation

Dropsy refers to a condition in which fluid accumulates in the internal organs or tissues of the fish. It affects the internal organs and causes the fish to have a bloated appearance due to the accumulation of fluid inside the abdomen.

Causes of Betta Fish with Dropsy

Betta fish can develop dropsy for a number of reasons, including:

Bacterial infection: One of the causes of dropsy in betta fish is bacterial infection. Bacterial infections such as Aeromonas and Pseudomonas are a common cause of dropsy. This bacterial infection causes damage to the betta fish’s organs and causes fluid to build up inside the body.

Poor water quality: If the amount of ammonia and nitrite in the aquarium water increases, the immune system of the fish may decrease. This can lead to dropsy.

Decreased kidney function: Fish kidneys regulate the body’s fluid balance. Dropsy can occur if the kidneys are unable to function for any reason.

Internal Organ Problems: One of the causes of dropsy in betta fish is liver dysfunction. If the betta fish has a tumor in its body or if the liver is infected with parasites or bacteria, fluid accumulates in the body. As a result, betta fish get dropsy.

Improper Diet: Betta fish are primarily carnivores. If fed improper food, they will suffer from malnutrition, which lowers the body’s immune system. This can also cause dropsy in betta fish.

A gill or lung infection: The gills and lungs are the main directors of the body’s circulatory system. If these two organs do not work properly for any reason, then the functioning of the circulatory system is disturbed. It is one of the causes of dropsy.

Causes of Betta Fish with Dropsy

Identifying the Symptoms of Betta Fish with Dropsy

Swelling of the body: A betta fish with dropsy will have very rapid belly swelling. The belly of the fish does not swell so quickly due to weight gain or pregnancy. Then the internal organs of the body will swell and stop working. Fluid accumulates in the body due to the reduced function of the kidneys and gills. This means your betta fish has a physical problem.

Scaling of scales: Due to the accumulation of fluid, fish scales can separate from the body, giving them a pinecone-like appearance.

Enlarged eyes: If you notice that the eyes of the fish are dilated or swollen, then your betta may be suffering from fish dropsy. The accumulation of fluid creates pressure behind the eyeball, causing the eye to swell.

Pale gills: Pale gills in fish are another symptom of dropsy. This happens due to excess fluid accumulation in the body. Diseases other than dropsy also cause pallor of the gills.

Swelling of the anus: If excess fluid cannot leave the fish’s body, it accumulates in the intestines, causing swelling inside and outside the anus.

Bending of the spine: The body swells due to the accumulation of fluid in the body. At the same time, the spine can be bent. In dropsy, the spine is bent sideways instead of vertically, as it is in tuberculosis.

Curled Fins: The fins may stick together and appear crooked.

Redness of skin and fins: If you see redness in the skin and fins of your Betta fish, it could be a sign of dropsy.

Loss of appetite: Fish with dropsy may lose interest in eating.

Lethargy: Dropsy often reduces activity and energy levels.

Symptoms of Betta Fish with Dropsy

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Treatment of Dropsy in Betta Fish

Dropsy is usually not easily cured. It increases your chances for treatment if detected early. Follow the instructions below to treat your Betta fish with dropsy:

  1. Change 25% of the water in the tank
  2. Prepare isolation tanks or hospital tanks.
  3. Add a heater with a built-in thermostat and set it to about 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Keep the water level lower than normal so the betta will come to the surface in search of oxygen.
  5. Always keep the tank clean and do partial water changes weekly.
  6. Adding an air stone to the air pump will oxygenate your tank water and aid recovery.
  7. Add 1 teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon to hospital aquariums to reduce swelling and release accumulated fluid.
  8. You can also add Indian almond leaf to hospital aquariums. These leaves have natural antibacterial properties.
  9. Betta fish should be acclimated to hospital tanks.
  10. Administer antibiotics as directed. If your betta fish is still feeding, soaking the food in the antibiotic will speed up the effect. Alternatively, drugs such as kanamycin are also absorbed into the water.
  11. Many antibiotics reduce dissolved oxygen levels and are potent, so it is important to change 25% of the water daily and use an air bubbler during treatment.
  12. Feed fresh, high-quality food to your fish.
  13. Keep the fish under observation for several weeks after the symptoms disappear.

How to prevent dropsy in betta fish?

Care must be taken to minimize beta stress to prevent dropsy.

Tank size

Many pet stores keep bettas in small bowls. Looking at this, if you think that betta fish can be kept in a small bowl, then you are wrong. Betta fish should be kept in a 5-gallon aquarium with good filtration and a water temperature of 78┬░F.
Includes daily, weekly, and monthly schedules for betta care and tank maintenance.

Aquarium maintenance

It is important that you continue to maintain your aquarium. Aquarium maintenance includes the following:

  • Change the water weekly, change 25% of the water.
  • Clean the sand or stone with a stone vacuum to remove organic waste.
  • Clean the filter and replace the filter media if necessary.
  • Test your aquarium water regularly using an aquarium water test kit to track ammonia and nitrite levels.
Betta Fish Tank care guide

Avoid overcrowding the tank

The more fish you keep in your aquarium, the more biological load you will have. Bioburden refers to organic waste produced by fish, including feces, urine, and unconsumed food. Increased bioburden increases the likelihood of bacterial or fungal infections. Additionally, overcrowding can lead to increased stress levels in betta fish.

Give nutritious food and avoid overfeeding

Feed your betta a varied diet to keep it healthy. Bettas are omnivores, so feed them both plant and animal foods. Feed your betta high-quality shells or pellets with frozen daphnia or bloodworms.

Feed your betta only twice a day and avoid overfeeding. Their stomachs are only the size of their eyes, so they only need a small amount of food to feed them. Feeding in this way reduces the biological load.

Monitor Water Parameters

Regularly test your aquarium water for parameters like ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. High levels of these can contribute to dropsy, so maintain a stable and safe environment.

Promote Natural Behavior

Betta fish are naturally curious and active. Enrich their environment with toys and objects that encourage exploration, reducing the risk of stress-related diseases like dropsy.


We hope you enjoy this article. Betta fish are kept in small bowls in aquarium shops. Looking at this, if you think betta fish can be kept in small tanks, you are wrong. Small or filterless bowls are not suitable for keeping bettas. Taking proper care of your pet will keep him healthy and prevent him from getting sick for the rest of his life. If you have any questions or comments in this regard, write them in the comments section.


Question: Is Dropsy Painful for Betta Fish?

Ans: Yes, your betta fish will suffer from dropsy.
With dropsy, fluid will build up inside your fish’s body, causing swelling and severe discomfort. This causes difficulty breathing and a loss of appetite, and the swollen abdomen makes it impossible to swim normally.

Questions: What causes dropsy in betta fish?

Ans: Dropsy is often caused by internal bacterial infections, poor water quality, and stress.

Questions: Can dropsy be contagious to other fish?

Ans: Dropsy itself is not contagious, but the underlying causes, such as bacterial infections, can affect other fish.

Questions: Can dropsy be cured?

Ans: In some cases, dropsy can be treated if caught early, but it’s challenging to cure once it reaches an advanced stage.

Questions: How many days can betta fish live with dropsy?

Ans: If the dropsy reaches the advance label, you probably won’t be able to save it. Dropsy almost always causes death 15 to 20 days after infection.

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