Does your Betta Fish have Dropsy?


There are many symptoms to describe what Dropsy is and how it looks. Oddly enough Dropsy is actually a symptom in itself. This makes treatment incredibly difficult because there are multiple diseases that can lead to this very unfortunate side effect. Be sure to rule out constipation before jumping to conclusions. Dropsy will show faded colors and scales will stick up due to the extreme amount of fluid retention. A betta fish that is backed up will have a big solid belly and a loss of balance. Here’s a great article on betta constipation to help you know the signs and how to treat it.

How to prevent Dropsybetta fish dropsy

A good preventative is to monitor your betta splenden. Watch their eating habits, behavior, and body condition. You should be able to spot illness before it leads to Dropsy. Just remember that appetite loss and lethargy are the first symptoms betta usually show when they are feeling ill.

If it is too late and your fish is already showing serious signs of Dropsy, try to recall how your betta was acting before the symptoms of dropsy appeared.

Signs of Dropsy include:

appetite lossBetta Fish Dropsy
belly bloat
change in color(fading or color loss)
raised scales, “pineconing”


Note: These are signs universal to Dropsy. There will more than likely be other symptoms due to an infection or illness of a different nature. If you are able to recall previous side effects there is some hope.


Treatment is all in the source…

You can try to treat your siamese fighting fish based on what disease may have originated within them. I would recommend buying a cure-all treatment if you are unsure of what you are dealing with. In many cases Dropsy means it is the end. That does not mean you have to give up! There could still be hope for your betta fish.

betta aquarium salt

(click to enlarge)

I highly recommend you add aquarium salt to your beta’s water.  It is a great additive to any treatment remedy. The salt kills water born pathogens such as bacteria and protozoa but will not alter or harm your betta fish or other fish within the tank. Aquarium salt will also not alter the pH or hardness of the water. Do not use table salt. Though it is the same type of salt, table salt contains added ingredients beneficial to humans such as iodine. This could harm your betta.

Note if treating a tank with fish other than betta fish: Corydora Catfish or “Corys” do not tolerate salt very well. The use of salt could cause further discomfort to Corydoras.
betta fish stress coat

(click to enlarge)

I also suggest you add an aloe vera based fish tonic, such as Stress Coat, while you are medicating your tank. Aloe vera helps your betta keep up a slime coat which contains enzymes and antibodies to fight infection. When there is damage to the body, the slime coat wears down and electrolytes are depleted from the body leaving your fish more vulnerable to stress and illness. Stress Coat aids in healing by recreating the natural slime coat to protect against bacterial, parasitic, and fungal pathogens.

If you pair my last two suggestions with a cure-all treatment you should be able to heal your betta fish. Take action and monitor your betta closely. Dropsy is a sign of stress and disease progression, but it does not have to be the end.

About Angela Soup

2 Responses to “Dropsy”

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  1. Mandy H says:

    My Betta has Dropsy but because he’s always been a really grumpy fish (also his name) I didn’t catch it until the scales start to raise and he stopped eating. He liked to hide a lot in general and he always sat up at the top of the tank next to the filter grill which ripped up his tail. I’ve tried everything to stop him from ripping up his tail, the filter is fairly low but I don’t know how to stop him from doing that, it’s almost like he’s been depressed. I’ve had him for a couple of years after rescuing him from appalling conditions.
    I’m worried I might not be able to save him. I’ve got the aquarium salt and stress coat in the tank at the moment I just wanted to know some of the brands/names of “cure-all treatment”, I’ve not seen anything like that before. I’m in Australia so I’d lick to get a couple of brands/names because not all brands or products are stocked here. I’m trying my best to save him, so any help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Angela Soup says:

    Have you had your water tested? It sounds like his environment has stressed him out to the point of compromising his health. You can bring a sample of Grumpy’s water to your nearest pet store for free water testing. If you have a aquatics store even better. Most stores will offer this service for free so they can show you what you need and how to correct the quality of Grumpy’s tank.

    As far as products go, I would like to know if he started out looking bloated. It could be that he started out with constipation. Dropsy is a symptom of a preceding disease/ailment. Do you notice anything else odd? Was his tail discolored before becoming ripped up? It could be that he had fin rot or something parasitic in nature that could be eating away at his tail.

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