Best Betta Dropsy Treatment and Prevention

Last Updated on October 6, 2020

Just when you thought having a pet fish would make your life easier, wait until you get a hold of bettas. Betta fishes are attractive and a pleasure to have. But the maintenance you’ll do can take a toll on your wallet and patience.

Not to mention, things will get worse if they can catch a bacterial disease such as dropsy. However, fret not dear reader because betta dropsy is easily curable. As long as you’re armed with the right equipment, you are ready to keep betta dropsy at bay.

If you noticed that your betta fish may experience dropsy, then this article is for you. This article will tackle what dropsy is all about and how to treat it. So sit back, relax, and continue to read on.

What is betta dropsy?


Dropsy is a bacterial infection that occurs not only on bettas but also in other types of freshwater fishes. We often consider dropsy as a secondary ailment, since it only occurs when there is already an underlying disease.

Take ourselves as an example, when we get an infected wound, the aftermath of such is swelling around the wounded area. This principle also applies to betta drops. Mainly because a bacterial infection causes this in bettas internal organs.

The bacterial infection mostly occurs in the kidney and can spread to different internal organs. Lack of diet and proper nutrition also contributes to the formation of dropsy. This results in symptoms such as swelling of the organs that can make them appear bloated. 

Best Betta Dropsy Treatment

Symptoms of betta dropsy

Speaking of symptoms, here are a few more that you need to monitor:

Bloated body

Already mentioned in the previous section, a bloated body is caused by internal organ swelling. But you need to be careful because bloated bodies can make your bettas look pregnant. It’s hard to differentiate if your betta fish have the disease or just pregnant all along.


This internal swelling can cause severe pain to your betta fish. If not prevented early on, it can lead to a lack of energy that can turn to lethargy. This makes your bettas unable to swim well and will often dart to the surface gasping for air. 

Loss of appetite

Appetite loss is a common symptom for different kinds of fish diseases but is also present on dropsy.

Aside from the kidney, dropsy can spread and infect other internal organs too. This results in them having trouble swallowing and digesting food. If left untreated, it can lead to starvation and can cause death.

Sunken or bulgy eyes

We mentioned earlier that dropsy can spread to other organs of the betta’s body. And this includes the eyes where it will appear sunken or swelled, making it bulge out of their sockets.

But fret not because it doesn’t negatively affect their vision unlike other fish diseases such as cloudy.

Best Betta Dropsy Treatment

Treating betta dropsy the easy way

When there’s a disease, there’s always a cure. Here are some things you can do to ward off betta dropsy. 

A hospital tank or quarantine tank is your best friend. A hospital tank is a place where your infected betta fish will stay during the healing process. We should never overlook the importance of a hospital tank. This is to keep your infected bettas from spreading the disease to other fishes in your main tank. 

Creating a hospital tank is easy. It’s the same as creating your main tank but only with a few additional. This includes putting medication (more on that later), or adjusting aquarium parameters to make the medication effective. 

Here are some more considerations to keep in mind when creating a hospital tank:

Keep the water level low 

We mentioned earlier that bettas with dropsy will often dart to the surface to gasp for air. That’s why it’s important to keep the water level low in your hospital aquarium. This lets your bettas surface for air with ease during the healing process.

Air stones galore

Air stones help keep your hospital tank oxygenated. So put a few of them on the sides so it won’t block the view. 

Not only you get the benefit of having an oxygenated hospital aquarium, but they also look great as a decoration too. Air stones are also cheap and you can buy them at your local fish pet stores. 

Don’t forget the aquarium salt

If you’ve been reading our articles here on the site, you’ll notice that aquarium salt is almost everywhere. You can’t blame us because aquarium salt is actually effective in healing dropsy and any kinds of betta fish diseases. 

Just be careful not to confuse aquarium salt with table salt. Because if you put table salt on your hospital tank, it’s like preparing your bettas ultimate resting place.

Using medication

There are plenty of medications available around for betta dropsy. But we highly recommend KanaPlex by Seachem. KanaPlex is an antifungal and antibacterial antibiotic effective in treating dropsy. 

Not only is it best in treating freshwater fishes such as bettas, but this medication is also good for marine fishes. What’s best is that it also cures other fish diseases too such as fin rot, popeye, and more.

But, use medication with moderation. Overdoing it may negatively affect your fish tank and can harm your bettas in the long run. If you’re having trouble with putting medication, ask an aquarium expert for help to prevent further damage to your betta fish.

Best Betta Dropsy Treatment

Related: Betta Fish with Velvet: How to Treat and Prevent it

Preventive measures to keep betta dropsy at bay

The saying prevention is better than cure not only applies to ourselves but also to the way we treat our betta fish. The importance of prevention should be a top priority for fish owners to prevent such diseases from coming back.

Here are some preventive measures you can follow to prevent betta dropsy (and other fish diseases) from coming back:

A clean tank is a healthy tank

Having a well-maintained and clean aquarium always pays off. Cleaning your tank regularly prevents bacteria buildup which is the cause for most fish diseases. 

This saves you from the hassle of tending your bettas away from such diseases too. Not to mention, not only it gives you the benefit of having a healthy environment but also an attractive-looking fish tank.

Keep your betta fishes away from stress

Stressed bettas are vulnerable to bettas. That’s why it is important to keep their environment away from stressors. This includes overcrowding your tank with other fishes or the decorations you put on it. When bettas are stressed for too long, it can weaken their immune system making them an easy target for dropsy.

Proper nutrition is a must

Let your bettas eat food that’s best for them. Keep in mind that fish foods will vary depending on the fish. This means that there is no one size fits all type of fish food. You cannot just randomly feed them with any kind of food because doing so may put them in harm. 

Bettas are carnivores. And so feed them with protein-rich foods such as bloodworms, larvae, brine shrimp, and the like. Flakes and pellets are also viable but make sure you feed the ones that are specific for betta fishes. 

A spacious fish tank pays off

Bettas are active fishes. This means they love to swim around, play, hide in plants, and more. Therefore, it’s important to invest in a bigger fish tank just in case you don’t have one. 

It also gives you the creative freedom to decorate it according to your liking. Just make sure not to go overboard while doing so.

The best betta dropsy treatment can be bought but ensure that you have a spacious fish tank to prevent it from happening.

Best Betta Dropsy Treatment


Betta dropsy is just as concerning as other fish diseases. That’s why it’s important to treat it as early as you can before it leads to your betta’s deaths. Dropsy isn’t just like fin rot or ick that only appears on the outside at first before it attacks internally.

But it is a fatal disease that attacks your betta fish’s internal organs directly because of bacteria buildup.

That’s why aquarium maintenance and proper nutrition for your bettas are a must. These two factors alone contribute to the lifespan of your betta fish and your wallet will thank you later.