Help me prevent future deaths from dropsy/SBD!!

Jan 15, 2013
Hi all,
I had 1 male 2-year old Betta in a 2.5 gallon tank. (See below for more details.) About a month ago he started bloating up. I suspected constipation, and administered fasting for 4 days and then fed him a mashed pea. When that failed to work, I tried Epsom Salts (1/2 tsp. per gallon). Still no change. The PetSmart staff advised Melafix, and I treated him with that for almost 3 weeks. He seemed to be getting better, but eventually bloated up again.
As a last resort, I tried Maracyn II (thinking that maybe he had an internal bacterial infection). I treated him with that for 5 days but this morning I woke up and he had passed. :`(
Please help me figure out what this was! Could it have been dropsy? His scales were not pineconing although they were stretched (about 7 times normal size). I want to prevent my next betta from dying of the same disease Comet did.
Thanks for your help!

Detailed Info:

What is your tank size?: 2.5 gallons
Filtered/heated?: Yes
Aerated?: No
What are your water quality readings?:
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
Chlorine: 0
Alkalinity: 180
Hardness: 50
pH: 7.2
Ammonia: safe

Fish age?: 2 years
Symptoms?: Severe bloating, lack of defecation
Treatment?: Fasting/mashed pea/Melafix/Maracyn II


Superstar Fish
Jan 1, 2010
Vancouver, British Columbia
It could have been dropsy, which is very hard to treat. Could have been a tumour, bacterial infection, other stuff. If your water parameters are always good, you're feeding appropriately, and are giving your fish the right space, filtration and heat, then you're doing the things you should to give your fish the best captive life they can have. Even still, some fish get sick and die.
(BTW - Make sure your ammonia is always at 0... even a little ammonia isn't 'safe').