So, I have NEVER had a fish pine-cone, and I hope that I never will.
However, someone on a Betta group posted asking how to stop pine-conning, and I copied and pasted this (it was on the treatment thread on here) and someone commented and opposed to it. Are they right? I have no experience with this type of illness, and it was quite embarrassing.
What I posted:
" If you spot the early signs of Dropsy then treat her with ES at 1-2tsp/gal and Jungle’s Anti-Parasite pellets while performing 100% daily water changes. It helps to increase the temperature to 84*F. If he/she has begun Pineconning then do the full course as described below:
Performing daily 100% water changes. Increase the temperature to 84*F. Add 1-2 tsp/gal Epsom Salt. Use API General Cure OR API Erythromycin OR Maracyn II and/or Maracyn for best results. Feed something containing Metronidazole, for example, Jungle’s Anti-Parasite pellets. If caught early, Dropsy is curable."
What they replied:
"Whoaaa, Do not do 100% changes under any circumstance. The added stress from the pending nitrite spike is likely to kill a fish with a compromised immune system (which she has). The last thing you want to do is start messing with the tanks chemistry.
Forget the medications as they're not going to help your fish. They're too harsh, and waste of time. The issue is organ failure- not bacterial or viral. Increasing temperature and doing Epsom salt baths is about the only thing you can do (and safest for her). I was doing a teaspoon of Epsom salt to every litre water for 15 minutes once a day (in an ice cream container or something other than her normal tank). Acclimate her to the salt by adding a little salt every 5 or so minutes until you reach the desired amount. Then leave for a good 15 minutes. (Do the same going back to tank water by diluting the salted water it to prevent any shock). Do this once a day for a good week. I've had good results with up to 2 tsp per 1.5 L, so use your initiative.
As I said before, dropsy is indicative of renal failure, where she's building up with fluid. The magnesium in Epsom salt helps draw fluid from out of her body (Osmosis and all :P). Adding normal aquarium salt to the tank would be useless because it doesn't contain the correct elements. I did roughly the same treatment for a young fish with beginnings of dropsy. He did well for quite a few more months before finally passing on, but he appeared generally healthy. You're probably not going to win the war, but you can make her comfortable. Good luck."