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Old 11-20-2012, 01:06 AM   #1 
moonsand0wls's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2012
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Thumbs down Is this true?!

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."

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Old 11-20-2012, 04:01 AM   #2 
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Part of it is true - dropsy can be an indication of internal organ failure and is usually fatal from what I have heard. Normally its a side effect caused by some other illness.

100% water changes are frequently recommnded when treating sick fish. However if the fish is very weak, you may not want to do the 100% all at once. it's better to remove and replace a little at a time.

I can not comment about the use of meds. The only time I had dropsy, the fish also had columnaris and since I was lacking the meds for columnaris, they were pretty much doomed to die anyway

As for the epsom salt - you can use up to 3 teaspoons per gallon but you need to add it slowly - like 1 teaspoon every 12 hours slow.

Also, I am not sure where they are getting the "impending nitrate spike" from. Even with a 100% water change on a cycled tank - the bacteria are mostly in the filter NOT in the water itself - so remving all the water shouldn't massivly impact the cycle. it might throw it off a little but I don't think it will cause the cycle to crash completly. Plus most people use a 1-2 gallon hospital tank. Unless the tank has a filter I don;t think you can get nitrite or nitrate unless you have something decomposing in there.

Someone correct me if I am wrong on any of this...

I would follow what's in the stickie. The person who wrote it is a vet student

Last edited by Tikibirds; 11-20-2012 at 04:03 AM.
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:49 PM   #3 
Join Date: Oct 2012
yeah the "nitrite spike" comment is just nonsense.
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Old 11-20-2012, 01:03 PM   #4 
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It does depend on the illness/severity on whether to do a 100%..
As mentioned before, when you see pineconing that tends to be a sign of organ failure and there is a slim chance to recover from it.
Pineconing isn't always caused by dropsy, it depends on any other signs the fish has.
Epsom may help relieve some of the discomfort, but no one knows for sure as you can't really judge pain in a fish.

So you were partially right in the Epsom treatment, but without a for sure diagnosis of dropsy (can't tell from this thread), the rest may not be helpful.
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Old 11-20-2012, 01:05 PM   #5 
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Okay, thank you all :)
I've luckily never had a fish with it, and never had to deal with it so I wasn't sure if it was true or not. :/
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