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Old 07-02-2013, 01:32 PM   #1 
arnoldandmichael
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Sudden dropsy death. Next step?

My two and a half year old betta died last night of what I assume was Dropsy. My husband had been taking care of him for the past nine months while I was abroad and he had treated him with Maracyn Two once before, and it saved him, but two days ago he got sick again rather suddenly and we started a treatment, but it wasn't soon enough):

He was my first betta and he put up with a lot from me while I figured out how to properly care for him (I bought him assuming I could keep him in a tiny, unfiltered bowl). Now I know a lot more and I have a nice 5-gal setup with a filter, heater (set to 78 degrees), gravel, decorations and fake plants (cloth or plastic that he couldn't catch his fins on). He was eating Omega One pellets and sometimes flakes and occasionally bloodworms as a treat.

I had just the betta and a snail in the tank. The snail seems to be just fine. I want to get a new betta ASAP, but I also want to make sure everything is healthy and safe for my new fish.

What should I do to clean/disinfect the tank, gravel, plants, filter, etc.? Do I need to break it down completely and start over and cycle the tank before adding a new betta? What about the snail?

Thanks in advance for any advice!
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Old 07-02-2013, 08:24 PM   #2 
Narny105
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I'm sorry :(

Disinfecting is a good precaution to take. If a potential risk can be removed, why not do it, right?

There are two ways you can disinfect, and the snail will need to be removed for this. I would also disinfect the filter, and get new media if it's easily replaced.

You can disinfect using bleach at a solution of 1 parts bleach to 19 parts water. Remove everything from the tank (gravel, decor, filter, heater- not chords of course lol), and soak in a solution for 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly and allow to completely air dry in the sun- this will break down any remaining bleach into harmless by-products.

For the tank, rub down the inside walls with the solution, let it sit for 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly and set out to completely dry in the sun.

This is quite time consuming, but is effective. Providing everything completely dries you will be good to go.


Another, and more easier method is to use Potassium Permanganate (PP), and I prefer this myself. It does stain everything so wear gloves- same with bleach. The snail will have to be removed for this too.

For disinfecting, you can add PP directly to the tank once dissolved and let it run with the filter on for four hours. If it goes brown during this time, add some more to bring it back up.

This will kill all organic matter and any nasties. Brown is the colour it turns when it is deactivated, and you will need to deactivate it.

For this, you can add a generous amount of Hydgrogen Peroxide, or use Seachem Prime. That will turn the water from purple to brown (clear with prime). You can then remove the water and fill back up.


For live plants, you can either use the PP solution and soak them for 2-4 hours, then deactivate, or give them a bleach dip at 1:19 for 1-3 minutes before then rinsing them and soaking for 10 minutes in dechlorinated water..

You'll need to cycle again for whichever method you disinfect with, whether or not the two I have mentioned. I know it's a pain to do, but it should make sure that if there were any contagions in the tank, that they are gone :)

Hope this helps!

Last edited by Narny105; 07-02-2013 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 07-03-2013, 10:11 AM   #3 
arnoldandmichael
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Thank you!
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Old 07-03-2013, 10:26 AM   #4 
Coppermoon
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also...if you can find 91% isopropoline (?)...I think that is the word..sry...alcohol, spray everything down with that and let it air dry. Bleach and alcohol combo will kill mycos too (I treat like I still have it :D).
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Old 07-04-2013, 12:30 AM   #5 
LittleBlueFishlets
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Isopropyl alcohol.... It's also called "rubbing alcohol" and isopropanol. It's readily available as a 70% solution in many stores.

90% isopropyl alcohol is available at pharmacies like Walmart.

Last edited by LittleBlueFishlets; 07-04-2013 at 12:32 AM.
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Old 07-04-2013, 12:45 AM   #6 
NickZac
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The snail is a potential worry depending on how the dropsy began, especially given how difficult a disease it is to treat and the poor prognosis. A few weeks of QT may bring peace of mind... You could also use potassium permanganate as a disinfectant.
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Old 07-05-2013, 09:24 AM   #7 
Coppermoon
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I'd go with the bleach/alcohol treatment...PP doesn't kill mycos....from now on...I'll use what kills THAT crap :D
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:03 AM   #8 
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I'd go with the bleach/alcohol treatment...PP doesn't kill mycos....from now on...I'll use what kills THAT crap :D
Wouldn't PP/dylox 80/formalin/etc. kill mycos but only at a much higher (and sustained) concentration than traditionally used? I know formalin resistance is a pretty new topic, but I've seen it myself first hand when used with treatment for parasites on livebearers. I've read of breeders/resalers that when they encounter possible mycos that they do not bother treating in many situations and generally euthanize due to prognosis and they use chlorine bleach formulations far stronger than what is traditionally seen in the household setting at a point in which it's practically caustic to skin...some go as far to even throw out items used on those tanks, which to me makes sense or at least very controlled containment of what products make contact with what water given you cannot autoclave most fish products. When we bred, QT and sick tanks were in a separate room and all equipment was marked with red/orange markers to indicate not to use them elsewhere, and hand disinfectants were high concentration alcohol + a soap with PCMX.

Also, I would assume snails would potentially be able to transmit given the dormancy period which can be pretty long, correct? If so, the snail is probably not safe to combine with other fish even tho fish may not develop the disease for months or years, but a period of stress could change all of that. Given the potential snails have to transmit disease to fish and humans, we generally QT'd plants and nuked tanks with dylox 80 if we saw snails.
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:43 AM   #9 
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Originally Posted by NickZac View Post
Wouldn't PP/dylox 80/formalin/etc. kill mycos but only at a much higher (and sustained) concentration than traditionally used? I know formalin resistance is a pretty new topic, but I've seen it myself first hand when used with treatment for parasites on livebearers. I've read of breeders/resalers that when they encounter possible mycos that they do not bother treating in many situations and generally euthanize due to prognosis and they use chlorine bleach formulations far stronger than what is traditionally seen in the household setting at a point in which it's practically caustic to skin...some go as far to even throw out items used on those tanks, which to me makes sense or at least very controlled containment of what products make contact with what water given you cannot autoclave most fish products. When we bred, QT and sick tanks were in a separate room and all equipment was marked with red/orange markers to indicate not to use them elsewhere, and hand disinfectants were high concentration alcohol + a soap with PCMX.
I was cleaning my nets and sponge filters with PP and dipping the fish in it too. It didn't help stop the spread. The lab I used said it (if I remember correctly) would not kill it and the best solution was the bleach (most people can only get hold of house hold stuff) and the alcohol treatment and let dry for a couple days. OR to get the cleaner that I use. I got mine through my passed dog's vet, but now I'm looking to get it direct from the supplier if I can. I'm passing on what was told to me. I am not a chemical expert (but I do know bleach and vinegar will give you a nasty chemical peel if you put your ungloved hands in it...errg), so I am only passing on this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NickZac View Post
Also, I would assume snails would potentially be able to transmit given the dormancy period which can be pretty long, correct? If so, the snail is probably not safe to combine with other fish even tho fish may not develop the disease for months or years, but a period of stress could change all of that. Given the potential snails have to transmit disease to fish and humans, we generally QT'd plants and nuked tanks with dylox 80 if we saw snails.
Yes snails will pass it. IF a fish has mycos, you may not see it. Mine was so nasty because my show fish were stressed from shipping. I don't know what dylox 80 is. Again, I am no where near being an expert. I'm just trying to share my experience. :D
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