The tank is 60 litres cycled and 0 for ammonia and nitrite. Fake plants. It is however overstocked. I thought it would be ok as my water stats were ok and I clean it every week but obviously not.
Two of my female Bettas have died from dropsy. Symptoms were very quiet for days and then ballooned out and pineconed and laying on the bottom of the tank.
In the tank now are 9 cardinal tetras none of these have gotten sick and are all fine and have been in there ages. And 8 female bettas which have been added over recent weeks. It's been 2 Bettas that have gotten sick with dropsy. One was in there from when I first set up my tank so she wasn't a new one.
Other than the obvious which is re home some stock which I am gonna do. My sister is gonna have my cardinals. What other steps should I take? I am gonna do a big clean tomorrow. I clean it thoroughly every week anyway so that's nothing different. Should I treat with an internal bacterial medication?
I have 2 other tanks with male bettas in each one. Should I worry about using the same syphon in the tanks when cleaning in case it spreads?
The siphon, should be cleaned thoroughly with hot hot hot hot water, and possibly even with vinegar (then rinsed with hot hot water, completely). This stops the spread. I have done this because of ich :)
Also, dropsy is caused by usually a bacterial infection - similar to bad water quality. However, even with you cleaning the tank the overstock is the problem.
I suggest, because the females can be okay in this, get jars or clear plastic containers. Put each female in their own separated areas. This can allow you to UNDER stock the tank, plus lowers the bacteria from spreading from fish to fish (usually caused by stress of another fish being sick, lowering immune system, and getting them sick). This way you can monitor each betta, as well as other fish.
You will probably have to get dropsy medication (not BETTAFIX or MELLAFIX please :) ), but I am pretty sure salt works too (correct me on that whoever knows better)
Since the whole tank has it, to be careful you should be watching for slight changes in mood, movement, breathing, bloating, activeness, eating, etc. Once they pinecone it's basically a slim to none chance of survival :(
If you decide to QT them all, don't use AQ salt.. that will actually make drospy worse. Epsom is what you will want to use. It sounds as if you are taking the right steps, IE lowering the amount of fish, cleaning tank, etc. I would just clean the tank really good, as much water out as you can since you did have dead fish in there and watch the remaining girls closely for any signs. Not eating, lethargic, clamped fins, some bloating.. if you see any of that, then would do the epsom salt treatment on that one. You want to catch it before it pinecones.. that is the final stage and very hard to bring back from that.
1 tsp/gallon of Epsom, 100% daily water changes, 10 days. =)
But personally, I won't treat a fish unless I am absolutely sure they are sick. I hate to give meds to "unknowns" and end up with a worse-for-it fish. But again, that is me. You are there, you can see, and they are your babies so please do what you feel is right, with your instinct.
Thanks for the advice. I'm in the UK and been up all night worrying. I'll wake everyone up if I start cleaning it now and walking around the house so I've got to wait till tomorrow. I'm gonna take loads of water out and scrub everything in hot water tomorrow. Thanks for your help.
If pine coning starts, slowly up the epsom salt to 3 tsp/gal and start on a combination of maracyn 1 and maracyn 2. If you can get any tannins like Oak or Indian Almond Leaf, use those too (steep in treated water for 30 minutes and do 50% water changes every 3 hours to acclimate them to it and the next day do 100% change with that water). Also, if you are able to up the temperature to 84* this will be helpful in comfort and healing.
In the mean time, you can feed the bettas food soaked in garlic juice to boost their immune system.