How To Get A Tank Ready For A New Fish

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Beccaaa

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So my last betta died of what was probably a bacterial infection (dropsy) over thanksgiving break and I still haven't gotten a new fish... I also haven't sterilized anything or used any meds/chemicals to treat the tank. However, the tank still has lots of plants, snails (nerite and Malaysian trumpet snails), and sand substrate. The tank was never treated with any kind of medication so I figure some sort of cycle is still intact thanks to the snails, but I'm not sure if its safe to move another betta in or not.
Taking everything out and sterilizing it is just not going to be an option- and I really really don't want to kill all my cycle and/or snails on accident trying to kill whatever bacteria might be lingering, especially if it might just be an opportunistic pathogen to begin with.

So in the end what I'm asking is how long do the possible causes of dropsy hang around in the environment for, and how virulent/pathogenic are they? (do they only cause disease in already sick fish or would any new fish I get be at risk?) If they are something to worry about, what is the best thing to treat the tank with? and how do I eventually clear the meds and get a cycle back after treatment?
 

ktorg

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Dropsy is just a symptom usually associated with a bacterial infection. A lot of the bacteria are always present in your tank, but healthy fish are usually strong enough to fight off infections. The bacteria are just waiting for something to happen to lower your fish's immune system like an ammonia spike, high nitrates, or another stressor so that they can attack your fish.
So basically, bacteria will always be there. In my experience, dropsy is usually associated with poor water quality, so stay on top of the water changes.
Unless you saw any other symptoms or anything else wrong with your fish just do a large water change and I would think that you would be fine.
As far as your cycle, not having a large enough bioload will starve most of the beneficial bacteria in your tank, unless you have a ton of snails because their bioload is small.
No fish=little/no bioload=no food for beneficial bacteria=dead bacteria=lost cycle.
 
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