04-07-2008, 05:53 PM
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The pineconing is the thing that gives it away as dropsy, but dropsy doesn't typically kill within a few days unless there are other issues with it.
My daughter took in a betta with dropsy and popeye in both eyes, it lived for 3 yrs after I gave it to her.
Considering it is 1 fish going into a 10 gallon tank, if it were mine under those circumstances, I would remove gravel and plants and add 1/2 cup of bleach to the water and let it run with the filter and heater in tact for 3 - 5 days. Then, empty it out, rinse everything, let it all air dry for 72 hrs, then rinse again until all odor of bleach is gone. Replace gravel and filter media before starting it over.
Cycling the tank before adding a betta isn't usually needed. If you are doing water changes at least once/wk, running a filter with carbon and other media in it, and not overfeeding, there is no reason a new betta can't go in right away once the tank is started again. Yes, it will cycle again, but it shouldn't be harsh enough to cause problems. Bettas are pretty sturdy fish when healthy, so be careful when choosing another fish.
If you need more help, let us know.