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Old 11-16-2012, 02:06 AM   #1 
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Persistent hole and blister in tail fin, doesn't look like typical fin rot. Advice?

I would really appreciate any expertise/advice.

My betta, Fishface, has a persistent hole in his tail. Multiple internet searches have yielded nothing. The closest things I could come up with were fin rot (which I don't think it is, because the affected tissue is pale instead of blackish, it started in the middle of the fin, and there is no tattering of the fins, and it has persisted at a low level for months), or a herpes-like virus (which I also don't think it is, because I've never heard of those making holes and blisters, but more like lumpy tumors).

You can see the hole clearly in the first pic below, with the wood in the background showing through his dark fin in what looks like a slash mark. What you can't see clearly is that the hole isn't ragged, and in fact is surrounded by a continuous border of blisters of varying sizes, with one large blister on the edge of the hole closer to the fish's body. The blisters are slightly discolored. Mostly pale, but some mottled darker areas too.

Here's the details:

Symptoms and Treatment

Appearance: A hole in the middle of his tailfin, surrounded by what looks like blistering. Slowly getting bigger. No tattered, shredded, or torn looking fins. Just the one clean hole that surrounded by by a raised discolored area.

Behavior: Behavior and apetite unchanged. Appears normal.
History if symptoms: The thing started as a pale spot in the middle of his tail fin that was there for months. Then it turned into a blister which stayed for about a month, and now theres a lesion, surrounded by what looks like a ring of blister. Only the one spot is affected. Its getting bigger, but slowly.

Treatments: extra stress coat.

Health history: Had swim bladder sickness once, and had Ich once. He recovered from both fine. Had some minor spinal and gill malformations when I got him from the pet store. Spine is slightly S-shaped, and one gill can't close fully.

Age: 3 years.


Tank size: 10 gallons, but only half filled, so 5 gallons effective, 2nd photo.

Temperature: between 75 and 80 F (depending on the weather)

Filter: yes, powered filter/fountain full of gravel and moss, custom made (by me), 3rd photo.

Aeration: yes, small fountain.

Heated: yes

Tankmates: lots of snails, 3 small shrimp, 1 very large (nonparasitic) leech.

Substrate: gravel, large rocks, 1 freshwater mussel shell (to help keep the snail's shells healthy), waterlogged wood (helps acidify the very basic tapwater), and lots of plants.


Food: Betta bites, sometimes a bit of frozen pea

Feeding: 1 to 2 times daily


Water changes: weekly

Percent change: 1/3

Additives: API stress coat, or API tap water conditioner

Water conditions

Ammonia: (not included on my test strips)

Nitrite: 0

Nitrate: 0

Hardness: ~140

Alkalinity: ~120

pH: ~7.4

Sorry for the low quality pics!
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:03 AM   #2 
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: California
For what it's worth, here's my number 1 recommendation to most diseases and illness upon bettas: increase temperature, add salt, daily water changes of 50%.
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:50 AM   #3 
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Join Date: Oct 2012
First, quarintine him away from his tankmates. Do not use a filter, if you have no qt, you will have to treat him in the maintank with a risk of killing your plants there. So if you have container 1g, or a cup or anything it would be great.

It looks like fin rot, mild or advanced, yes fin rot can start with pin holes, on the fin or even on the body.

Keep the temperature stable, don't let it fluctuate. 5 degrees fluctuation causes stress and makes them weaker to diseases, so please try to stabilize his temp to be around at least 77F.

Use medicine, since it seems advanced use any medicine that has an anti-biotic effect, like Myxazin, Melafix or gentian violet. Dont use your filter, if you have one as it will kill the beneficial bacteria there.

Keep his water pristine, use the instructions and dose as said on the medicine and redose everyday with a 100% water change.

After the treatment use AQ salt 1 tsp per gallon. No more than 10 days. Pre-mix the salt in the water, do not let it dissolve on it's own, it will burn the fish's eyes and gills if you do.

Keep him quarintined until fully healed.
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