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Old 02-09-2013, 02:13 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Oct 2012
My Betta is biting off his tail

What size is your tank? 3g
What temperature is your tank? 77 F
Does your tank have a filter? Yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Yes but it is off
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? Mystery Snail

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Flake (he won't eat pellets)
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2x (morning/night)

How often do you perform a water change? Once a week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? Around 50%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? API Stress Coat

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? Not since I changed the water yesterday

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Yes
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Yes
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Two months ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? A Tiny bit extra API Stress Coat
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Yes
How old is your fish (approximately)? 2-3 years?

Hello Everyone,

I purchased a Betta fish in September/October of last year. He got sick a lot for about a month on and off but the lovely people here helped (thanks!!). Ever since then, he has not gotten sick that I can see. He seems to be happy and healthy (swimming around, building bubble nests) except...

After he got all better, he started biting his tail off. It is now February and he still continues to bite his tail off. I cannot even begin to fathom why he would bite his own tail off. I notice he is doing this every time I clean the tank/do a water exchange. Since I do this about once a week it never has time to regrow. I've waited 3 weeks once before changing the water, but had to clean it out. His tail was growing back but sure enough, he bit it off after i changed it.

Whenever I test my water, everything checks out. I have tried putting new decorations in just in case he was bored. Can someone please help?
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Old 02-09-2013, 02:27 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Can you please share photos?

What kit are you using to test your water? What is the current ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels?

What pellets have you tried to feed? Have you tried New Life Spectrum or Omega One? I would not feed flakes in a bowl this small because ammonia builds up quickly.

What filter are you using and how do you maintain it?

In something this small it is very difficult to maintain a biofilter. Most people will tell you that you will always need a 100% change weekly, but you can try to cycle it and you may be able to cut eventually cut back to biweekly 50% with siphon but it takes up to 2 months to complete and during this time you should be testing daily for ammonia and nitrite using a reliable drops kit and doing an extra 50% change any time you see either show.
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Old 02-09-2013, 02:41 PM   #3 
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Unfortunately I only have my cell phone camera right now and it doesn't take good pictures. However, I do see him physically biting his tail off. There are no signs of infections, fin rot, or any other kind of disease that you could see from the outside.

I take my water to Petsmart and use whatever kit they do there for free. I have not been able to make it to the store yet recently since I changed the water. The kits always show my water levels being fine.

I have tried and wasted my money on about 4 types of pellets (or more, I lost count). I am not sure how much more money I want to waste. I forgot to mention I feed it thawed bloodworms as well as flakes. I make sure to only feed my fish just enough to eat all and if not most so extra is usually never a problem.

I am using the filter that came with my tank: a whisper 1-3gal filter. I replace the cartridges about once every 1-2 weeks.

His tail biting has been going on for months now. As I mentioned before, this only happens after I change his water. I am afraid if I change my water 100% or change it even more, then it will only get worse.
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Old 02-09-2013, 02:50 PM   #4 
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Petsmart are not a reliable source for water testing. They usually use unreliable strips and consider unacceptable levels of ammonia and nitrites as being ok or normal.

There are a lot of crappy pellets out there. If you haven't tried the ones I suggested I would do that. I would also fast him several days prior to introducing him.

Every time you replace all the media in your filter you completely destroy your biofilter and restart your cycle. You should never replace more than one piece of media monthly. What type of media are in your filter? Does it have a sponge and a bag? The sponge only needs to be placed yearly and the bag needs to be replaced only monthly. If you only have one type of media in your filter, this discussion also applies to you:

With the way you are maintaining your filter there is no way you don't have an ammonia problem by now. Definitely needs more changes. If you change the water the way I described your fish shouldn't freak out. Stress coat at 1 ml per 1 gallon, vitachem and IAL can also help with stress related biting.

Last edited by callistra; 02-09-2013 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 02-09-2013, 02:56 PM   #5 
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Thank you Callistra. I will try doing what you suggested.

I thought it had something to do with when I changed my water. I didn't change the water for about 3 weeks one time, and his tail started growing back. As soon as I changed it, then he bit it off again. I will start doing 100% water changes then cut back to 50%. It still doesn't make sense to me if he only bites it when I change the water, but I would like my guy to stop so I will try it out.
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