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Old 03-29-2013, 11:18 PM   #1 
capnspaz
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Betta newb needs help with tail biting.

Let me preface this by saying: I have to admit that although I did some research before getting my fish, the pet store let me walk out the door with an inadequate setup. Since then I've been reading the forum, learning more, and doing my best to improve my boy's life. If I'm doing something horrible, I assure you I'm more than willing to fix it!


So... I've had him for about four weeks.
Two weeks ago I noticed he had bitten his tail a little, but he otherwise seemed healthy. His tank doesn't have a filter, so I thought maybe an airstone would help.
About one week ago I got a tiny airstone, and I have it on the absolute lowest setting, so as not to disturb him.
But in the past few days since setting it up, he has started completely destroying his tail! I've read a lot of different info about this so I'm not sure what's driving him to do it.
I'd like to know what the likely cause is, and how to help him heal.

Thank you!!

Housing
What size is your tank? Between 1-2 gal (I'm in the process of finding a larger one)
What temperature is your tank? Upper 70s
Does your tank have a filter? No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Small airstone
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Flakes
How often do you feed your betta fish? About every other day. (I've read a lot of conflicting information about how often to feed him. Could this be the problem?)

Maintenance

I've changed his water about once a week since getting him. Most recently I changed around 50%


Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Tail is chewed up!
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? I haven't noticed a behaviour change. Then again, I'm still a newb and might not notice subtle changes.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? It started getting bad in the past 2-3 days.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? I don't know how. :(
Does your fish have any history of being ill? N/A
How old is your fish (approximately)? Not sure. I've had him about four weeks.

Last edited by capnspaz; 03-29-2013 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 03-30-2013, 12:20 AM   #2 
LittleBlueFishlets
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Hi, and welcome to the forum! Many of us have been in the same pet store situation. Good for you, for wanting to give your little guy a good home.

They bite their tails for a lot of reasons. A few things that I noticed in your writeup:
  • I recommend increasing your water changes. A very knowledgeable person on this forum has recommended that a nonfiltered 1-2 gal tank get one 100% and one 50% water change per week.
  • Your water temp is good. Upper 70s is perfect.
  • Read the ingredients on your flake food. If grains (soybean, corn, wheat, etc) appear early on in the ingredient list, this can cause stomach issues, such as constipation and bloating.
  • I find flakes to be messy, and any leftover bits can contribute to poor water quality. I feed my guys pellets. On this forum, two foods are often recommended: New Life Spectrum pellets and Omega One Betta Buffet pellets.
  • I would definitely feed more often. There are varying recommendations on feeding, but I think that almost everyone on this forum will agree that they need several pellets every day. (Some people fast their fish one day per week, others don't.)

Are you sure it's tail biting, and not fin rot? Tail biting often results in U-shaped chunks being removed. Fin rot often has discolored or dark edges.

I have a tail biter. I've found that if I give him a regular routine, feed him a high quality protein food (several pellets, twice per day), keep his water very clean and at a temperature he 'prefers', and keep him entertained by interacting with him, then he usually leaves his tail alone. (Yes, I said usually. )

Last edited by LittleBlueFishlets; 03-30-2013 at 12:24 AM.
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Old 03-30-2013, 01:37 AM   #3 
capnspaz
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Thanks for the tips! I did investigate the possibility of fin rot but it looks to me like biting. I'll definitely keep a close eye on it, though.

I can increase his changings and feedings like you suggested. How will I know if it works -- how long does it usually take for fins to heal?

Also... do you think the airstone could be contributing? I turned it off today just to be safe.
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Old 03-30-2013, 07:20 AM   #4 
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Each fish is different. You may just have to try altering conditions awhile. It could be stress, boredom, water temp, tank size, lighting, food (amount or brand), number or type of decorations, flow from an airstone or filter, etc. Some fish stop eventually, others don't.....

As for new regrowth, you should start to see white or transparent edges appearing on the tips. Keeping the water clean will help prevent infection as it heals.
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:51 AM   #5 
capnspaz
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Thanks for your help. Myself and Ralis appreciate it. :)
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