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Old 06-04-2013, 06:42 PM   #1 
SatsukiYY
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Location: Osaka, Japan
Unhappy Betta biting his own fins?

Hi folks. My 5 months old VT betta lives in a 4 g sufficiently planted tank shared with 3 amano shrimps, temperature around 80 F, 15+ hrs lighting each day, with bubbler and filter(I set it so that it makes only SMALL water flow). I added gravel and did an almost 3/4 water change four days ago then I noticed my betta had some slight tail/fin rotting problems after the water change. Since my gravel is made of natural mud or something and absorbs drug particles I insulated my betta fish in a plastic bag, which you often get from a pet fish shop when you are getting new fish. I hung the bag at the brim of the tank so it's floating in the tank, and I treated the fish with the Japanese yellow powder drug. I did a 1/3 water change once in the tank and a 1/2 water change every day in the plastic bag in the following two days and his tail/fins were significantly recovering. But just yesterday I noticed that he began biting his own tail tip, and after I decided that he didn't need the drug treatment anymore and put him back into the tank he tore nearly all his long dorsal fin off and practically devoured it. After that he was flaring and boasting around the tank as if he had beaten another betta up! I read other threads about betta biting their own tails and I'm sure he just picked up this bad habit while confined in the small plastic bag. But now that he's back to his 'big' tank and can be quite entertained by the plants I don't know why nothing is changed. And he doesn't seem to be much 'stressed' to me judged from the way he fools around his tank. Now he is still swimming in circles sometimes trying to reach to his own tail tip. If this continues then his tail and fins are never going to be fully recovered. Any tips as how I can improve the environment to prevent him from biting his tail?
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:57 PM   #2 
SatsukiYY
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BTW how he looked before all this happened and the tank setup. Now he looks so sorry with broken fins and tail T.T
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:06 PM   #3 
AyalaCookiejar
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I have personally never had a tail biter but I've heard many stories. I am going to be honest here - some people have found ways to stop the tail biting and some never find ways. It's really the individual Betta so I can't tell you what will work and what won't (if anything). Most people try turning down the filter first or baffling it. If this does not work, move around some decor or something. If he's too busy being curious about new changes, he might not touch his tail (however, this might make the tail biting worse - who knows). I know a member who has gotten her tail biter to stop tail biting by putting him in a 2 gallon tank and decorating it VERY lightly. She doesn't like it but he seems perfectly content in his little bare tank.



However, to be honest, he may just have found out that it's much easier to swim without a long, heavy tail and he might just keep chopping it off no matter what you do. It does not bother him - only you. If you keep the tank clean then you don't have to worry about fin rot. My sorority girls always get nips and I've never seen any rot. If you can't find a way to get him to stop, you might just have to deal with it. As long as his water is clean, nothing bad will develop from it.
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:01 PM   #4 
SatsukiYY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AyalaCookiejar View Post
I have personally never had a tail biter but I've heard many stories. I am going to be honest here - some people have found ways to stop the tail biting and some never find ways. It's really the individual Betta so I can't tell you what will work and what won't (if anything). Most people try turning down the filter first or baffling it. If this does not work, move around some decor or something. If he's too busy being curious about new changes, he might not touch his tail (however, this might make the tail biting worse - who knows). I know a member who has gotten her tail biter to stop tail biting by putting him in a 2 gallon tank and decorating it VERY lightly. She doesn't like it but he seems perfectly content in his little bare tank.



However, to be honest, he may just have found out that it's much easier to swim without a long, heavy tail and he might just keep chopping it off no matter what you do. It does not bother him - only you. If you keep the tank clean then you don't have to worry about fin rot. My sorority girls always get nips and I've never seen any rot. If you can't find a way to get him to stop, you might just have to deal with it. As long as his water is clean, nothing bad will develop from it.
Thank you for the reply ^^. I guess it's just a really bad habit and once the fish picks it up it's hard to get rid of it. Now I believe the water is clean enough to not trigger infection but I'm afraid if he keeps biting there will be infection in the wound eventually. Should I add some aquarium salt? I heard it could help prevent infection.
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:35 PM   #5 
AyalaCookiejar
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I wouldn't add AQ salt. I recently had a female jump and hit the hood of my sorority tank and rip off 2/3 of her dorsal fin, plus some of the skin on her back. No kidding, there was a huge open sore on her back that was bleeding. I did not treat her, nor remove her from the sorority. The water is warm and clean. I did add some stress coat and I use vitachem in all my tanks, though. Her wound is healing very nicely without AQ salt and if you are familiar with fin rot, it is MUCH more dangerous if it reaches the body and is not just on the fins. I deal with fin nips all the time. My girl Mercy has been missing a chunk of her caudal fin since I got her because it always gets nipped again when it begins healing. No stress coat or anything, she's still fine.

It is still possible to attempt to find a way to get him to stop tail biting by continuing to switch things up but there's no guarantees. However, tail biting wont put him at greater risk of becoming ill. It will just increase his chances of rot, which is 0% if your water is clean.
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