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Old 11-11-2010, 01:01 PM   #1 
celine18
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Exclamation Sams tail is melting!!!

so i got up this morning and came in to check on sam, and i find this!!!




for comparison, here's what he looked like 3 days ago:




his poor tail is absolutely destroyed!!! *also, i just went to look at him, and he looks even worse now, or maybe i'm being paranoid* my friend's bringing over her dslr (?) camera so i can get a better picture of the carnage. here's the details of his home, any help would be greatly appreciated!!!! thank you for looking!

*please note the "previous illness" section. he has recently been treated with aquarium salt, so please keep that in mind*

Housing
What size is your tank? 1.5 gal
What temperature is your tank? 75*
Does your tank have a filter? no
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no
Is your tank heated? yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? none
(i am currently working on getting a 10 gal up and cycled, but it's not cooperating, so it'll most likely be another week or two)

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? topfin color enhancing betta bits & frozen blood worms
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2 times daily
(due to his recent tail nastyness i've been feeding him blood worms at least once a day to try and keep him healthy)

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? 2x week (yes, not good. but he has a marimo & wisteria, so i'm not too concerned)
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100% on weekends & 50% in middle of week (sometimes)
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? API tap water conditioner

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

......i don't wanna tell y'all.......they're bad. strange, cause i just gave him a 100% sunday.....guess i have no choice. i feel like a bad mama now...

Ammonia: .5
Nitrite: 2.0
Nitrate: 5.0 (hows that possible??? mini cycle?)
pH: 7.5
Hardness: no clue. i had tank/cycling water (not his home) tested last week at petsmart and it was 200
Alkalinity: also not his home, but tank, tested at petsmart, 80

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? the tissue between the rays has melted away, looks stringy and ratty
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? seems fairly normal, maybe swimming a bit erratically, but overall ok. he ate his blood worm with gusteau as usual. he worked on his bubble nest last night. he's also flaring more than usual
When did you start noticing the symptoms? this morning
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? no
Does your fish have any history of being ill? on about the 23-24th of october i noticed his fins were looking ratty (similar to currently, but not quite as bad) so on the 25th i started an api aquarium salt regime (1/2 tsp per gallon) until the 31st. his fins seemed to get a tad bit better, and he was fine all last week. he's also been biting on his tail some this past week
How old is your fish (approximately)? idk, i've had him about a month and a half

so he's deffinetly getting a 100% wc today, i mainly need to know, should i add anything? thanks again for any advice.
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:08 PM   #2 
bettablue
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do you have any sharp decorations in ur tank like plastic plants? I may be wrong but to me I think he just snagged his fins on something in the tank...
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:12 PM   #3 
Adastra
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It's very apparent that your fish is biting his own tail, and from the before picture, it looks as if this hasn't been the first time. The clear parts at the edges of his fin in the before picture are where fin has re-grown after trauma and has not had time to gain color yet. Fish bite themselves for many reasons--often is a reaction to stress from poor water quality, temperature fluctuations, hunger, exposure to another betta, rapid changes in water parameters, etc.

Generally they stop doing it once the stressor that triggers the behavior has been pinpointed and removed. There is a possibility that your fish will continue to bite himself over the course of his life and you will just have to do your best to manage it by keeping the water clean and minimizing stress in his environment.

The most important thing is to keep his water as clean as possible so that the wounds don't get infected. You should be giving the tank a 100% water change every other day. The plants obviously are not helping his water parameters, the test alone should be enough to convince you that your water changing routine is just not going to cut the mustard. The only acceptable amount of ammonia and nitrite are 0. Luckily, maintaining his tank will be super easy once your 10 gallon has finished cycling.

Last edited by Adastra; 11-11-2010 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:20 PM   #4 
celine18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bettablue View Post
do you have any sharp decorations in ur tank like plastic plants? I may be wrong but to me I think he just snagged his fins on something in the tank...
there's only live plants and some non-pointy roman collum things, so thats not it
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:23 PM   #5 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adastra View Post
It's very apparent that your fish is biting his own tail, and from the before picture, it looks as if this hasn't been the first time. The clear parts at the edges of his fin in the before picture are where fin has re-grown after trauma and has not had time to gain color yet. Fish bite themselves for many reasons--often is a reaction to stress from poor water quality, temperature fluctuations, hunger, exposure to another betta, rapid changes in water parameters, etc.

Generally they stop doing it once the stressor that triggers the behavior has been pinpointed and removed. There is a possibility that your fish will continue to bite himself over the course of his life and you will just have to do your best to manage it by keeping the water clean and minimizing stress in his environment.

The most important thing is to keep his water as clean as possible so that the wounds don't get infected. You should be giving the tank a 100% water change every other day. The plants obviously are not helping his water parameters, the test alone should be enough to convince you that your water changing routine is just not going to cut the mustard. The only acceptable amount of ammonia and nitrite are 0. Luckily, maintaining his tank will be super easy once your 10 gallon has finished cycling.

thanks for the reply, yes, i do agree that water quality might be causing this, so i will be much more diligent with wcs from now on. but if you look, it doesn't look like biting. theres not chunks missing, its just become stringy. he's bitten his tail before, and it didn't look like this, so i'm not so sure if that's the cause here. but still, should i put salt in there? and how much???
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:27 PM   #6 
Adastra
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Actually that's an extremely common tail biting pattern. Some fish tear large chunks, but your boy is a more delicate biter that prefers to just nibble in between the rays. There's no way he could've torn the fin on something and left all the rays intact. There's no disease that will only eat the web and leave the rays untouched. The only thing that could do that is your fish picking and choosing where to bite himself. :)

Salt is optional. The general dose is 1 tbsp per 5 gallons, but I tend to go a bit under that if I choose to use it at all. You will only need to use the salt for about a week, it's best not to use it for more than 10 days or so. Remember to pre-dissolve it and pour it in in increments over the course of about 20 minutes.

Last edited by Adastra; 11-11-2010 at 01:29 PM.
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Old 11-11-2010, 02:50 PM   #7 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adastra View Post
Actually that's an extremely common tail biting pattern. Some fish tear large chunks, but your boy is a more delicate biter that prefers to just nibble in between the rays. There's no way he could've torn the fin on something and left all the rays intact. There's no disease that will only eat the web and leave the rays untouched. The only thing that could do that is your fish picking and choosing where to bite himself. :)
Yep - Adastra's right. One of my bettas was a tail-chomper and his tail looked exactly like yours. I tried a bunch of things to try and stop this behavior, including feeding different foods, reducing the filter flow, and putting things in his tank for him to distract himself with (betta log, ping pong ball, etc).

He stopped tailbiting when I divided his tank for another betta. He was so busy flaring at and spying on the other betta that he forgot to chomp on his tail. :)

Good luck!
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Old 11-11-2010, 03:41 PM   #8 
celine18
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great, thanks you guys!! its encouraging that it's only tail biting, it was worried it'd be something worse like fin rot, so i feel like i've dodged a bullet, haha. i changed his water, and added 3/4 tsp per gallon, so i'll have to see how that works out. and i'll be sure to do every other day changes, which'll be easier with the weekend coming up.

fermin, i'm glad to hear that your guy's doing better! that's a strange way to fix tail biting, lol, but if it works...
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Old 11-11-2010, 03:46 PM   #9 
Adastra
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Some fish do it out of boredom, so in some cases adding more enrichment to their environment can be helpful. However, you should only try adding things to entertain your betta once you've eliminated stress as a trigger for his tail biting. If your fish is really stressed out and you add another fish or a bunch of new stuff to his tank, you could very easily make the situation worse, so you just have to use your judgment. :)
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