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Old 06-20-2011, 03:13 AM   #1 
HarlequinBBRM
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Exclamation Finrot, biting, or sharp deco? AKA Oh Sebastion...

Sorry in advance for the whole biography of the fishy experience...

So I bought my first betta in about 10 years on friday, and everything had been going swimingly until now. I had aged the water in the tank before buying him for ~1 week only adding Prime to the water at the time. When I brought him home, I preformed a 50% water change to remove the cat fur that had mysteriously entered the tank in a way that only fur can. After acclimatizing my fish to the water temp etc. he was acting very active and normal, with no problems what so ever. He likes to play in the current the filter makes, and this pushes him down to the bottom, and I sometimes see him pressed against the tiki head statue in the tank. I only have this decoration and a large silk/fabric plant in the tank. He is eating well and just acting like a normal happy fish.

When I fed him at 5 on Sunday he looked the same as he always did. However when I came back into the room at ~12am, his dorsal fin now looks like it should belong to a crowntail instead of the rosetail/halfmoon looking ones he had before. I can't tell if the edges are dark or red as he is a black betta. Some of the tips of the fin look slightly lighter, but I don't know if this could just be because of the thinner tissue there. I had to take a picture with my phone so sorry for the crappy quality (will take another in the morning with my camera). I don't have a small cup to float him in but I do have access to an old jar if I have to treat him with salt. I also have a small betta keeper (0.7g) that I can use as well.

My theory is that he was being his silly self and rubbed against the deco, or that he played in the too strong current on the filter (which I have sinced turned off). If it is the tiki statue, would it be possible to sand the rough edges off (it is plastic btw), or would that not be feasible? When I bought it it passed the non catching test with fabric...

Any and all help will be greatly appreciated and welcomed! Just help me restore poor Sebastion to his former glory!

Here is a pic of crapy quality and also quite large size (new one soon promise!)


Area effected: Tip of dorsal fin, turned spikey, slight lightening of tissue (not as light as in pic btw)

What ever caused the damage, will his fin ever heal and be normal again?


Housing
What size is your tank? 5 gallon (Eclipse Hex)
What temperature is your tank? ~76 (room temp, will be more accurate when I get a thermometer)
Does your tank have a filter? Yes, but turned off for now as soon as I saw the fin damage until I baffle it
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? Not yet, but will be buying one soon
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Pellets (Atison's Betta Food)
How often do you feed your betta fish? 3-4 pellets twice a day

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? Will be doing 50% once a week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 50%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Prime

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? no

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Dorsal fin looking frayed in the span of a couple hours
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? None, still active and eating well
When did you start noticing the symptoms? June 20, ~12am
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Not yet, but will be buying aquarium salt tomorrow
Does your fish have any history of being ill? None that I know of (new fishy!)
How old is your fish (approximately)? Bought him on Friday, and he is quite small, so probably only a few monthes old (~4 months maybe?)
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Old 06-20-2011, 04:49 AM   #2 
Sakura8
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Hi Harlequin and welcome to the forum. And the club. Halfmoons are notorious for tailbiting - no one really knows why but all too many halfmoons owners end up posting about their guys going from halfmoon glory to punk rock spiky. Now, it is possible he got caught on the tiki statue, or if you have plastic plants, caught on those. You can sand down any rough edges on the tiki statue easily, just be sure to rinse the dust off before putting it back in. But if you have spiky plastic plants, they'll have to go. Also if you think maybe the tiki statue is to blame, you can move it away from the filter so the current doesn't push him into it. You could well be right, that he tore it trying to swim against the current while brushing against the statue.

If you've sanded the statue, all the plants are fine and he still is looking ragged but with no signs of infection (black edges, angry red stripes up his tail), then you've got yourself a tailbiter. About all you can do is put more (soft) plants in and some more hiding holes and hope that keeps him occupied. And keep the water super clean so his tail doesn't get infected and develop fin rot. In a 5g, you'll probably want to do 2 water changes a week of 50%, one with a good gravel vacuum.
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:46 AM   #3 
HarlequinBBRM
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Thank you so much for responding!

I don't think the plant is the culprit as it is not plastic. I will be building a cave for him once I get some silicone today, and I will also sand down the tiki man today. So he could just be a tail biter then? Even though it isn't his tail, but his dorsal fin? If he is one, he must be doing sone weird contortions to reach his fin...

Should I use some aquarium salt to help the fin heal? Or should I just leave him alone and just do water changes and gravel cleaning?

Thanks again!
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Old 06-20-2011, 12:31 PM   #4 
Sakura8
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For some reason, I was mainly looking at his tail in the photo so I didn't notice his dorsal as much (not to mention it was almost 2AM). Also, as soon as you said halfmoon, my mind went "tailbiter" because that's what it usually is with halfmoons. Although, you never know with bettas, if he was truly determined, he probably could reach his dorsal enough to nip the end, which would probably then grow into a big tear. But sorry about that. Err, but now you know what to look for if his tail does get ragged . . .

You're right, his dorsal is the problem area, isn't it? Parts of his tail do look a little torn but his dorsal looks like he probably rubbed it against something. Unless your filter current is super strong, I don't think that alone would rip his dorsal because if it was that strong, it would be tossing him right into the opposite side of his tank. But a combination of the two - tiki and filter - could have caused him to tear his dorsal. And all it takes is a small tear and then they usually grow into big rips just from the action of swimming and flaring.

You can use aquarium salt, 1 tsp per gallon, but if you have live plants, you'll want to put him in a quarantine container. Aquarium salt can kill your plants. Make up the salt mixture and either put him in a very small, heated tank, or you can put him in a container that you can float in his big tank to keep warm. You may need to put something over it so he doesn't keep jumping out. Do daily water changes to keep the water clean and prevent infection. As long as neither tail nor dorsal develop any black or ashy gray edges, it's not fin rot. Also keep an eye out for a loss of appetite and lethargy, as these could be signs of infection and fin rot.

If you'd prefer to wait on the salt, then keep the water clean and warm. Prime should have some ingredients in it to help stimulate fin regrowth - I know API Stress Coat does. A high protein diet will also help speed growth so feed frozen or freeze-dried bloodworms in addition to his pellets.

I hope he gets better soon, he must be stunning when he's in full flare, with that dramatic coloring of his.
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Old 06-20-2011, 12:48 PM   #5 
HarlequinBBRM
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Yeah at first I thought his tail was slightly damaged when I got him, but the pieces that looked torn actually have clear tissue between them. I will start floating him today after I get the salt then, and maybe he will view this as time-out and won't go blitzing around in the curent against the tiki man again.

(I can hope, right? )

Thanks!
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Old 06-20-2011, 05:43 PM   #6 
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they will bite any fin/tail they can reach. I have to agree, looks like you have a fin chewer on your hands. Clean water to prevent infection/rot and high protein to help regrow. If you can find out his "trigger" for biting you can try and change it, otherwise just try to keep it from getting worse.
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Old 06-20-2011, 07:40 PM   #7 
Sakura8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarlequinBBRM View Post
Yeah at first I thought his tail was slightly damaged when I got him, but the pieces that looked torn actually have clear tissue between them. I will start floating him today after I get the salt then, and maybe he will view this as time-out and won't go blitzing around in the curent against the tiki man again.

(I can hope, right? )

Thanks!
Hopefully you don't have a thrillseeker that loves wild rides in currents.
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Old 06-25-2011, 01:13 AM   #8 
HarlequinBBRM
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**update**

Okay, I'm pretty sure it was me leaving the aquarium light on for 2-3 hours that caused him to chew himself as he has not done anything else to damage his other fins, so I won't be doing that again. Now the whole upper part of his dorsal fin is lightening (almost like it's turning transparent), and two of the rays of his fin are tangled. I will try to get a picture of this tomorrow to provide more detail on the situation.

If he is not developing fin rot (which I really hope he isn't), will AQ salt help him heal? Or should I just keep doing my 2x 50% water changes in his normal tank? And will the tangled rays sort themselves out as the fin heals?

(I technically could take a pic now, but he is sleeping on a leaf and I don't want to stress him out )

Thanks again for all the help!
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Old 06-25-2011, 01:26 AM   #9 
Sakura8
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Try just the water changes, maybe using a water conditioner like Stress Coat or Prime, for now. I get the feeling moving him to a QT tank might make him bite even more.
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