My halfmoon's fins aren't healing, and I don't know what to do about it. I made the mistake about a month and a half ago of getting some ghost shrimp to keep him company in his 5 gallon. They basically munched away half his tail and dorsal fins overnight. Now I have what seems to be permanently mangled betta (his name is Darcy, after Jane Austen's character, by the way). Here are a couple of pictures of the damage, please excuse the terrible quality, my camera sucks:
For comparison, a "before" photo:
Pretty bad, am I right? He got a bit of fin rot right after the accident, which (I think) was fixed by putting salt in his tank for a week or so. But now his fins aren't growing back, and I don't know why. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and he's showing what appear to be stress stripes as well. I do bi-weekly water changes of 75%, or weekly 50% changes, depending on how busy I am during a given week. The tank is fully cycled, no ammonia or nitrites. It is also heated to 80-82 degrees, and filtered 24/7. So, any ideas on how to speed up the healing process to a visible level?
I use a gravel vac every time I clean his tank. The water is as clean as it's ever going to be, but I'll try harder to do a 50% change every week if you think it's going to help.
As for the tailbiting, I considered the possibility that that could be what's keeping him from healing, but I've never actually seen him have a go at his fins. Pretty sure the shrimp are what caused the initial shredding, though.
How large is your tank? If it's fully cycled I would NOT be doing 25% water changes everyday. That's crazy. The bacteria needs ammonia to live. No ammonia, no bacteria. No bacteria, no cycle. Depending on how large the tank is will give you a clue as to how often you should be changing the water. OFL recommends 50% changes every week for cycled tanks, but that can be somewhat debatable. Just make sure to use the gravel vac every time you clean the tank and get in all the hard to reach places.
I don't think shrimp are going to chew their tails off. I think it's him biting it himself. You won't see them do it. I usually go away for a weekend and come home and find a shredded tail on my VT. Or it'll happen over night. The shrimp might be stressing him out, have you taken them out, or are they still living with him? Fins can take a while to regrow. Something like that you're probably looking at a couple months until he's somewhat back to normal. Just feed a high protein diet, I recommend Omega One or New Life Spectrum pellets and some frozen food such as bloodworms, brine shrimp or daphnia. Make sure his water is warm, between 76-82, preferably at 79-80 degrees. Ass some extra Stress Coat to his water at each water change to keep his slime coat in well working order, too.
It's a fully cycled 5 gallon rectangular. The gravel gets a thorough vacuuming every time I clean the tank, as I stated in an earlier post. The shrimp were moved to my brother's community tank the day after Darcy's fins got shredded.
I wasn't aware that betta fish are capable of damaging themselves to that extent overnight. Perhaps you're right. Why would he only bite himself when I'm not looking, though? Is there anything I can do to prevent it, besides staring at him for the rest of his life? :P
Well, I don't know why we don't see it. And usually once they start doing it then generally don't stop. Only thing we can do as good betta mommys and daddys is make them comfortable. I suggest lots of plants, live or silk plants. No plastic. Lots of hiding holes such as logs or terra cotta pots, something of the sort. Give stimulation during the day. Spend some time, 10-15 minutes with him. Teach him to follow your finger or eat off a stick or something. Keep him entertained. You could also try moving his tank to a more populated area of the house, such as the kitchen or living room. You really don't need medication unless rot or infection occurs. Just feed a high protein diet, and some clean warm water will do the trick :)
Get him out of the big tank put him In a good size container and add 1 IAL that will fix him right up. I hate it when things like this happens to a good looking Betta that's why I only like shortail Bettas and wild Bettas cause im scared things like this might happen
I suppose he's just bored, then. When the fin rot set it about a month ago, I took out his driftwood and java fern to make it easier to gravel vac the water. So in other words, his tank is completely empty at the moment. Poor guy. I feel bad now. I'll put in a pot and some silk plants for the moment so he has something to look at. Still trying to cure the java fern of algae before putting it back.
As for the IAL, I live in Canada, do you guys think that I'll be able to get it here? Also, would brighter lighting help him, do you think? I took off his tank light when I moved the java fern, so he hasn't been getting any direct light for a while now. Just diffused sunlight from the window in my room (so it's pretty dark).
You usually have to buy IAL online. I think a lot of users here buy from ebay, but I don't use it so I'm not sure.
As for the decorations, definetly put something back in there for him. When bettas get stressed they want to hide. And since he can't hide he's probably pretty stressed out. I wouldn't put the light on him all day right away. On for a little while, like 4 hrs and then turn it off. Just so he isn't sitting in a light all day after not having one for a while.