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Old 11-19-2012, 09:45 AM   #1 
MisterKyte
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Extensive loss of fins (newbie here!)

I've had these fish for about four months now and I've very recently noticed some major damage to their fins. Here are some pictures of what they currently look like.




And here are some pictures of what they looked like the day after I bought them.



I'm not sure if this is ammonia poisoning or fin rot since I don't really know how to identify either so for now, I've just moved them into some infirmary bowls for the time being. Current pH is 7.2, I usually change the water about every 10 days, they eat two Betta-Bio Gold pellets in the morning and afternoon, live alone, and aside from the damage to their fins, have been as active as ever. In their old bowls, I used to have some elodea but I took it out shortly after when I noticed that the stems had started to brown.
I have noticed some very small brownish areas on my red/lav HM's tail but I haven't seen anything similar on the steel blue HM although his tail loss is much more extensive.
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:27 AM   #2 
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It looks more like fin biting to me. Fin rot is usually defined by black or red tattered edges around the affected area. Long finned Bettas can be prone to tail biting. What do their normal homes look like? Do they have lots of things to entertain them - ie decorations inside and outside the tank? Do they have plenty of hiding places? Are they in an area with a lot of activity for them to look at? Fin biting is a very difficult habit to break if it is indeed the case. Most of the time, you will not see your fish bite his tail because he will do it when he's alone and bored.
My boy is a fin biter and he's even worse right now because he's dealing with a swim bladder issue and his tail gets in his way constantly, so he bites it.
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:56 AM   #3 
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In their old bowls they mostly just had the elodea stems and some driftwood decorations until I pulled out the elodea. Their bowls are also close enough to one another so they can kind of face off with each other too. Their bowls are also on the kitchen table so there's generally a decent amount of foot traffic and people watching them to keep them busy I would assume? I suppose I should probably find some more decorations for them to utilize since the current ones I have in their old homes don't really provide many areas to hide in then??
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:39 AM   #4 
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How big are their bowls and are they heated? Cramped conditions and cold water can stress them and cause them to tail bite. The general rule for all fish is a minimum of 1 gallon per inch of fish, so if your fish are 2 inches long, you should have a minimum of a 2 gallon tank for each of them. Bigger tanks also equal less maintenance.
If they are facing off with each other often, that can cause fin tearing, but yours look more like they are biting. But being in constant view of each other can cause stress and tail biting though.
And yes, definitely more decorations, big leafy plants are perfect, but if you get plastic ones, make sure they pass the pantyhose test - rub pantyhose all over the plant, if it snags at all, it is too sharp for your bettas and will cause their fins to snag and tear. Silk plants are good, live are better.
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:19 PM   #5 
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I think the larger of my bowls is 3 gallons and the smaller one is 2 although I'm not entirely sure. The water is just kept at room temperatures and I don't have any sort of heating for it.
I would like to add some live plants back into the bowls but since the elodea started dying I'm thinking we don't have enough light for that. Do the LED lights help keep plants alive or are they just for appearance?
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:08 PM   #6 
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You can get small heaters for them. A small 10watt heater would be ideal for those size tanks. The preferred temperature range for Bettas is 76-82. Most people keep their tanks at 78 or 80 (mine are at 78).
Most plants don't do well with LEDs but there are some that do. I've had really good luck with the Lilly bulbs that I got at Wal-Mart. The other plants that I bought already alive and then planted are either dead or dying. I bought some other bulbs a week ago (Can't remember what they are called) and only one of them is sprouting so far. But again, the Lilly plants are thriving and my fish love them.
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:48 PM   #7 
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i had a delta with beautiful webbed fins when i bought him from his tiny container at an LFS. Within two months of putting him in a divided 10-gal, he was shredded. Looks a lot like these pics. Not really any signs of rot, a lot of people here concluded tail biting. The webbing grows back somewhat, and then it "shreds out" again, in a cycle. The fish's health is otherwise fine.. I think some of these guys are just prone to tail biting.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:00 PM   #8 
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Sadly, many of these longer finned bettas will bite off their own fins, as they are heavy and cause a lot of drag when they swim. Most of the time you won't be able to stop them, just have to let them do it for their own comfort.
Side effect of breeding large fins..
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Old 11-20-2012, 01:21 PM   #9 
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Wow, thanks for all the replies! I'm planning on going to pick up some more decorations/plants for them to spruce up their bowls and hopefully ameliorate their apparent boredom. It's unfortunate that the larger fins lead to tail biting, I may rethink purchasing HMs again despite the fact that I really enjoy them...

As for heaters, are they're any particular brands I should be looking for? I keep a lot of reptiles so I can easily understand the importance of proper heating however, I am operating on a little bit of a budget at the moment so I can't have anything that really tears into my wallet.
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