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Old 09-25-2014, 01:36 PM   #1 
MadtownD
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Input needed! Fin biting? Columnaris? Help.

Background: We’ve had the betta for about a month, which we got as my 8-year old’s ‘my easy first pet’. It has been far more work than I bargained for, and I’m (deeply frustrated but) grateful to have this forum to help me out.

Our setup: Veiltail betta, a very active guy, frequently glass-surfing at the rear of the tank. A 5.5g, filtered, heated aquarium with 50% water changes weekly, using Stress Coat as treatment. Only silk plants; filter baffled with cut plastic water bottle. Our water parameters have always been great (I've brought it in to be tested at least weekly), and the temperature 76-80 degrees. We feed 5 pellets of Hikari bio-gold once a day.

About two weeks ago, I started noticing some white edges on his fins. Then, overnight last week, he lost a chunk of his caudal and dorsal fins (not the anal fin), and the edges of both became quite ragged (previous post w before and after pics: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=461762). I suspected fin rot, but it didn’t really look like it, and a forum member here suggested possible fin biting? Two fish store employees suggested the intake on the filter might have caught it.

Steps taken: I brought the water in to be tested the day his fins got bad, and it looked great (0 ammonia and 0 nitrites). I have bumped him up to two 50% water changes weekly, and added 1tbsp aquarium salt per 5g (replacing as needed with each water change). I have increased his tank temperature so it’s between 78-80 degrees. I baffled the intake for the filter with aquarium foam in case it was the filter intake.

Since then the edges seem to maybe have become more jagged, I'm honestly not sure, but not more big chunks out. Columnaris maybe? I don’t see any white anywhere else on his body, though. Filter intake damage, and it just needs to heal? Or fin biting with amazing reach across the dorsal fin?

Should I just treat with Betta Revive, in case it’s something non-mechanical (that is, not filter damage or fin biting but rather fin rot or columnaris)?

Should I switch him to a smaller/emptier environment to see if maybe it's ripping on something in the tank, or if he's stressed by the size of the tank or something?

Keep up the salt (or stop the salt, since it's been a week), and just see if it gets worse?

Please see pics. I apologize that there are so many and this is so long, but one thing I’ve learned is that it’s dang hard to get good fin pictures of bettas! I also took one of the tank in case it’s helpful.

Thanks in advance for your help!
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Last edited by MadtownD; 09-25-2014 at 01:39 PM.
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Old 09-25-2014, 02:19 PM   #2 
VivianKJean
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it is definitely not Columnaris.

It does look like fin biting and not fin rot.

Unfortunately there are a million reasons why bettas bit their fins.
- often bettas like long and/or big fins will bite them because they are heavy and make it hard for him to swim
- he is bored. so you can add different decor or rearrange some decor. You can also have your 8 year old entertain him a bit (more about this below)
- he is stressed. so you can add more plants or another cave
- he isn't getting enough protein in his diet. the pellets you are using are actually not great and are high in fillers. Omega One Betta Buffet or New Life Spectrum Betta Formula, All Purpose Formula, Small Fish Formula Pellets are good choices. Also frozen (not freeze dried) bloodworms or beef heart is a good few days a week treat.

I am so sorry that you are frustrated with your betta. Bettas can be difficult and they are a lot of hard work. You are doing everything right though. You are giving him his best chance.

A fun way to get your child involved is to have them play with him a bit. Teach your child to slowly move their finger back and forth in front of him and see if he follows it. Also you can show your child how to wet their finger and attach a pellet to it, then have him hold it over your fish right above the water line and have him jump for the pellet.

Last edited by VivianKJean; 09-25-2014 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 09-26-2014, 08:55 PM   #3 
MadtownD
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Thanks for the response and ideas. Really, they can reach all the way to dorsal fin and bite it?? That's impressive!

Also, I noticed a strange kind of spot behind his eye and another on his gill. I couldn't get a picture but it looks almost exactly like this pic that I found online (which is not our fish, but looks just like him - except for the chunks of missing fin and shredded fin edges we've got).

Is that just normal?

I'll try adding a cave. The ones at the store all had sharp internal edges, so I'm going to need to get creative. Please let me know if you have any cheap options that are safe. And I'll pick up the New Life Spectrum betta pellets.

He definitely acts stressed, often, since we first got him. If glass surfing and very active indicate stress. But he didn't start with the fin biting until about 3 weeks into ownership, and it wasn't during the day but overnight. Just odd.

So if we go with fin biting-
-is there any chance he's not getting enough food? We're doing 5 pellets of the Hikari a day.
- should I stop the aquarium salt (it's been about a week), or keep it up to prevent secondary infection?
- keep treating with double the Stress Coat each water change toward facilitating healing?

Thanks again. It's just hard having an unhappy and continually worsening creature in the house, despite my best efforts. Appreciate the encouragement.
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Old 09-26-2014, 09:29 PM   #4 
VivianKJean
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If you can't get a photo of your fish there is no way for us to tell if it is normal or not, sorry! online photos of other fish do not help us.

its not that he isn't getting enough food, its that there isn't enough protein in their diet. in addition to the New Life Spectrum pellets, you should get some frozen blood worms to give to him as treats.

Stop the AQ salt! you cannot use it for more than 10 days because it will stress the kidneys out.

yes, you can continue with the stress coat.
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Old 09-27-2014, 03:12 PM   #5 
MadtownD
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Makes sense! I'll work on getting a pic. Did a 50% water change to start removing the salt, thanks for the info that it was time to do that.
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