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Old 12-30-2012, 02:23 PM   #1 
Leopardfire
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What is causing my betta's fin rot?

I recently cycled my 20 gallon long tank and I put in 3 albino cories, 6 rasboras, and my betta Comet. Soon afterwards, my rasboras started dying but the other fish seemed fine.

I went on a 5 day vacation over Christmas and when I got back, Comet had terrible fin rot. He had just gotten over severe fin rot before and his HM tail had grown back almost completely. Now he looks worse than and I have no idea what caused it.

I tested the water with the API test kit and here's what I got:
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: >5ppm
PH: 8.2 ppm
Hardness: 180ppm (highest my kit went up to so it could be higher)

Everything seemed normal so what could be causing my betta's terrible fin rot? (and the death of my rasboras) Comet is in bottled spring water with 2tsp salt per gallon and stress coat right now for treatment. Here's some pics so you can see what happened to his tail.



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Old 12-30-2012, 02:49 PM   #2 
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I could have sworn I commended on this thread last night.. hmm... Oh right here: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=124036

If you never saw any nitrites at all and you only got up to 5 nitrates dosing 3 ppm ammonia then you didn't complete the cycle. Even when I've used live bacteria starters you still see some nitrites spie and then after a few days my nitrates went like off the chart. I mean right now it seems to have been completed... since it's been up 1.5months and 3 weeks with fish, what I'm guessing happened with that is you started the cycle but finished it fish in without testing daily and so you missed the spikes that caused the issues you had.. Also when dosing with pure ammonia what you want to do is do pretty much a 100% water change (I wouldn't rinse the gravel but I'd remove right down to the gravel) before introducing your fish. Did you do this? Also what was the brand of ammonia? Ace Hardware? When you shook the ammonia did it bubble at all?

Also you've gone 3 weeks without a water change.. that's another reason why you had issues like this. You need 25% weekly, in addition to whatever should have happened in the interim. There's other things in your water making it a problem for fish that you're not testing for and when you go so long without changing. At this point.. I do a series of 3 50% water changes over the next few days to catch you up to clean water. This includes using a siphon to vacuum the gravel (should be every time you make the change). Unless.. if you never did that 90% change when cycling with pure ammonia, do that now. Also I would run carbon if you can for 24 hours to make sure no chems got missed in the ammonia. Ace Hardware is safe.. there are few others I know of pure sources like that.

You use bottled spring water? Like from petco for bettas? Or the grocery store? Bottled spring water is usually RO water(unless we're talking petco then idk what it is) and that cannot be used straight up without treatment.. You need kh buffers and equilibrium or kent's ro right to use straight up bottled water. For one thing the ph is usually far too acidic to keep fish alive in.. it also lacks electrolytes to keep fish alive as well. Why aren't you using tap?

Last edited by callistra; 12-30-2012 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 12-31-2012, 06:51 PM   #3 
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For my betta's treatment I am using bottled spring water from wall mart. I thought that if it said spring water instead of RO or ionized water it was good for bettas. I'm not using my tap because it has 1ppm ammonia in it so that would only make his fin rot worse. (I tested it with the API test kit)

My tap water will also cause an ammonia spike in my tank if I do a huge water change which is why I'm reluctant to do more than 25% at a time. I never did a water change after cycling but I"m pretty certain my tank is cycled since the ammonia has stayed at 0. (I used Ace Hardware ammonia.) Maybe the live plants are absorbing the nitrates and that's why they're so low.

Anyway my main question on this thread was if there are other things that commonly cause fin rot besides ammonia that I should test for. I will certainly do a water change on the 20 gallon but are there certain minerals that are known to be bad or something?
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Old 12-31-2012, 06:56 PM   #4 
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Just because they call it spring water doesn't mean it is. There are a lot of places calling ro water spring water - don't ask me why. Highly doubt that water is fish safe.. ph, gh, and kh would need to be tested to be sure... and coming off your regular tap water could be a HUGE change and I'd be worried about osmosis shock.

Mal nutrition and poor water quality - as in lacking minerals and electrolytes can cause fins to be thin and brittle and have similar issues to rot.
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Old 12-31-2012, 07:01 PM   #5 
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1ppm of ammonia should be easily removed by a cycled filter in 24 hours. The tap water should work considering you have a ammonia detoxifying conditioner like prime.
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Old 12-31-2012, 07:07 PM   #6 
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I'm going to move my betta to petsmart water for his treatment tomorrow. He's been sick so much that I really want to give him the right things so he can get better.

Also I have a 7.5 watt heater for my 1.5 gallon QT tank but since it's super cold now, the tank is staying at 72 degrees which is too cold for him. Do you think that I should get another small heater and if I do how many watts should it be?
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Old 12-31-2012, 07:15 PM   #7 
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I've always been afraid of those preset heaters so I don't have any experience with them.. I know if your QT is acrylic you can float it in the larger tank to keep it warmer..

If your tap water has that much ammonia in it then every time you do a water change he's subjected to ammonia for at least several hours until your tank process it.. maybe that can cause rot. IDK. I dont have any personal experience with ammonia in tap.
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Old 12-31-2012, 09:18 PM   #8 
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Not with Prime. Prime will detoxify ammonia... But only for 24-48 hours. That's enough time for your filter to remove it. Keeping in mind that Prime detoxifies ammonia into ammonium which is harmless, most ammonia test kits will read ammonium as ammonia. Meaning your test kit will still read that 1ppm of ammonia even though its harmless to your fish. The ammonium turns back into ammonia after 24-48 hours so you'd need to be sure that your BB can get rid of the ammonia in one day.

I test my tap for ammonia often because the levels in my tap range depending on the time of year and amount of rain we get. But I still always use prime as my conditioner.
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Old 12-31-2012, 10:04 PM   #9 
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Right, but I don't know if he's been using that.. I agree whenever you got ammonia in your source water you need a conditioner like Prime.
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:34 PM   #10 
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I know. That's just my suggestion in this situation. :)
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