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Old 01-21-2013, 11:34 AM   #1 
Nicci Lu
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Does This Look Normal?

Ok, so maybe (hopefully) I just need lessons in betta anatomy. A couple days ago I noticed that Adorable Fish's beard was sticking out a bit. Perhaps it's always been like that and I just didn't notice it. But the same day was also when he had a run in with a plastic plant (now removed) and got his caudal fin ripped. You can see that his pelvic fin is also a bit torn- I think (although my paranoia says otherwise) that this has been there longer and is a remnant of the nasty case of fin rot AF is nearly recovered from.


So, could this be an injury or is it perfectly normal?
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:52 AM   #2 
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To me, it does seem like it's normal :) Some bettas do have beards that stick out, my other boy has the same thing :D I'd make sure to keep his water clean to prevent an infection in the torn fin, but aside from that all seems well!
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:21 PM   #3 
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Sometimes their beards are very large and they stick out. This is quite common. You can see the edges of the beard on my current male, but on my male I had many, many years ago, it looked like it was always sticking out.
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:24 PM   #4 
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Oh good. Thanks guys, that was exactly what I wanted to hear. :)
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:02 PM   #5 
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I've never seen that on a healthy fish, only those with damage or breathing heavy.

That photo makes him look like he's sprinkled in salt.. or is that just on the glass?
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:54 PM   #6 
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It's on the glass, not in the water. He's not breathing heavy, and since he had daphnia for breakfast the little scavenger has been spending a lot of time hunting around on the bottom, so there doesn't appear to be any breathing issues.

There is the plastic plant that he ripped his caudal fin on- maybe he scraped his underside as well. Now that I think of it, the day I noticed his beard I had also exercised him by holding up a mirror and getting him to flare, not for very long, though, a few seconds maybe. Possibly it was this?

In case you're wondering, the tank ammonia is between 0 and.25 (the tank is not cycled yet and there is ammonia in my tap water- I've been detoxing with Prime in the meantime), nitrites 0 and nitrates 20.

Last edited by Nicci Lu; 01-21-2013 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:07 PM   #7 
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That's good, wanted to be sure.

Well the little bit of shredding/tears could be from a plant, but the big chunks looks like either biting and/or rot following biting. It doesn't look too bad. It doesn't have any chance to heal while the tank is cycling and ammonia or nitrites are present, but as long as it's not getting worse I wouldn't worry about it. If it does get worse he will need to be QTed and treated.

The mirror exercise could have been connected. I wouldn't suggest doing that anymore. Some people suggest it but what you're really doing is causing stress physiology in the fish (think like human panic attack) where their adrenals get flooded. I find my healthy fish in large enough tanks are plenty active enough without it.

I would do a 50% water change with gravel vac today. Even if you have ammonia in your tap water the nitrates are on the high end. What are the nitrites? If this is a 5G+ a weekly water change of 50% with gravel cleaning + extra 50% anytime you see ammonia or nitrites hit .25ppm should keep nitrates down well below that. In anything smaller you may always need multiple changes a week and cycling can take much longer or not fully establish at all.
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:30 PM   #8 
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I never considered that he might be a tail biter- I've never caught him at it. I'll have to keep a close eye on him. On his anal fin there has been some good regrowth. But the chunk at the end of his caudal fin, as you can see, is still missing. But there is no more black. He's on the last day of a Kanaplex treatment because AQ salt just wasn't getting rid of the rot.

Come to think of it, I believe that his caudal fin has always look kind of 'S' shaped at the end. Perhaps he was a tail biter at the store- my husband got him from Petco.

I didn't realize that about the mirror exercise, but what you say makes sense. And he is plenty active already.

My nitrites are 0 and he's in a 10 gal tank. I've been doing 25% changes every other day, using the gravel vac once a week. Today is the day I would do a change- I had actually been thinking about skipping it because I thought the nitrates were okay. But then, he is healing and 20 ppm is the limit of acceptable. I'll do a 50% today, and then a 50% anytime the nitrates get to 20. My ammonia is always going to be almost .25 until I'm cycled because of my tap.
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