I've always been a lurker here and finally decided to join and post here because my little betta friend, Kenji is in trouble, and I have no idea what I should do anymore after trying everything I've read in this forum and other websites. I think he has fin melt, since his tail has this strandy, melted plastic look to it. It looks like some of the rays bonded together, looking like 3 sharp points instead of two large fans. It just never seems to get better…
Kenji is a double tail, red male betta who I've had for 9 months now. He lives in a 5 gallon, filtered and heated tank (76-80º) with silk plants and a bridge he likes to sleep under. He's very hyperactive and full of energy (he does this thing like a dog wagging it's tail and greeting me when I get home from work), likes to eat (sometimes jumps out of the water to nip my finger!) and seems very healthy minus his tail issue. His color looks normal, his eyes, stomach… everything but his tail is normal.
Now I must admit, I wasn't the best betta owner when I first got him. I am a newbie to the fishkeeping world and kept him in a small unfiltered, unheated bowl when I first got him (believing in the whole betta-in-a-vase thing). And thats how my classrooms and friends as a kid kept them in the past. I noticed his fins didn't look as pretty as the day I got him, so I began doing some research and found out I was not caring for him properly. So now he lives in the 5 gallon I described earlier.
I've struggled with his fins the entire 9 months I've owned him and just see them deteriorate over time. I've tried checking his decorations for sharp edges, baffled his filter, do weekly water changes (25-50% a week), salted his water, used stress coat, feed him a diet of pellets and shrimp. His water parameters never seem out of whack, unless my test kits are failing me somehow. I'm a little bit afraid I screwed him over in that little bowl he first lived in.
He used to have beautiful, fanned out tail / fins, but now they are just thin and pointy. I'm just worried that his rot has progressed so far that the damage is irreversible and permanent. Is this a possibility? I'm not even sure what to really do anymore. I am trying tetracycline at the moment on him (on day 3 now), that seems to be the most common suggestion for fin melt (that I've seen on this forum and other fish websites). I cannot post pictures right now because I am at work, but will when I can.
Sorry for the long rant… I just want what is best for my little friend. I love him lots and just want him to be happy and healthy. Thank you in advance for the help. :)