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Old 02-11-2013, 02:03 AM   #1 
teale
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Unhappy I need some help with this fin rot

Hello! I'm a long time reader, first time poster because I feel like everyone here has some really great advice and I need some help! But first:

Quote:
Housing
What size is your tank? 2 gallons
What temperature is your tank? 76-78 degrees
Does your tank have a filter? yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no
Is your tank heated? yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? none

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Omega One Betta Buffet Flakes (and occasionally freeze dried blood worms as a treat)
How often do you feed your betta fish? Once a day

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? Every second day
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 50%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Prime

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia: in between .0 and .25
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: 6.4
Hardness: --
Alkalinity: --

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Tips of the fins have begun to curl, entire pieces of his fins are missing (he's a crowntail and missing three of his 'tendrils')
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Behaviour hasn't changed
When did you start noticing the symptoms? 2 months ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? No treatment aside from regular water changes
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)? I've had him for 8 months, but seeing as he was from a pet store, it's hard to say!
I've had my crowntail betta Sven for 8 months. When I first bought him he was the saddest looking fish (pretty bad fin rot and sluggish) -so of course, I had to rescue him. His fin rot cleared up quite quickly and he grew new and beautifully long fins. Clean water seemed to fix it without any issues.

I have him in a filtered 2 gallon tank, heated with frequent water changes because after trying to cycle a tank that small I realized it wasn't going to happen (I'd have him in a 5 gallon but unfortunately my current downsizing of living space has prevented me from being able to do that yet). I have ammonia and ample chlorine in my tap water (which is soft, big city water), so aside from shifting the dosage of prime (three drops per one gallon of water), the frequent 50% water changes have been the only way I've found to keep the ammonia at a low to .0 level. I keep his tank clean and swish around the filter media in some tank water about once a month as I've read that I should do.

A couple months ago I noticed the ends of his tail curling slightly and then a few ends of his tail appeared to have "broken" in the middle. The three ends of his tail that looked snapped in the middle have now fallen off leaving rounded edges (aside from one that looks tattered). He has silk plants in his tank and currently no little cave to hide because I took it out in fear he'd maybe snagged himself on part of it and caused an injury (I had tested his little "cave" with panty hose but upon cleaning his tank one day after noticing his tail, I realized a sharp edge on the inside and promptly removed it). He has nothing else in the tank to cause his fins any damage. I'm going out on a limb and assuming this damage either lead to or was caused by fin rot. I tried to get a picture for you, but it's really hard to take a good picture of a mobile betta that showed what I was talking about and I didn't want to traumatize him with camera flash.

ANYWAYS, I would love some expert advice on how to go about treating this. Am I correct in assuming it's fin rot? I have aquarium salt on hand that I'm fully prepared to use, but I'd really like to avoid any chemical intervention such as antibiotics unless it's absolutely necessary.

Aside from treatment, I was also hoping for opinions on how to lower the ammonia content of the water. I'm worried the constant water changes or the higher dose of prime are stressing him out and stopping him from healing. Am I doing anything wrong?

Hopefully I didn't over-inform and talk too much. I'm doing my best, but admittedly he's my first Betta fish and I need some help. Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:20 AM   #2 
Hadoken Kitty
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It sounds like either fin biting or fin rot, which can end in fin rot if left untreated in either case. It's really hard to tell without pictures...are there any singed looking sections? As if someone has lit his fin on fire and then put it out. It should be gray or black.

Either way, you should treat with warmer water (78 is the minimum temp for bettas, so keep that in mind) and aquarium salt. 1 tsp per gallon, depending on how bad the rot is. I would go with simply 1 tsp per gallon to start with. I would put him in a gallon of half gallon tank, if you can, mainly because it makes treating much easier. If you can't I don't see how treating a 2g tank would be much harder. When treating your fish for fin rot, though, you need to do 100% changes daily and wash EVERYTHING (hence the 1 or 1/2g suggestion). This keeps down bacteria and helps speed up the healing process.

Try to upload pictures? Even if it is just of his fin. It's the fin that we're worried about anyways. (:
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:13 AM   #3 
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So is there ammonia in your tap or is it building this quickly? Flakes will grow ammonia more quickly because no matter how hard you try some will dissolve and fall and that breaks down quickly in such a small space. For this, and other nutrition/health reasons, I suggest switching to pellets. Omega One makes a good pellet, as does New Life Spectrum Betta.

Prime is not stressing him out. How exactly are you doing water changes?

Can you share good photos of the ends so we can get an idea if it may be rot or biting?
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:26 PM   #4 
teale
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Thanks to both of you :)

I feel like I need to clarify the temperature I posted.. the lower temp (76) was for last week when we had a long-term power outage. It was the highest temperature I could manage to keep the tank at for the time, but it's been a solid 78 otherwise. I'll work on raising it a bit above 78 slowly so I don't cause any more stress. Is 80 better for him? I keep getting mixed information on the temperature that's best for him.

And thank you for the pellet suggestion Callistra, I'll definitely go and purchase those and switch him over. It makes perfect sense when I think about it.

For water changes I turn off the filter and heater and siphon the gravel and water using a gravel vac (I've been cleaning the gravel every time due to the ammonia situation in hopes of eliminating waste that could spike it). I wipe down the top of the glass along the water line and the heater. Then using a small cup I pour a little bit of water down the side into the tank so the flow isn't too disruptive and pour a little bit more about every 10 minutes (I actually put prime in a gallon of water the night before and let it sit in hopes some of the chlorine evaporates) until theres about 1.5 gallons in the tank and then I carefully pour the rest into the tank. I do this just because there's about a 1 degree difference between room temp and his tank right now. I picked up this system after I realized he's very, very aggrivated in a cup (I tried to acclimate him to the slightly different water with him a cup and then placing him back in the tank but that didn't seem to be working as smoothly as this other method does). Is there anything I should adjust? I know I'll have to have him in a cup while I'm treating him with the aquarium salt and 100% daily changes, and I'm totally fine with that. I'm starting that tonight to try and catch this in it's tracks (it seems to progress quite slowly so far and I'd like to keep it that way).

To answer the other question, there is ammonia in the tap water. I tested it before I even started setting up his aquarium out of pure curiosity (the water test kits are fun). It's a minimal amount though so I'm thinking the flake situation you mentioned might be a bigger issue.

I had to use flash but I managed to get him to flare at his reflection for a moment and snap a picture on the first try -I hope it shows enough to get a clear idea of the problem. It's looking really sad! The ends of his fins have always curved a bit since they grew back when I brought him home, but the recent curly-q situation has me worried. You can see there's pieces missing of his tail fin, and his dorsal fin is missing one piece (though you can't see it in this picture). His other fins seem completely unaffected so far, unless I'm overlooking it.
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Last edited by teale; 02-11-2013 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:33 PM   #5 
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It might simply be tail biting. Warm water can help it regrow, but you can also add in stress coat to aid in the process. If you want, adding aquarium salt will decrease bacterial growth and prevent any rot from happening. I can't see any black singeing in that picture, so I'm going to guess it's tail biting.

As far as a quarantine tank (qt), I would not use anything smaller than a half of a gallon. The reason is to make medicine dosages easier to go (most medicines go by ten gallon or one gallon intervals).

I like anywhere from 79*F to 82*F for my fish. 80*f is generally where my tanks stay at, but they usually never get warmer than 82*F (or colder than 79*F).
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:09 PM   #6 
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I can't tell from the photos but are there any black/grey/brown/discolored tips or just clean breaks?
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:23 PM   #7 
teale
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If there is any darker colouring at the tips where the breaks happened, I can't seem to find it and it's very minimal. By the looks of it, the ends on one of the breaks is clean, and on the other ones the ends have frayed slightly and curled making it hard to judge. On the rest of his "healthy" tendrils the ends are that clear shade from regrowth which he's had since they grew back the first time. Is it safe to assume this means it's mostly likely fin biting?
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:26 PM   #8 
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Yeah probably then. I would worry too much about it at this point. His fins don't look too bad. You could treat conservatively with aquarium salt if you wanted - 1 tsp per gallon predissolved for up to 10 days.
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:30 PM   #9 
teale
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Thank you so much - to both of you :) I appreciate the advice and I will definitely follow it. One last thing and then I'll let you both carry on with your lives: Are there any things I can do to stop him from biting his tail that you (or others) have found to be effective?
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:33 PM   #10 
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I've found stress coat at 1 ml per 1 gallon and vitachem at 2 drops per gallon helps. IAL also helps but I haven't used it yet.
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