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Old 03-29-2013, 11:11 PM   #1 
jinxhex
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Angry Tail Biter

So two mornings ago I woke up to see what my pure white half-moon male did to his tail. Over night, he shredded his tail up pretty bad, to where he could pass as a crown-tail, lol. His fins show no signs of infection, and it's pretty clear this was a result of tail biting.

I completely redecorated his tank, in case his reason for biting was him being bored, and I've added dissolved AQ. Salt and API stress coat to his tank in case his biting was a result of stress, and I've also removed his filter so he wouldn't be bothered by the flow, and plan on doing water changes every two days to keep ammonia levels down. Any more help and advice is appreciated, thanks!


Housing
What size is your tank? 5 gallon
What temperature is your tank? 78 F
Does your tank have a filter? Yes, but took it out today
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? The filter flow
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? Aqueon Betta pellets daily and Omega One freeze dried bloodworms 3 times a week
How often do you feed your betta fish? Each night

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? Once a week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 25%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Conditioner and Ammonia detoxifier

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

Ammonia: 0.0
Nitrite: 0.0
Nitrate: 40
pH: 7
Hardness: 3
Alkalinity: 4

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Went from being a half-moon to a crown-tail over night
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? normal when I observe
When did you start noticing the symptoms? two mornings ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Took filter out, change 20% of water every 2 days, added dissolved AQ. Salt, and API stress coat
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Nope
How old is your fish (approximately)? Not sure, i've had him since January
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Old 03-29-2013, 11:24 PM   #2 
capnspaz
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I just posted with the same problem! Guess I'll be watching this thread. :0
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Old 03-30-2013, 12:06 AM   #3 
xShainax
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I had a beautiful HMRT do the same thing. I was so ticked off
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Old 03-30-2013, 12:36 AM   #4 
LittleBlueFishlets
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Ha! I, too, have a HM that seems to prefer being a CT. They tail bite for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, you can figure out what the deal is, sometimes, you can't....

Some things that I noticed in your writeup:
  • Be careful with the Aquarium salt. Bettas are sensitive to it, and using too much can damage their kidneys. Don't use it in high concentrations, or for more than 10 days max. In general, I don't use aq salt unless I feel there's a need, such as signs of an infection setting in.
  • Does he appear constipated? The Aqueon pellets were the first food that I fed my bettas. It caused my HM to become constipated, bloat, and have buoyancy issues. (My VTs were always fine with it. My HM may just have a more finicky stomach.) I don't know if your guy has issues with the Aqueon, and I'm not saying there's anything wrong with it. But if they aren't feeling well (for any reason), they can start tail biting. If you think this could be an issue, you can try a high protein quality food. The two most often recommended foods on this forum as New Life Spectrum pellets, and Omega One Betta Buffet pellets.
Others here have had success with tail biters by:
  • increasing / decreasing water temp
  • increasing / decreasing light
  • adding / removing / rearranging plants, caves, hiding places, decorations, etc
  • ensuring darkness at nighttime
  • etc.....
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Old 03-30-2013, 12:48 AM   #5 
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This is just my experience with my HM, and might not apply to yours as he might have different preferences, but he has bitten his tail when housed in anything over 2 gallons, and if there is more than just very sparse decor in his tank. I tried everything before arriving at this conclusion. I don't like having his home bare, but his highness gets what he wants... So far, since removing almost all decor, he hasn't bitten for over a month and almost has his full, beautiful fins back.

Long story short, it MAY turn out that he can't deal with much decor or a lot of space due to his long, heavy fins, so just keep that in mind when searching for a solution, and don't be disheartened in the search for a solution.



Also going to agree with others who have said to be careful with AQ salt, and to get better food.

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Old 03-30-2013, 02:58 AM   #6 
jinxhex
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Thanks for all of your replies, I've been thinking about switching all of my Bettas over to a new food anyways, since the Aqueon pellets are often considered "beginners" food... Lol.

I bought him brand new decor today and I only dosed half the amount of AQ. Salt recommended on the carton, I just want to decrease the chances of him getting an infection.

He used to be in a lightly decorated 3 gallon cube tank when I first got him, and I do remember noticing him have small chunks of missing tail, but nothing as extreme as this. I'll also probably start decreasing the time his tank light is on.

I guess only time will tell...

Last edited by jinxhex; 03-30-2013 at 03:03 AM.
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Old 03-30-2013, 06:57 AM   #7 
LittleBlueFishlets
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Wait..... Do you add Aq salt EVERY day? Or just when you do a water change?

Salts do not evaporate or "disappear." They remain in the tank until they are physically removed. (Ie: You need to do a water change to remove them.) If you add salt to the existing water, the concentration will simply continue to increase, and will reach dangerous levels very quickly!

I see that you own multiple tanks, indicating you've got fishkeeping experience. So you were likely doing a water change.... but this was important enough that I felt it needed to be clarified, as adding too much aq salt can kill a Betta.

Last edited by LittleBlueFishlets; 03-30-2013 at 07:05 AM.
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Old 03-30-2013, 12:17 PM   #8 
jinxhex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBlueFishlets View Post
Wait..... Do you add Aq salt EVERY day? Or just when you do a water change?

Salts do not evaporate or "disappear." They remain in the tank until they are physically removed. (Ie: You need to do a water change to remove them.) If you add salt to the existing water, the concentration will simply continue to increase, and will reach dangerous levels very quickly!

I see that you own multiple tanks, indicating you've got fishkeeping experience. So you were likely doing a water change.... but this was important enough that I felt it needed to be clarified, as adding too much aq salt can kill a Betta.
I only add salt during water changes, and I've only done one water change with salt. LOL. I probably won't add salt during my next water change though, just so that I can start getting the salty water out of the tank.
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Old 03-30-2013, 12:39 PM   #9 
LittleBlueFishlets
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OK, cool.

I don't feel that he needs any salt, since there's no indication of infection. Tail biting is pretty common with HMs, unfortunately! Each fish is different, so what works for one may not work for another.

You may just have to try altering conditions awhile. It could be stress, boredom, water temp, tank size, lighting, food (amount or brand), number or type of decorations, flow from an airstone or filter, etc.

Or, he might just be biting because he can.... Some fish stop eventually, others don't.
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:01 PM   #10 
Sparrowhawk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBlueFishlets View Post
Or, he might just be biting because he can.... Some fish stop eventually, others don't.
+1
Also, it's easy to get discouraged and feel really bad while you're trying to eliminate possible causes, so try not to feel bad, and just keep trying to look for a solution.
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