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Old 04-05-2013, 07:05 PM   #1 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Frenchtown, NJ
Arrow Is this Fin Rot or Biting? And some other questions.

What size is your tank? 5 gallons
What temperature is your tank? 80F
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? 4 ghost shrimp (just bought today, actually.)

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? New life spectrum betta formula pellets.
How often do you feed your betta fish? 3-4 pellets, twice a day.

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? 50%.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? BettaSafe water conditioner. He had a minor case of Fin rot in a 1.5 gallon that I had him in, so I've been treating him with API aquarium salt since he made the switch to a 5 gal. That switch was made about 2 weeks ago, or so. I've put in the recommended salt dose that it says on the label each water change.

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

pH: 7.6

I don't know what to buy or where to start to test for the other parameters.

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Tail shredding.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? It hasn't. He swims around fine. Is very curious. He likes to greet me when I put my face next to the glass.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? A few days ago.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? API aquarium salt.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? I've had him for a month and change. The only history I know of him being ill is the minor case of fin rot.
How old is your fish (approximately)? Like said, bought him at Petco about a month and some weeks ago.


Here are some pictures that I took of him today:


When I treated his fin rot, it started to go away. You could see that clear-looking bits at the end of his tail. I was pretty happy to see that. Then a few days later, I see his tail shredded? I was worried that either the salt procedure isn't working, or he's actually biting at it. I never ever see him biting at his tail. He's always swimming about whenever I see him.

The only time he is ever aggressive is when I occasionally put a mirror in front of him for a minute only, just to stimulate him.

He likes to swim up and down, and side to side against the glass on occasion. It does look like he stares at his reflection, but no aggressive signs (no flaring) involved.

I had a tiny castle decor in his tank, which he barely went in. I took it out today and put a silk plant in there, and a tree stump hiding place. I don't even think he likes to hide, haha, but it just seemed like the right thing to do. I currently only have 2 silk plants, and that tree stump.

Any help or any ideas would be most helpful.

Thank you.

Last edited by Cliffy; 04-05-2013 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 04-05-2013, 09:26 PM   #2 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Frenchtown, NJ
Bump, please.
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:31 AM   #3 
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Sorry to hear he's having fin issues, still.

Since he's been in the Aquarium salt for about 2 weeks now, I would stop using it.

Bettas are sensitive to Aquarium salt. The sodium in it puts stress on the kidneys, and using it for longer periods can start to cause damage.... That said, the amount recommended on the box for 'regular use' is usually lower than what it used to treat illness and diseases, like fin rot. But even so, it's not advisable to keep using Aquarium salt long term for Bettas.

Do the edges of his fins have darkened or black edges? If so, this would indicate fin rot. It's usually treated with warm, clean water. If that isn't effective, then Aquarium salt can be used. If that's not effective either, the next step is to use a gram-negative antibiotic. But I only like to use antibiotics if it's definitely fin rot, rather than tail biting....

If there are no darkened and/or ragged edges, then it could be tail biting. And if there are U-shaped chunks missing, this often indicates tail biting, too.

As for water parameters.... If you want to invest in a testing kit, look into the API Freshwater Master Kit. It's available at petstores, but sometimes you can get a better price on it through Amazon. It will give you pH, ammonia, nitrate and nitrite results.
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:45 AM   #4 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Frenchtown, NJ
Thank you for your reply, LittleBlueFishlets!

I wasn't clear on if I had to keep re-adding the salt whenever I made the water changes. I will stop adding the aquarium salt. Is it only supposed to be added to treat fin rot and nothing else since they are sensitive to it?

The next 50% change is in a few days.. should I go ahead and clean it earlier to get rid of the salt quicker?

-edit- I will have to check in the morning to see what the shape of the shredding is. There are tiny parts of his tail that are darkened but it could just be his coloring, too. It used to be worse when he was in that pitiful 1.5 gallon. I feel like he healed up quite a bit then something happened that caused his tail to look shredded again. Some of the ends curl too, but I'm guessing that's part of regrowth.

Last edited by Cliffy; 04-06-2013 at 12:49 AM.
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Old 04-06-2013, 07:43 PM   #5 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Frenchtown, NJ

Today I changed his water 50% with water conditioner.
No salt.

One ghost shrimp died (saw it's skeleton). 3 are still alive and chillin' at the bottom. Cliffy (my betta) likes to pick at them. He chases at them for entertainment. I think the 4th one that died was the littlest one so he took advantage of that.

I vacuumed the bottom up really good, too.

Here are some pictures. I got clearer ones so you can see his fins better.

Let him stare at his reflection a little to get a full look at his fins.

And, here's a regular photo that I luckily shot.

So again... Fin rotten or tail biter?

...Also, I'll invest in getting the API freshwater master kit soon.
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:05 AM   #6 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Frenchtown, NJ
Please, if anyone can give me any more suggestions of care for my little one. I want Cliffy to have a full length life as we all do for our fishies.
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:38 AM   #7 
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Join Date: Jan 2013
My guess would be tailbiter, I don't see a black edge on the fins, that being said keep a close eye on him, fin rot you will usually see chunks of fin on the bottom of the tank if you look closely, you seem to be taking good care of him, the test kit will help with his water conditions which will improve his life greatly, the only other thing I would do is get him some frozen brine shrimp and blood worms to vary his diet a bit and give him a treat 1-2 times a week
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:45 AM   #8 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Frenchtown, NJ
Thanks, Stone!

Do you think the ghost shrimp is a good idea for him? He's been swimming a lot more since he's so attentive that there are other living things in his tank. Should I continue to get them for him ? Having something to do other than swimming around and glass surfing with himself would maybe decrease the chances of him being bored and biting on his tail...

I don't really see any chunks of his tail on the bottom. I have red gravel and he's also red. Haha. I wasn't thinking about that when I purchased it. I love the color red. :P

I bought the frozen brine shrimp but I hate the mess it gives. Is there an ideal way of feeding the shrimp to him without making a huge mess? He usually picks at it later when it reaches the bottom but I don't want any extra food waste lying around making the water dirty.
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:46 AM   #9 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Florida
The shrimp might not be dead. They molt to grow. If it's clear it's molt if it's a solid white or light pink it's dead.

The shrimp don't sound like a good idea unless you provide separate food underneath dens and hidey holes and remove it after an hour or so/
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:50 AM   #10 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Frenchtown, NJ
He had a bigger belly yesterday when I cleaned the tank. It looked pretty dead to me. It wasn't moving. It was a clear looking skin just sunk at the bottom.

I have a hiding place that Cliffy doesn't go in. I haven't seen them at all this morning but they finally came out of their hiding spots. What kind of food do ghost shrimp like?
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