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Old 08-17-2013, 06:28 PM   #1 
Haleigh
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Tail-Biting Worsening or Fin Rot?

My betta Tully is a notorious tail-bitter, but his fins look much worse today. I moved him and my other betta into my dorm room on Thursday and have been staying up late to organize things. I'm hoping that this new fin damage is just because he's upset about the transition and the light.

**Also, I just checked the parameters and actually have ammonia and nitrates for the first time, which I guess means that his tank is beginning to cycle. Could that be what is bothering him? Based on the readings below, what type of water changes should I start doing?

Do you think these pictures indicate fin rot or tail-biting? His caudal fin normally looks frayed like that, but his dorsal fin looks pretty messed up. I don't notice black at the edges, which gives me some hope that this is just tail-biting.

Housing
What size is your tank? 5.5 gallon
What temperature is your tank? 77.4 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? New Life Spectrum Pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish? Twice a day, four pellets for breakfast and three for dinner.

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? 50% with gravel vacuum
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Stress Coat +

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

Ammonia: .25
Nitrite: .25-.50 (The color didn't quite fit either)
Nitrate: 0
pH: 7.6
Hardness: n/a
Alkalinity: n/a

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Dorsal fin is missing chunks
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? It has not.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Today
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? No
Does your fish have any history of being ill? He's a notorious tail-bitter
How old is your fish (approximately)? four-six months

Pictures:









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Old 08-17-2013, 06:45 PM   #2 
Hadoken Kitty
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Looks to me like fin rot is taking in.

I would crank the heat up to 80*F if I were you, as anything below 79*F is actually a little chilly for a tropical fish.

Since your tank is not cycled, you want to do a water change every time the ammonia rises since he's in there with rot, or you can take him out and put him into his own quarantine bowl (this will make measuring for AQ salt easier anyways).

If you don't have live plants, you can add 1 tsp/gal aquarium (AQ) salt. If you do have live plants, the salt can kill them, so I would suggest getting him a 1 gallon hospital/quarantine tank (QT) to put him in. You would need to change the water every other day at the very least, but every day water change in a tank that size is best.
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Old 08-17-2013, 07:15 PM   #3 
shellieca
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I agree it appears he may have some fin rot setting in. Anytime ammonia or nitrItes are >.25 do a 50% water change. Personally I think his temp is fine but I do keep mine 78-80F. BTW I love his coloring.
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Old 08-17-2013, 07:26 PM   #4 
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Since it's not that bad, there's no need for AQ salt. The water changes alone will help get rid of the rot and I do agree, can you get the temp up to 80, if not 82?

You should start testing your water daily/every other day then to catch ammonia before it get's too high which is what will cause his fin rot. So then do a water change around 25-50% at that time and test again later to see if it changed. if it didn't go down, then do another change.

Now what seems weird to me is that you've had this tank set up for well over a month now right? Your tank should be well cycled, especially if you've only been doing a water change once a week. Have you taken out the filter media to replace it recently?
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Old 08-17-2013, 08:05 PM   #5 
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Rats. I was really hoping it was not fin rot. I will start testing his water daily and doing 50% water changes. I'm glad the fin rot doesn't require AQ salt because I didn't bring a quarantine tank to school with me. All I have are some gallon pitchers.

I'm pretty sure his tank hasn't cycled because I used to rinse his filter out in the sink, not in old tank water. It should cycle now since I'll swish it out in tank water during a water change. I did also get a new filter recently.

Unfortunately, I do not have an adjustable heater and the air in my room won't let me go much higher. His temperature is probably going to stay as is.

Thanks for the compliment, shellieca. He's a gorgeous boy! I hope I get this fin rot cleared up soon so it won't hurt him!
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Old 08-17-2013, 08:08 PM   #6 
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Okay, yeah it was most likely cycled before but with the new filter, you got rid of most of your BB so it's got to cycle again unfortunately :-/

And really no fin rot requires anything except for clean water. Advanced fin rot and persistant fin rot are other things and then if tails are bitten clean off, yeah AQ salt is good for that. But since he barely has anything, there's no sense in stressing out his kidney's when all he needs is good clean water.
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Old 08-17-2013, 10:24 PM   #7 
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What I would do, is forget about the cycling for now, and just do large daily water changes adding aquarium salt. And I agree on raising the temperature. You can use aquarium salt for 10 to 14 days. You can put it right in his tank the 5 gallon. And just lots of water changes. Aquarium salt isn't harmful, it will be just fine to use it as long as you don't use it past 10 to 14 days. When you start to see new growth on his fins, then you can start waiting a few more days between water changes and start the cycle up again. I just did the exact same routine with my fish who had holes in his fins and fin rot and he has gotten much better, the holes have filled in, and he has new growth on his fins. I'm going to restart my cycle this week.
Like everyone else said, when you cycle it again, be sure to check the ammonia daily so that you don't have the same problem again. It would be better to take a little longer to cycle the tank, than to have to treat for fin rot. After the tank is cycled, I personally would do more like 60 or 70% water changes and do them maybe every five days instead of every week. But testing for ammonia, nitrates and nitrites would be the most accurate way to tell exactly when you need to change the water.

Hope he feels better soon!
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Old 08-17-2013, 10:35 PM   #8 
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actually AQ salt is quite harmful, more than people come to realize now. Many of the medicines we have are much less harsh than AQ salt.

AQ salt actually does nothing for fin rot, all it does is iritate the slime coat to overproducing (which can be helpful for external parasites and keeping them off) and balances out electrolytes, nothing for fin rot. And in fact most of the time the rot is helped soley by water changes.

Salt can also create heavy damage to the kidney's/liver which are needed to process things out of the water they soak in (like salt) and that can lead to organ failure: Dropsy which is fatal. So if you have the chance, don't use AQ salt and just do the water changes.

In fact MelaFix/BettaFix/PimaFix if used at the right doses is less stressful and harmful on a Betta than AQ salt is.

But as I stated before, this is hardly any "severe" case of fin rot and all it will need is just some water changes and he'll be good to go.
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Old 08-18-2013, 09:23 PM   #9 
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Thanks for the opinions everyone. I'm quite hesitant to use salt unless absolutely necessary because I believe using too much salt killed my other betta Pontus.

I did a 50% water change this morning and checked the levels again tonight. Ammonia is still at .25, but nitrites look a tad less than .25. Nitrates are still 0.

I start classes tomorrow, but will do another 50% change tomorrow afternoon.
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Old 08-21-2013, 08:33 AM   #10 
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I have been doing daily 50% water changes since Sunday and have not seen a change in water parameters. Is that normal? His ammonia is still at .25 ppm, so I'm worried that he'll get ammonia poisoning.
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