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Old 10-08-2013, 02:09 PM   #1 
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Location: Charlottesville, VA
Question regrowth after fin rot

Here's a brief overview of my situation, for the TLDR crowd:

My halfmoon betta, Fawkes, had major tail rot. After some false starts, I treated him to arrest and cure the rot. It's been more than a month now since the tail rot has been gone, but I have not seen any significant regrowth.
I've had to treat for fin rot before (not for Fawkes, but for other bettas I've had in the past) and have never seen a fin that just refuses to regrow, even after the rot is gone. Any ideas?

Now here's all the details:

August 23

I was out of town over the summer for about six weeks for some graduate field work. I made the profound and terrible mistake of assuming that my roommate could take care of my bettas. Oy vey. When I got home, one of my bettas, Fawkes, had absolutely horrific tail rot. In a nutshell, my roommate had been overfeeding dramatically and had done only ONE water change for the ENTIRE six weeks that I had been gone.

Here are the pertinent details and results from the water test I did when I got home:
What size is your tank? 1.5 gallons
What temperature is your tank? 76-78
Does your tank have a filter? Yes. (It's baffled)
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No.
Is your tank heated? No.
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None.

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Omega One betta pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish? I feed once daily, 2 pellets. But my roommate said she was feeding twice a day, 4 or 5 pellets, for some idiotic reason, despite my explicit instructions.


How often do you perform a water change? I do it normally once a week. But my roommate did ONE water change over a period of six weeks while I was gone. ONE.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? About 50-60%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Aqueon Betta Bowl Plus, occasional salt (1 tsp).

Water Parameters:
Ammonia: 2.5!!! OMG
Nitrite: 1 ppm
Nitrate: less than 20 ppm
pH: 7.2

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? A massive chunk of his tail fin was missing, right in the middle. Slight blackness around frayed edges.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He was less active than usual, but no big dramatic behavior changes.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? None, until then.
How old is your fish (approximately)? A bit more than a year.

Here's a before picture of magnificent Fawkes:

Gorgeous, right?

Here's what he looked like when I got home at the end of August:

Holy crap!! It made my soul want to just curl up and die.

Somehow, Fawkes was the only one who was in trouble. My other two bettas were as perfect as ever. Thank god for small favors. So, naturally, after a fight with my roommate, I started treatment for fin rot.
I did four days of conservative treatment (daily 100% water changes with aquarium salt).
After no improvement with this, I went to Tetracycline. (Since the damage was so severe, I did more than a full cycle of this -- I think it was eight days of treatment, following instructions for treatment that I found on this website, with water changes and everything).

September 4
So here's what he looked like on September 4, the last day of the TC treatment. The black edges were gone, and there was some minor but noticeable regrowth.

I did eight days of treatment because it amounted to two full cycles of the TC, and I was just starting to see regrowth. I certainly didn't want to overdo it, so I stopped as soon as it looked better, while still finishing out the second cycle of the TC.

So I spent the next month doing near-complete water changes every day, with aquarium salt to stimulate regrowth. I also added occasional BettaFix to further stimulate regrowth. (I know BettaFix is sorta controversial, in terms of how it affects the labyrinth organ, so I didn't want to add it too often, but I thought its antiseptic qualities would be helpful).

Oct 8
So that brings us to today. After this month, I've seen no noticeable regrowth, not even any of that transparent-looking film around the edges that is a hallmark of regrowth.
Here's what he looks like now:

And here's my readings and such as of today:
Water Parameters:
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: less than 10 ppm
pH: 7.2

As for his behavior, he's very active and happy. He's been building bubble nests like a champ every day for the last few weeks, he's eating well, seems very happy, and there's been no recurrence of the fin rot.

So why is his tail fin not regrowing?
Like I said, I've had to treat bettas before in the past for fin rot, and I've never had so much trouble getting the fin to regrow.
Is it possible that Fawkes' tail will just be like this forever? Should I be worried?
Or is it just regrowing so incredibly slowly that I can't notice the progress? Should I be doing anything else? (Other than getting a new roommate who's not such an idiot, of course).

Advice is very much appreciated. Hopefully the pictures will work. If not, I have all the pics in an album on my profile in order of dates so you can see the changes.

Thanks, guys. I come humbly seeking your wisdom.

Last edited by Froggah04; 10-08-2013 at 02:12 PM.
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Old 10-08-2013, 07:14 PM   #2 
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Location: Colorado
I don't know if it's just because I'm not around him as much, but I think it looks great for as bad as it was. Just be patient with him :)
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:12 PM   #3 
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Wow, what a great recovery! I think patience is key, and I feel I have read over and over and over that unfortunately fins may never fully regrow, or look as they did before. I wanted to ask-what was the dosing you used for the medication? What brand did you use? My boyfriend's fish has not had much luck with water changes, aq salt, and a treatment of maracyn 2, and I'm impressed with your :)
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Old 10-11-2013, 10:20 PM   #4 
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Oy, patience is so hard! But yeah, I think you guys are right.

Chrisandtif: I used two cycles of API's TC Tetracycline. (Petsmart almost always has it). I mostly followed the instructions on the package, with a few changes to keep it safe for bettas. Instead of doubling up on the dose in the beginning like the instructions say, I did a water change between the doses. I've always treated bettas this way, since they're so sensitive. I don't like putting too much crap in their water if I can help it.

So, in a nutshell, I followed the dosing instructions on the package, but instead of doing a water change every other day, I did a water change (around 50%) every day. I kept going with the TC until I saw fin regrowth, which for me amounted to two full cycles.
I've heard good things about not stopping an antibiotic until you being to see actual regrowth. That's definitely what I've found to be most effective when I've had to fight with fin rot. Stopping after just one cycle, if you haven't seen regrowth yet, often means the fin rot is just waiting to come back.
So it's possible that the Maracyn 2 your boyfriend was using would have been effective, if he hadn't stopped using it too soon. (Obviously, I'm just making a wild guess here).

Good luck with your fishy.
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