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Old 09-09-2013, 10:28 PM   #1 
fishnewbie1419
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HELP! What is wrong with his tail??

I've had Gypsy for a little over two months. He had some new growth for a little while after I got him, but his tail has been slowly "shrinking" for a few weeks now. The bottom has recently begun to look much worse. Is it fin rot? He's in a 2.5 gallon tank, and I change the water 100% 2x/week with Tetra BettaSafe conditioner. He also has a heater set to 80 F.

He's very, very active and loves to eat. He goes crazy when I walk into my room after work or class, so I assumed that maybe he was stressed when I was gone and was biting his tail. But it keeps getting worse.

I'm afraid to try aquarium salt because I had a fish that turned black and died in 3 days after adding salt (measured for the 2.5 gallons). What else can I try?

I've attached a picture from when I got him a few months ago (left) to a picture I just took tonight (right). Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 09-09-2013, 10:35 PM   #2 
Laki
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I cannot see where the tail is missing. So he's not biting and it's not getting shredded on that plastic ornament.

Sometimes water can be too sterile which is just as bad as filthy water. He's in a 2.5 gallon? Try cleaning it once a week fully and doing one small water change in between. If you have indian almond leaves close by, or dry/dead oak leaves, you can wash them and add them to the water. A blackwater environment better suits a betta and they retain their health and immunity better.
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Old 09-09-2013, 10:38 PM   #3 
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Well, his top fin is much shorter, and so is his big middle fin (sorry I don't know the real names!). The bottom fin has lost a lot of what used to be there. In the picture on the right, all of the purple agains the plastic ornament is his tail fully spread out, so it's jagged and thin and pointy. It just looks so much different! And not in a good way.. I don't have those leaves lying around.. where can I find them?
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Old 09-09-2013, 10:41 PM   #4 
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Oh I see now. I would try creating a better blackwater environment first. Remove that stone looking thing with the plastic leaves just to be sure.

You can find oak leaves locally probably, just make sure to pick them in a park away from traffic! Indian almond leaves are dirt cheap on ebay, often with free shipping! Or you can buy blackwater extract from the brand Tetra (yellow bottle) from the pet store.
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Old 09-09-2013, 10:41 PM   #5 
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Here's another picture of him tonight. His fins aren't fully spread out, since he was kind of floating when I took the picture, but I think you can see the drastic change in his fins a little better.
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Old 09-09-2013, 10:44 PM   #6 
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I've got two who are doing this also, the only thing I can come up with is fin melt? I'd always heard on here that fin melt and fin rot where synonymous, but on other boards and other parts of the internet there is some debate that they're two different things. My two are like yours, there's no black edging, the water is clean, the tanks are cycled, all my plants are silk and several are live, no sharp ornaments...no-one else is having any problems so I know it's not my water...(the two who are affected share a tank)...but it looks like their fins are, well, melted together at the edges.

So far I haven't found anything really helpful online...seen everything from possible fungal infection to water chemicals to bacterial infection...which covers just about everything and is NOT helpful. :P

I've seen some rec's for tetracycline and others for sulfa-based antibiotics. I haven't tried either yet because I hate medicating them...but I'm about ready to try it. If it's any consolation, it does seem to move pretty slowly once it gets to a point. It took me a series of months to figure it out...I just thought that maybe he was biting his tail...then I thought maybe that's just what VT's were supposed to look like (these two were my only VT's until about a month ago when I compared and realized that this was NOT normal)...and some denial was in there too.... ;)

Anyway, I'll write down your name and if I find anymore information I'll forward it to you. :( Hopefully someone on here can be of some more assistance as well. :P
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Old 09-09-2013, 10:54 PM   #7 
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Thanks so much, Laki and Blue Fish! Blue Fish, I would definitely appreciate it if you could send me anything you find about fin melt! Do you know if it is fatal? Or just cosmetic? He seems to be acting and eating like normal.

Laki, I just looked up the tetra blackwater extract on Amazon, and I think I may try that. I've had bad luck with Bettas (like the one that died from AQ salt), so I'm nervous about adding something new..

I'll also switch to one 100% change and one 60% change each week. I realized only earlier this year how important frequent water changes are, so I figured the more changes, the better! But maybe not!
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Old 09-09-2013, 10:58 PM   #8 
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Can you shine a bright light on him and see if he possibly has ick? Even if he's not ripping around the tank scratching himself often times ick makes the fins go all clampy. And the reason for the light is because occasionally you can't see it with normal lighting.

It doesn't appear to be fin rot and it's clearly not tail biting, here are acouple photos to show:

Fin rot (you can see the lace look at the edges of the fins: https://sphotos-a-sjc.xx.fbcdn.net/h...87755212_n.jpg

Tail Biting (all the jagged spikey edges): https://sphotos-a-sjc.xx.fbcdn.net/h...62216789_n.jpg


I always recommend using Aquarium Salt before trying any medications, simply because most things can be cured with some salt and fresh water. If you had a fish who turned black and died after adding salt it honestly was probably something that was horribly wrong with the fish and he/she just happened to have had the last straw and died.

It's 1 teaspoon per US gallon. If you can find it get API Stress Coat+ and use that as your water conditioner from now on, it's by far the best water conditioner to use on sick, possibly sick, or stress easy fish (I've used it for years and use it for my normal conditioner). It's very possible that its your water conditioner that has caused this problem, bad bottles or expired products often create problems like this. Keep the heater on, and do daily water changes. Hopefully you'll see and improvement soon.

Having a healthy diet can also help him get better faster. New Life Spectrum for Bettas is excellent nutritious food, so is the Small Fish Formula if he ever happens to get bloated from normal foods. Frozen Glassworms would be an excellent food to feed him too, as frozen or live foods are the most nutritious. Keep away from Brine Shrimp and Daphnia for now though, even though they are good for the fish they aren't meant to be a every day food as they both are natural laxatives. Also remember to not feed any Bloodworms right now either, they have 0 nutrition and shouldn't be fed to a recouping fish.
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Old 09-09-2013, 11:11 PM   #9 
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I shined my lamp on him, and I don't see any ick. I would really like to stay away from using AQ salt again if I can. Gypsy seems to be feeling fine, and I just don't want to risk killing him if the situation isn't life or death yet. I've seen mixed reviews about the salt, so I thinK I'll try everything else first.

I actually do feed him New Life Spectrum pellets, and he loves them. That's all he's ever had since the day I got him.

I'll get some of that API Stress Coat+ conditioner and use it for his next 100% water change on Sunday.
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Old 09-09-2013, 11:17 PM   #10 
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Also, what are y'all's opinions on Vita Chem? I bought a bottle for a betta I had earlier this year that later died of fungus (we didn't know it was fungus until it was too late to save him), and it seemed to only make him worse until I stopped giving it to him with his food. Do you think that it could help or hurt in this situation?
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