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Old 11-24-2009, 02:50 PM   #1 
Nauriel
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Yet another thread asking if my betta has fin rot or is a tail biter.

Hello! I have two bettas. One is a female, and the other is a male. The female is perfectly fine, but the male is not. It seems that almost overnight his fins have become really shredded.

He usually lives in a ten gallon tank with a filter, heater, and two live java ferns (as well as a couple fake plants). It seems like his fins have always been a bit ragged at the ends, but they never got bad, and he didn't seem sick at all, so I didn't worry. However, I think he might have started fin biting. Friday afternoon I took the train and drove (a trip that, involving waiting for the train, took about eight and a half hours.) During that time he was kept in a tupperware container, and sloshed around a bit (I tried my best to keep him still, but with an armfull of luggage there's only so much you can do) When I finally got home, I took both of my bettas to my room and placed them in my empty ten gallon tank. The next day I bought two one gallon containers for temporary housing, because I am only going to be at my house for a week and I didn't want to completely set up two different tanks only to take them down again in a couple days.

In these one gallon containers I placed some hornwort from my mother's pond, as well as a couple rocks from the garden. I washed off the rocks and plants as best as I could before putting them in the tank.

They both seemed to be doing pretty well on Sunday and monday. However, today I noticed that my male betta's caudal fin was shredded pretty badly, and he was just sitting still. He could be sitting still because he's used to having a lot of space, but I'm worried about his fins. His pectoral and pelvic fin seem fine, and his dorsal fin and anal fin are only slightly shredded.

For water conditioner I used stress coat, the API brand that you can get at PetSmart.

I've also heard that excessive lighting can trigger stress. Is this true? There isn't any artificial light that filters into his tank(except for the lights on the tank) but the light is on for a pretty long time, and he gets indirect sunlight as well.

He's always been a bit prone to stress. When I first got him, he hid for the first two weeks, and did the same thing when I moved him to a bigger tank.

Now that I've written this novel of a post, I guess that it seems he is a fin biter, rather than having fin rot.

I guess my question is how to prevent it, and how to heal the already shredded fins. Also, would darkening his container when I brought him back help relieve some of his stress?

Here are some pictures, so you can better see what I am talking about.
http://img689.imageshack.us/img689/1579/img1164y.jpg
http://img257.imageshack.us/img257/3830/img1166s.jpg
http://img694.imageshack.us/img694/6296/img1167x.jpg
http://img338.imageshack.us/img338/8120/img1169c.jpg
http://img214.imageshack.us/img214/5392/img1173g.jpg
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Old 11-24-2009, 03:23 PM   #2 
kelly528
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How long has this been going on for?
How fast does it happen?
Is there any fuzz or discoloration on the edges?
Any water parameters for us?
Are they in the 1 or 10g currently?
How often do you clean the tank?
How much water do you change?
How often do you leave the light on for?
Can you get a picture of him flaring?

Moving a betta from an unlit tank to a lit tank can trigger tailbiting IME. But from the pictures it looks like rot. Tailbiting has more of a 'crowntail' effect.
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Old 11-24-2009, 06:36 PM   #3 
Nauriel
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Thanks for your reply. I'll answer all of your questions to the best of my ability

How long has this been going on for?
~Well, it seems that the ends of his tail have always been a little ragged, but the cuts were never more than 1/3(ish) of a centimeter, the torn ends never looked unhealthy (like being black around the edges) and he didn't seemed bothered by it, so I didn't do anything about it.

How fast does it happen?
~I noticed this morning that his fins were pretty badly torn. I don't think I took a good look at him last night, but I'm almost positive that his fins were fine yesterday morning.

Is there any fuzz or discoloration on the edges?
~No fuzz or discoloration. The edges look very clean, like someone took his tail and clipped it with scissors.

Any water parameters for us?
~I don't have water test strips with me, but the water does not have a heater, so it is at room temperature (68 degrees). Also, I remember testing the water last year and making a note that the water was pretty acidic (Around 6.0-6.2). This could have stressed him out a bit because the water in my dorm is pretty basic (When transferring him to his one gallon, I replaced his water about two spoonfuls at a time so that he would gradually become accustomed to the water).

Are they in the 1 or 10g currently?
They are both in their own one gallon tank.

How often do you clean the tank?
Well, I just put them in the one gallon on saturday. I did a 1/4 water change today. In their usual tanks, I do a water change about every week or so.

How much water do you change?
1/4 of the water

How often do you leave the light on for?
~Well, back at my dorm I usually turn the lights on at about 9 in the morning and leave them on until about 10 at night. There are a couple hours in the morning when they get indirect sunlight. However, now that I am home for Thanksgiving, I've been turning their lights on at about 10:30 and turning them off at about midnight.

Can you get a picture of him flaring?
~I'm sorry, but it didn't work out. I tried to get him to flare with a mirror, but he kept running away and freaking out. I finally gave up because I was stressing him out too much. He's such a wuss :P The poor guy. I'll keep trying, but I don't want to stress him out too much.

Also, do you have any pictures of tail biting fish that I can look at? And what's the best way to heal his fins/stop him from biting?
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Old 11-25-2009, 11:22 AM   #4 
kelly528
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Here is a pic of MidnightAngel's tailbiter.

Don't get test strips, they're really unreliable and less economical than liquid test kits.

If they used to be in the 10g, the 1gs are probably really stressing them out. Lord knows my guy would flip if I tried to squeeze him back in a bowl.

Low temps will also prevent healing.

Lighting is fine.

I'm not sure why you took them out of the 10g, but you should put them in heated tanks again. Heaters keep the temp more stable and dorm are very unstable as far as temperature goes.

Any parties/large get-togethers in your room? Loud music, people talking etc will wig them out a little.

In a 1g bowl you will need to change the water 100% every 2-3 days to keep it clean enough.


To Make It Heal:

-Remove stressors
-Keep tanks really clean
-Add aquarium salt
-Feed high-protein foods like frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp, tubifex if you have access to a freezer.
-Provide lots of hiding spots.
-If the 10g has a light, leave it on for no more than 8 hours per day, preferably about 4-6 hours.
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Old 11-25-2009, 04:57 PM   #5 
Nauriel
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Okay, thanks for the advice.

The reason I put them in the one gallon is because I came home for thanksgiving week. The two tanks that they normally live in are about six hours away in my dorm room :P.

Yesterday evening and today he seems to be more active. He hasn't lost his keen interest in food, which is good, and his tail, although still torn, doesn't seem to be getting infected.

I bought some aquarium salt and added that, so hopefully that will help.

He doesn't seem to be sick at all, so I think he'll be fine. (On a side note, my female now has those vertical lines that means she's ready to spawn. Go figure...)
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