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Old 02-09-2010, 06:20 PM   #1 
kuklachica
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Another one bites his tail

Argh! Another one of my guys started biting his tail. I have had him for a month, in a divided tank. It is only the last 4 days that I have noticed that his tail is ragged. It looks like my last HM guy when he bit his tail. The only new variables are a new "trunk" decoration and seeing a new guy across the room (that guy has since left and found a new home with a family at my church). I also removed the trunk yesterday... it had some rough spots that might have ripped his tail. He is in a part of the tank that is hard to see the rest of the house. He is kind of high strung (Swimming in laps all the time). What can I try/do? Since this is so new I can only think of those variables.

What can I do to heal/help? I am getting some kritter keepers in the mail soon... should I try to put him in one so he can see more?

Thank you for the help!
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Old 02-09-2010, 06:41 PM   #2 
PinkDiamond
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Tail biting can be so frustrating sometimes, especially when it's hard to figure out the cause! My little guy bites his tail like crazy, but there are a few things I've found that help:

(1) My betta bites his tail incessantly when he feels insecure. So make sure your little guy has TONS of plants and hiding places in his tank. My betta used to see his reflection on the back tank wall and would constantly patrol the tank, watching for "reflection betta" and then biting his own tail. I had to put a ton of fake plants in to block out most of the back of the tank, and that calmed him down a TON! Also, I've got some tall vases on either side of this tank which block his view out of the tank from the sides, and his tank is nearly up against a wall, so he really only sees movement from the front of his tank. I think this has contributed to calming him as well.

Could your little guy be stressed by being in the divided tank with another fish? I've seen a few tail-biters who will turn and attack themselves if they're constantly seeing other bettas but aren't able to get at them. That would be the first thing I'd suspect, especially since you say he's always swimming laps, which could be constantly pacing/patrolling his territory, and maybe the stress of the other fish is just getting to him more now?

(2) I think that tail biting can be kind of a neurotic behavior in response to stress, in the same way that cats will pull their fur out. Make sure that the water conditions are pristine so that they aren't a source of stress for him, and that he's in a large enough tank with enough things to explore so that he's not bored.

Last edited by PinkDiamond; 02-09-2010 at 06:45 PM.
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Old 02-09-2010, 06:57 PM   #3 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PinkDiamond View Post
Tail biting can be so frustrating sometimes, especially when it's hard to figure out the cause! My little guy bites his tail like crazy, but there are a few things I've found that help:

(1) My betta bites his tail incessantly when he feels insecure. So make sure your little guy has TONS of plants and hiding places in his tank. My betta used to see his reflection on the back tank wall and would constantly patrol the tank, watching for "reflection betta" and then biting his own tail. I had to put a ton of fake plants in to block out most of the back of the tank, and that calmed him down a TON! Also, I've got some tall vases on either side of this tank which block his view out of the tank from the sides, and his tank is nearly up against a wall, so he really only sees movement from the front of his tank. I think this has contributed to calming him as well.

Could your little guy be stressed by being in the divided tank with another fish? I've seen a few tail-biters who will turn and attack themselves if they're constantly seeing other bettas but aren't able to get at them. That would be the first thing I'd suspect, especially since you say he's always swimming laps, which could be constantly pacing/patrolling his territory, and maybe the stress of the other fish is just getting to him more now?

(2) I think that tail biting can be kind of a neurotic behavior in response to stress, in the same way that cats will pull their fur out. Make sure that the water conditions are pristine so that they aren't a source of stress for him, and that he's in a large enough tank with enough things to explore so that he's not bored.
Thank you for the help! Now that I think of it, I did add a background to the tank a little over a week ago.. I wonder if that is bothering him since he can see his reflection now. He paces the FRONT part of the tank, usually only when he sees me (he is a PIG even tho I feed him 2 pellets in AM and PM). He doesn't seem to care about the other two guys on his other side.

I am in the middle of cycling the tank (fish in cycle). When I have tested the water the Amm has never been over .25 and I do water changes at the point. No nitrites or nitrates yet. It is a 20 gal divided 4 ways so they each have 5 gallons. He almost always spends his time at the top of the tank, but I have caught him sleeping at the bottom the past few nights. I also need to find taller plants (silk) so he can hide in at the top.

Do you think I should take the background off?

Should I put him in his own tank?

What would be the best next step?
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:14 PM   #4 
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I might try taking the backing off, at least on his section of the tank, before you go to the trouble of moving him to his own tank.

When I was still trying to figure out what was stressing my betta, I put a backer on his tank, thinking it would shield him, and he just went crazy - like, he went from pacing in the tank, to flaring and attacking the back aquarium wall, where I could clearly see his reflection in front of him. I couldn't even distract him from ramming his nose into the tank, so the backer lasted about 2.5 mins! That's when I realized what the real problem was.

The backer was a big problem, and then adding plants to block out the back of the aquarium sealed the deal and stopped his biting (knock on wood), so that's the route I might recommend first. My guy took a few days to calm down, and had a few relapse bites before he was fully settled. :p

If those changes don't work over a few days, maybe the next step would be a tank by himself, or at least an end unit in the divided tank, if he's not in one? So that he's only got one other betta next to him as opposed to one on each side? I've never done a divided tank, so I don't have a ton of experience with the dynamic between the males.

Your water parameters sound good for a cycle, and a cycled tank will be so nice for all the fishies, so here's hoping your guy can stay in the tank!
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:29 PM   #5 
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Yeah, my guy started biting his tail like crazy when I put him in a divided tank for the first time. He had been in a kritter keeper the rest of the time I had him. Now he's back in a kritter keeper and he's stopped biting... So that might be the problem. I hope things work out!
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Old 02-09-2010, 09:04 PM   #6 
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Did you put him in the same tank where your HM was? I've been thinking and you may want to try feeding some crushed fresh garlic to your fish... all this biting could be caused by parasites.. the garlic will flush out the parasites.. there are also medicines but thats not my area of expertise.
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Old 02-10-2010, 06:56 AM   #7 
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This guy and the other that bit his tail were never in the same tank... I caught him looking at the back of the tank this morning, so I will try taking the background off tonight. If I were to treat with meds, what would be the best?

And he is not in a end-unit condo in the tank... should I move him? Or would that stress him more at this point?

Last edited by kuklachica; 02-10-2010 at 06:59 AM.
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Old 02-10-2010, 11:28 PM   #8 
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Personally, I would just do one thing at a time. First maybe try removing the backer and then give it a day or two to see if the biting stops (ie: the tail stop fraying/receding). Then if he seems to still be biting, maybe I'd try moving him. Then you'll have a better idea of what factor was/is stressing him.

As far as medication... I don't want to recommend anything if you're not sure you need it right now. Being on a course of medication is stressful to a fish physically, and I wouldn't recommend using any kind of medication you're treating something and you know what it is. For now, I'd just make sure that his aquarium water is as perfectly clean as possible and let him heal on his own. If he needs the assistance of medication, then use it/look into what to use for his specific problem.

Bacterial infections (fin rot) can develop from fin wounds, and they could be treated with various antibiotics, like Maracyn and Marcyn 2 used in combination, or Kanamycin. Fungal infections can also develop in fin wounds but are less common. I don't have extensive experience treating fin infections, but I've dealt with many very severe tail biting issues, and my fish were able to heal fabulously without medication. As far as parasites go, I've never heard of a fish biting his fins because of parasitic irritation, but I'm sure it could happen, but again, you'd need to have an idea of what parasite is present to best medicate against it.

Here's hoping your little guy relaxes soon, is able to heal up on his own, and doesn't need our advice on fishy meds. :)

Last edited by PinkDiamond; 02-10-2010 at 11:32 PM. Reason: more info
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