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Old 07-09-2010, 08:35 PM   #11 
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Location: Portland, Oregon
Wow, so I'm laying in bed, watching Charlie in his tank. I noticed him swimming in circles. But when I got up to view what he was doing closer, he stopped, so I laid back down and pretended I wasn't watching him. He started swimming in circles again... he was biting his tail! I've never seen him do this before, so my guess is, he does it when no one is around.

So what do I do for tail biting?!
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Old 07-09-2010, 08:44 PM   #12 
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Uh-oh...Does he have places to swim through and explore?

At least you now know where the problem lies! Hope it can be fixed. I read on that tailbiting may be genetic.
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Old 07-09-2010, 08:53 PM   #13 
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Some fish bite out of boredom, some out of stress, and others just because. I've had all three and they're all equally frustrating.

I hate to tell you this but you have a hard road ahead. It can take months to figure out why a fish bites his tail and sometimes you never do. I have a fish that will bite his tail no matter what I do.

The first thing you should rule out is stress. Try leaving the light in his tank off and moving his tank to a quiet room with low traffic. If that doesn't help try enrichment exercises like giving him a mirror to flare at for 5-10 minutes a day or giving him a ping pong ball to play with in his tank.

I've seen people put hamster tubes in their tanks for their fish to swim through to combat boredom. Others change the scenery in their tank weekly/monthly so the fish is constantly looking at something new. Others have found that if you put a female within site of a male that he will focus on her instead of tailbiting.
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Old 07-09-2010, 09:28 PM   #14 
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Hmmm words for thought! As I said, I've had him for almost a year now. And almost weekly, he's had tail damage. I had gotten it to where it was more like every two weeks, by really clean water and good cleaning, feeding and lighting habits. But I'm glad to know, it's not necessarily something I did!
It's agonizing to have to try all these different things and treating with different medicines because all along, I thought he was getting fin rot a lot.

I had thought about buying him new stuff, it just seems the amount of cool decorations is limited. But I guess it's a matter of looking harder.

Someone needs to create smooth edged decor for bettas that's attractive! lol.
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Old 07-09-2010, 10:02 PM   #15 
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You can try some terracotta pots with the bottoms removed. I get the 4" kind, take a hammer and screwdriver, put the screwdriver against the bottom of the pot and tap lightly and it comes off. Then, if you want you can tap on the side of the pot and crack it in half. Just make sure you sand it down with fine sandpaper so there are no sharp edges. The pots are very cheap and sandpaper is pretty cheap, and it makes a good cave for them to swim in. Just don't put it in there with the bottom in tact, because they will try to swim through the tiny hole and will get stuck! I would also recommend boiling the pot for up to 15 mins just to make sure there's no bacteria, etc. on it. I use these in all my tanks, with natural color gravel and silk plants and they look very good and "earthy", not tacky.

You can also put in mugs, cups, etc. that have been washed in hot water. I think you could also get some PVC pipe and build something for him to swim through, but again, make sure that it is clean. Hot glue is safe, as long as it is not colored, and you could glue on a bunch of silk vines, etc. from a craft store (just make sure there are no pointy parts and no wire, because that will change your water chemistry).

How big is your tank (sorry if I missed that in a post earlier)? Is it cycled? Do you show him a mirror at all? I have 4 guys that definitely bite their tails and I am still trying to figure out why 3 of them do it! I have noticed that when I give them higher quality food, they tend to bite much less and their tails grow back faster. You might want to look into getting some New Life Spectrum small fish pellets or try Ken's Betta Crumbles, both of which I use, and my guys are doing much better on those than on the cheaper Wardley's or Aqueon I used to feed. Also, some frozen bloodworms would be very good. Having a high-protein diet will help regrow the tail faster, and might also be one of the things contributing to the tail biting.

Just some food for thought! (no pun intended! :)
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Old 07-10-2010, 12:13 AM   #16 
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Thank you. I went to Petsmart, got a little Chinese inspired decoration for him to hide in, but I have to sand some sharp edges. I also go a little critter igloo, it's plastic, I thought it'd be cute :) I also got some ping pong balls for him to play with! I got a dimmer light as well, but I don't like the glow it puts off, so
I'm going to take it back.

His tank is 5 gallons. It is cycled. And I haven't showed him a mirror yet. Sometimes he flares at my finger if I point at him a certain way, so I play with him that way. Although I do want to get a mirror.

Funny you mention the two brands I feed him, lol. I suppose I'll have to go get him better food. I do sometimes feed him frozen brine shrimp and bloodworms.

Thanks for the suggestions! I'm thinking I'm going to check out tge craft store for nifty glass things for him to hide in.
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Old 07-14-2010, 06:10 PM   #17 
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I want to find some nice decor for mine too but every silk plant I find has metal wire in it! >.< So frustrating!
I should actually go to the craft store tomorrow to look for neat glass things as well! =]
Keep us updated on the biting issue. =]
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:02 PM   #18 
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some bettas bodies are not strong enough to support large tails. you could be doing everything right and your betta just isn't meant to have a fully intact tail
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