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Old 07-17-2010, 01:30 AM   #1 
kakashikage
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Question Ragged fins?

I feel like I've posted quite a lot on these forums in very few days, but this is my first betta, so I have tons of questions; I just want to make sure I'm keeping him happy and healthy!
I've only had Amadeus for about a week now, he is in a one-gallon tank with an undergravel filter. No heater yet, as I am low on funds, but I have plans to buy both a larger tank (3 or 4 gallon) and a heater as soon as I get paid. I live in Texas and keep my apartment fairly warm, so his tank has stayed around 78-80 degrees without a heater (I did buy a small thermometer to keep track of that).
He's an orange & black veil tail betta, and one of his front fins (pelvic fins?) has a bent white tip. Is this normal, or is this a cause for concern? (It has been that way since I rescued him from being thrown out with wedding decorations and has not gotten better or worse since then)
Also, his fins seem to look very ragged in general. From what I've been able to learn through research, it doesn't look like fin rot (there is no dark edge around his fins). His fins just look ragged, and there seem to be little lumps or knots on them. What does this mean??
Thank you all so much for your help, I don't know what I'd do without these forums!
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Old 07-17-2010, 02:09 AM   #2 
MustardGas
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Ragged like this?


He could be a tail-biter. Usually this happens when the betta doesn't have enough room to be happy, and it causes neurotic behaviours such as seen above.
Upgrading his home and adding a heater should stop it.
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Old 07-17-2010, 06:32 AM   #3 
Shawtee
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it sound like you have a crown tail, i had some of the same problem, there is a kind of disease called somethign like "white tip" so it might be worth researching that, as for the knots i dont know what you can do i just hoped mine would undo its knots x
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Old 07-17-2010, 10:08 AM   #4 
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Looks like tail biting to me. My Frank is an avid tail biter, its quite frustrating. Its usually caused by stress or boredom. Try placing colourful toys and such around his tank so he has something to look at C: If its stress related, check if his water temp is fluctuating at all and make sure you're keeping up with water changes (for a 1 gallon tank you should be doing water changes pretty regularly)

Although one of the more knowledgeable members could probably tell you more and I could be completely wrong, so if it isn't tail biting, well, ignore me. 8D
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Old 07-17-2010, 10:42 AM   #5 
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Could he be ripping his fins on something? Or he could be a tail biter
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Old 07-17-2010, 11:02 AM   #6 
kakashikage
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Thank you all so much! I have read a bit about tail-biting, and I haven't actually seen him do it, but it does look very similar to the picture that MustardGas posted.
I'm going to the pet store today to have them test the water and to pick whatever supplies I need to make sure the water quality is good, so I can look at bigger aquariums, heaters, and something fun to put in his tank. I don't have much in the way of funds, but I'm hoping I can find good deals on those within the next week and Amadeus will be much happier soon!
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Old 07-17-2010, 12:00 PM   #7 
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Can you post a pic?
How much and how often on the water changes and what kind of substrate are you using?
Sometimes just the drag over the gravel can cause the ragged fins and once there is an opening you risk a secondary infection and the best way to prevent that is with 50% daily water changes since you have an UGF....
IMO in that tank I would be doing daily 50% anyway
Also, make sure nothing is in the tank that could snag his fins and cause damage
Remove any uneaten food after feeding to keep the water quality high between water changes.
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Old 07-17-2010, 12:20 PM   #8 
kakashikage
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Currently I have gravel as the substrate (just plain old gravel from Petsmart), but I've been concerned about that, too. What can I add to help him stay off the gravel?
I've been doing 50%-75% daily water changes, except for the first three days because I wanted to give him some time to settle. I haven't gotten the water tested yet (I know, I really should have), but I am taking some to get tested today and I intend to buy some test strips for the future.
As far as feeding goes, I use pellets and I give them to him one at a time. He has already learned to associate my finger with food (it's how I signal him to come up to get it), and he will sit at the top until I give him the third pellet, and then he swims away. So far I only had to remove extra food once, on the first day. I read somewhere that it can help their digestion to fast them one day a week, is this true?
I tried to get a picture of his fins, but he doesn't like to sit still for very long and my camera simply will not focus through the acrylic.
Based on what I've read and the advice I've gotten from here, I think I'm going to focus on getting him into a bigger tank and finding a good heater. I noticed that this morning his tank was at 72, while it was around 78 last night, so I think the temperature is fluctuating more than I thought, and a heater will hopefully help with that.
Again, thank you to everyone, I greatly appreciate the help, and I know Amadeus appreciates it too!
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Old 07-17-2010, 12:29 PM   #9 
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Since you have an UGF you need gravel to make it work properly, and it seems that you can get ragged fins from gravel in any size tank, some gravel is less sharp than others...but I have no idea which ones...I use dirt and sand and those will not work with UGF.
You can fast once a week without any problems IMO/E
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Old 07-17-2010, 12:41 PM   #10 
kakashikage
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Thank you, OFL! I am so glad to have confirmation of that!
I saw some "smooth river gravel" somewhere (maybe online?) so I'm going to do some hunting for it to see if it might be smoother gravel (as the name implies) that will not tear his fins up.
I have a plastic plant in there, as well, and although it seemed to have smooth edges to me, I'm worried it might still be hurting him. I'm going to buy him a nice, soft silk plant today and donate the plastic plant to my parents' aquarium.
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