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Old 11-22-2010, 11:14 AM   #1 
jryan727
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Pectoral (?) fin rot? Please help!

Hello,

I just joined these forums, I've been reading them for a while, though, and have gotten a lot of useful information. My girlfriend gave me a male betta about a year ago, and I had no idea how to take care of him. I had him in a bowl, then a larger bowl, until last week, when he looked unhappy, and I decided to learn how to properly care for him. I did a lot of research, and decided to get a 6.6 gallon tank. It has a filter (which I keep as low as possible to avoid a lot of water movement) and a heater that keeps the tank around 74-78 degrees. I have three live plants, and followed the instructions that came with my tank to condition my water and start a bacteria cycle. Everything seems to be going well, I've tested my water a few times, and the pH is high and the alkalinity is low (which is why I can't keep my pH stable)? But other than that, my betta seems happy and was adapting well to his new home. Unfortunately, last night I noticed that his right fin looks very thin. I believe this is called his "pectoral" fin. I've done some frantic research, but I'm not sure what I'm even dealing with, and I don't want to make things worse by treating the wrong problem. To make things worse, I'm going away for a week and a half on Friday.

I've attached a picture of each fin. You can see that his right fin is much thinner than his left.

I have to run out to work now, I'll try to get some better pictures when I return. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I understand that there's a lot of information on here and on other forums and sources regarding fin rot, but I'd like to make sure that's what this is before I continue researching that.

Thank you!

Jimmy
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Old 11-22-2010, 11:51 AM   #2 
Oldfishlady
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Sorry you are having problems...have a few questions....

In the 6.6gal filtered tank-how much and how often are the water changes, how much and what type of additives used, what kind of plants, and can you post your water pram numbers, what kind and how much on the food/feeding, how long has he been in the new set up?
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Old 11-22-2010, 02:58 PM   #3 
jryan727
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
Sorry you are having problems...have a few questions....

In the 6.6gal filtered tank-how much and how often are the water changes, how much and what type of additives used, what kind of plants, and can you post your water pram numbers, what kind and how much on the food/feeding, how long has he been in the new set up?
Sure, I'm sorry I didn't include this info in my original post.

I just set the tank up last week on Tuesday morning. I moved my betta into it on Wednesday evening. I used a conditioner (nutrafin aqua+) that came with the tank, which is made by Fluval. And then a bacteria (also Nutrafin, but I forget what it was called) that I added on the first, second, and third day the tank was set up, per the instructions with the tank.

Before I moved him, I brought the pH down with API pH Down, to match the pH in his bowl, because I didn't know if the drastic change in pH would be bad for him.

I haven't changed the water yet. I only had the tank about 3/4 full when I added him, then the next day I slowly added the rest of the water to fill the tank. I'm not sure how often to change the water. I don't have a good pet store by me, and the employees at Pet Smart don't seem all that knowledgeable. There's also a lot of conflicting information on the Internet.

The pH is around 7.6-7.8. Alkalinity was around 80ppm. Chlorine is 0. Nitrite was a little above 0 when I checked today, around .25 I'd say. Nitrate was a little above 0, and definitely below 20. I'm using a strip style test that tests everything on one strip, so it's hard to tell exactly what these values are. I also have another pH tester that I use to confirm the pH readings from the strip test.

I feed him "betta bites" which are a pellet and freeze dried blood worms (I try to give him more pellets than blood worms, because as I understand, they're more nutritional, but he loves the blood worms). I feed him every other day or every two days, usually every other day. He hasn't been eating as much in the new tank, because I think he has trouble finding the food. But once I get his attention and he sees it, he eats.

If you have any other questions please let me know, I just want him to get better :)

Thank you so much for your response

Jimmy

Last edited by jryan727; 11-22-2010 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 11-22-2010, 03:26 PM   #4 
Oldfishlady
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In a 6.6gal filtered tank during the cycling period I would start a twice weekly water changes of 50% and with one to include the substrate with either a vacuum or stir and dip method-once the cycle is complete one weekly 50% with substrate cleaning should maintain water quality.

What kind of live plants do you have?


It is hard for me to see from the pic exactly what is going on with his fins, however, lots of water changes usually will help along with a high protein diet-I would increase your feeding to daily to promote healing-make sure nothing is in the tank that could be causing any injury too-sometimes plastic plants can be the cause, large rocks that can pinch the fins especially the ventral fins (the ones under the body in the head area) side fins or pectoral fins can also become wedged and torn on items they tend to squeeze between like the heater, filter, decoration too close to the walls

Since this is a new problem since you just added him to the new tank it is most likely related to an injury of some type and you want to prevent a secondary infection with water changes.

Your pH is fine-you want a stable pH-they will tolerate slow changes like when your source water gases out-less chemical additives the better IMO/E

The best medication in my opinion/experience- is fresh clean dechlorinated water and lots of water changes-right now-I would do 50% daily water changes and improve nutrition
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Old 11-22-2010, 03:36 PM   #5 
jryan727
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
In a 6.6gal filtered tank during the cycling period I would start a twice weekly water changes of 50% and with one to include the substrate with either a vacuum or stir and dip method-once the cycle is complete one weekly 50% with substrate cleaning should maintain water quality.

What kind of live plants do you have?


It is hard for me to see from the pic exactly what is going on with his fins, however, lots of water changes usually will help along with a high protein diet-I would increase your feeding to daily to promote healing-make sure nothing is in the tank that could be causing any injury too-sometimes plastic plants can be the cause, large rocks that can pinch the fins especially the ventral fins (the ones under the body in the head area) side fins or pectoral fins can also become wedged and torn on items they tend to squeeze between like the heater, filter, decoration too close to the walls

Since this is a new problem since you just added him to the new tank it is most likely related to an injury of some type and you want to prevent a secondary infection with water changes.

Your pH is fine-you want a stable pH-they will tolerate slow changes like when your source water gases out-less chemical additives the better IMO/E

The best medication in my opinion/experience- is fresh clean dechlorinated water and lots of water changes-right now-I would do 50% daily water changes and improve nutrition
Ok, great! Thank you so much for your reply.

I've read/heard that there's some kind of bacteria that forms in the gravel and helps break down food and waste so that the plants can consume it, or something along those lines. And since that's the case, that changing water from the bottom is a bad idea, since it will remove that bacteria. Is there any merit to that? I've also read exactly what you said, so I just want to verify that 50% water changes, sometimes from the substrate, makes sense in this scenario.

It's very possible that he developed this injury in the bowl and I never noticed. It was tough to get a good look at him in the bowl because the shape sort of distorted him. It's possible that I'm just noticing this now that I moved him to this tank, or he actually developed it in this tank.

I know it's hard to see what I'm talking about in the pictures, but his right fin appears significantly more thin than his left one. I provided a picture of both for comparison.

I'm sad to say that I'm not entirely sure what types of plants I have, the employee at the pet store said that they were all fine for a betta tank, so I didn't think to note which ones I was purchasing. I attached a picture of the tank so you can see the three plants, if that helps at all.

I don't believe anything in the tank is hurting him, I took care in ensuring everything would be safe for him. I will begin feeding him daily today, but how long should I continue that? I have my uncle coming over every other day or every two days to feed him while I'm away next week, do you think he'll be ok? If not, I can try to work something out to get him fed every day. This is just horrible timing
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Old 11-22-2010, 04:03 PM   #6 
Oldfishlady
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Since you are going to be gone for 7 days-you may want to hold off on feeding until you get back or limit the food more due to water quality and no water changes during that time-if the only thing that is wrong is a thinned pectoral fin and overall he is healthy I would just do the daily water changes until you leave and feed him daily and then start back on the water changes when you come home.

In filtered tanks you have nitrifying bacteria that occur in the tank that can help by breaking down and converting ammonia and nitrite-these bacteria are sticking and adhere to everything inside the tank-like the walls, decorations, plants both fake and real, in the top layer of substrate and in the filter media-very little are in the water column itself so water only changes will not slow or hurt the nitrogen cycle process.....over cleaning the substrate and filter media can slow the process and even cause a mini cycle of sorts

By only cleaning the substrate every 7 days (weekly) in all areas that can be reach without moving anything or disruption of plant root will help maintain water quality and help the nitrifying bacteria colonize and get the needed oxygen in the substrate

Same with the filter media-it needs a swish/rinse in old tank water with a water changes a couple of times a month and when the water flow slows to get the big pieces of gunk off to maintain good water flow-by cleaning the filter media in chlorinated water or changing it you can destroy the good bacteria and/or remove it and you can cause a mini cycle or spikes, you want your filter media to look dirty (good bacteria) but still have good water flow.

You have other things that go on in a closed system that we can't test for that are also harmful to our fish besides the ammonia, nitrite and high nitrate...you also have DOC's or dissolved organic compounds that can only be removed by water changes or lots and lots of live active growing stem and floating plants
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