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Old 01-08-2011, 08:31 PM   #1 
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Location: N.E. Wisconsin
Tail Biting or Fin Rot?

What size is your tank? 10 Gallons
What temperature is your tank? 81*F
Does your tank have a filter? Yes. It now has a Fluval Pre-Filter sponge on the intake - new since I saw Ulmo's talk (looking over other posts). It's always had the DIY bottle barrister.
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Yes. A small airstone in the corner opposite of the filter, with the bubbles at low-blow. It's a fine-bubble bubble stone, I have the cord crimped. It's just to keep the plants from being covered by protein film.
Is your tank heated? Yes.
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? Three ghost shrimp.

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Hikari Betta Biogold, Betta Buffet, baby ghost shrimp (I have Petsmart find the small ones - Ulmo likes chasing and eating the really small ones), and freeze-dried bloodworms.
How often do you feed your betta fish? He fasts at least one day a week. Some days he gets fed less than other days. I mix it up. He either gets: One large meal of three pellets/worms. One baby ghost shrimp. A pinch of Betta Buffet. OR. One pellet/worm three times a day spaced out.


How often do you perform a water change? Once a week, maybe twice depending on the water parameters.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 25-50% once a week.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? I add Nutrafin Aquaplus Water Conditioner and Stress Coat.

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia: A yellow between 0.0 and 0.25. (My water automatically has a small amount of ammonia. A few days, and it lowers.)
Nitrite: 0.0
Nitrate: Around 10 ppm
pH: 7.7-7.9 (He gets lethargic below this, and my water has a high pH to begin with.)
Hardness: NA.
Alkalinity: NA.

I test my water faithfully once a week. These have been generally steady readings over the past two weeks.

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? His tail has gotten "shreddy"-looking. It's either fin rot, tail biting, or a blown tail.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He's more active. He's not as flare-y, though. He used to flare at EVERYTHING, which makes me think blown tail. Now he's not flaring as much?
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Overnight. A few days ago.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? I added a little bit of aquarium salt to his tank. I'm avoiding medication, and am considering doing salt baths, but I kind of want advice to begin with?
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No. Not at all.
How old is your fish (approximately)? I got him from the pet store about a month ago. I'd say maybe 6 months to a year.

I've since gone through and done the nylon test on every plant, every surface of that tank. Only one didn't pass, and that was a plant he avoided anyway because it was right next to the filter?

He did have a flare-ing frenzy at Muriel for a while there, since her tank was next to his and the two went nuts at each other for a while. I've since moved her.

I added a Fluval Pre-Filter sponge to my filter uptake, just in case. I've also added more live plants (anubias nana x1, java fern x2, wisteria x1, cabomba x2, and various swords x3) to his tank to slow the filter flow/water current. I have tried to give him areas of no current in his tank, too. He now has NO plastic plants (he only had 1 to begin with), several live plants, and several silk plants. I did raise the temperature of his tank a degree (From 79.5* to 81*), since a lot of threads say that can help?

I've also tired to give him more protein in his diet, recently with some raw shrimp minced - one or two little bites instead of a pellet. This is because OFL said in a thread that I found somewhere on here to up the protein.

He's a very active fish, and he's incredibly inter-active and curious, which makes me think that he might be getting bored - thus tail biting. So I got him the ghost shrimp, and since then he hasn't lost any more of his tail, just the little shreddies are falling off. No NEW chunks or slices. He chases the ghost shrimp around and plays with those now, instead of just chillin' out in the corner or whatever. He SEEMS happier.

If I need to, I'm more than willing to get a one-gallon tank, with a heater, and quarantine him in there until he gets better. He's a wonderful fish!

Here is a link to a Photobucket Album with several pictures of Ulmo's tail:

I'm not sure it's Fin Rot, since there's no black edge or fungal looking anything. But I'm not familiar with it? He refuses to flare, so no pictures of that, really. I'll try to get more/better pictures later this evening.

I appreciate any input.
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:10 PM   #2 
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OK. I've gotten new photos of him.

I think it IS fin rot, now. I'm not sure.

No responses - what does someone with more experience think this is?

I currently have him in a quarantine tank at 2.5 gallons, at 81* F. I have a small amount of aquarium salt in the tank, and treated the water with Amquel Plus Water Conditioner and Kordon Fish Protector. I also put in some API Fungus Cure. I've been gutloading some molly babies from the tank at my parents', and bringing them here. I have my molly girl in a little breeder tank thing so her babies float under her. They're about 2-3 days old. He's been eating those (so he looks fat). One a day, with a pellet. He fasted on Sunday.

I've been emptying the water in this tank like once a day. The green tint is from the Fungus Cure. The fungus cure says to add two doses, then do a 25% water change after 48 hours. Considering this is NOT filtered, and it's a betta, in 2.5 gallons (I had to measure this powder out using 1/8 teaspoons - ACK) - should I also lessen the time, so he doesn't have ammonia problems or anything?

He has these little chunks of shreddy fin that fall off and float in the water :{ I'm so worried about him.

Instead of just the link from before, here's a photo.

There's not gonna be many more photos - I'm afraid to make him flare or anything that'll make him stressed out. Right now, I have his tank covered and dark so he stays calm.

Does it look or seem like fin rot to any of you? Is Fungus Cure safe? Any specific suggestions?

Also, do I have to hardcore clean the 10G? It's a fungus, so does that mean it's spore-related? Do I need to worry about the ghost shrimp or the filter cartridge or anything?

Last edited by Torat; 01-10-2011 at 10:15 PM.
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:37 PM   #3 
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Yikes! Looks like my fish, Fishwish. He's a chronic tail biter Right now he has a pretty poor excuse for a tail!

At first I thought mine was getting fin rot over and over, but it made no sense seeing as how my water was kept super crystal clean/perfect condition. We went for months like this, first he'd get better and start growing everything back and then one morning I'd get up and his fins and tail were all tattered! But the other week I caught him doing it, chasing his tail like a's very sad. I've tried pretty much everything to get him to stop but he's such a hyper and crazy fish (very interactive, like yours) which I've never experienced before in a betta to this degree, so I think that just maybe it's one of those things you can't stop....

Keep your water super clean, try some Maracyn Two. If it keeps happening, chances are, it's tailbiting Silly fishes!
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Old 01-11-2011, 06:58 PM   #4 
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Looks like tail biting to me. I thought the same thing when my fish started biting.
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Old 01-11-2011, 08:18 PM   #5 
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How do I get him to stop?
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Old 01-11-2011, 08:52 PM   #6 
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I wish I had an answer... It's very controversial. I would just make sure your water params are good so he doesn't get fin rot. The tail will grow back if you take good care of it but probably not as long or as pretty. It's sad, I know.
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