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Old 01-24-2011, 03:25 PM   #1 
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Betta biting his own tail

My betta has been nipping on his own tail lately and has teared up most of the caudal and significant chunks of anal fin. I see this happen every few days after I get back home from work. And this usually happens on the days when he makes bubble nests.

I got him last month from a shipper in Thailand. He is a beautiful turquoise HM male and was 4 months old when I got him. He was first put in a planted 5 gal all by himself. One day I saw some fin damage and suspecting finrot moved him to a 2.5 gal QT. I treated him with Maracyn 2 for a week. Once within the treatment, I saw some other damage at another place. Looking closely I realized that it wasn't really finrot. Instead he has been nipping at his own tail. I decided to get a new 10 gal barebones tank and moved him there all by himself. I got a few real floating plants for him. There is nothing in the tank except of course a heater maintaining the temp at 80F. I do 50% water changes twice weekly.

Every few days I see that he has tried to chew at his own fin. Usually this is related to water quality issues, so I checked the water parameters which are all okay. I do use Seachem Prime for pre-treatment to remove chlorine and chloramines. Last week he chew up a significant portion of his anal fin making it look really tattered. I did a partial water change yesterday and went out of home for a few hours. After returning I saw the worse damage ever on his caudal and anal fins. I even saw very small pieces of fin lying on the bottom of the tank. He seemed to be very agitated everytime he used to go on one side of the tank. He kept flaring at something even though I couldn't find anything nearby his tank. I put a large Indian Almond Leaf in his tank last night hoping that his aggression would subside a bit. In the morning he was still showing signs of extreme flaring and aggression on one side of the tank. There was also a big bubble nest next to the amazon frogbit plant in addition to some more fin damage. I covered the problem side of the tank with a big white cloth and will check back later in the evening when I get back home.

As of now his entire caudal and back half of his anal fin are so tattered that its very hard for me to describe it. I am just heart broken that this is happening and I am not sure what I can do about it.
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Old 01-24-2011, 04:01 PM   #2 
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I am probably not the best person to try and help, since there are more experienced members here, but it seems to me that he is flaring at his reflection in the side of the tank. In my experience even without a background you can get reflected image inside of the tank, especially if the lights in the room are off and the tank light is on. I would keep the light off for a couple of days (plants should be Ok in the short term) and try and cover the area as best you can with plants and decorations to reduce the reflection. Sorry this is happening, I have had this happen with one of mine and it's pretty hard to deal with. New objects/toys in or outside of the tank (think ping-pong ball inside or brightly colored objects outside of the tank) may also help as they might hold his interest. You will have to keep on top of water parameters to make sure the lesions don't get infected and turn into fin rot. A bit of aquarium salt will help with that. Good luck!
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Old 01-24-2011, 05:57 PM   #3 
Join Date: Mar 2010
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Welcome to the forum FusionX .....fin/tail biting is one of the hardest things to deal with and the most frustrating.....

Elena gave excellent advice

I will add-that adding the IAL is a great idea and until you find the trigger or he calms down...... lots of water changes to prevent secondary infection....hopefully since he is new-maybe he needs more time to may need to place him in a small container-reason-he was most likely housed that way and the trigger may be too large of space and you may need to slowly increase the tank size-I would also mix up a 1gal jug of some treatment water and start a aquarium salt 1tsp/gal with the IAL-add 1 crushed up IAL and let it steep over night (shake well before use) and get the water as dark as it can get...the darker the better and use this pre-mixed treatment water for 100% daily water changes for 10 days...feed some high protein meaty foods small amounts several times a day

Maybe increase the container size every 3-4 days to his tolerance and tail biting-covering all sides of the container and remove one side at a time to his tolerance....dang.... it is tough dealing with tail/fin biters...the once awesome flowing fins bitten down to numbs and/or shredded and often even when you get the biting under control the fin never look the same.....

Good luck and keep us posted on what you did and what worked and didn't work...
Did you happen to get any pic before he started should post some pic regardless....
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Old 03-15-2011, 08:23 PM   #4 
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Betta tail biting

I had somewhat similar problem for more than 6 months now and I looked everywhere for a solution.
My betta is not visibly aggressive but I see him flare everytime he goes to the tank back. I tried everything and he still would not stop tail biting and it always happened when I was away. Just a week ago, his caudal fin (top) developed a terrible fin rot and completely lost (I religiously changed water every week and all my readings were great).

My betta used to be in a 15 g all by himself. I used a tank divider and started Maracyn2. Then I noticed that he is NOT biting anymore (since the last 4 days!). I am overjoyed (fingers crossed). So my conclusion is that maybe restricting his space and giving him only half the 15 gallon stopped him from biting. (Weird right, who knew lesser space would please him).

So thats my story. In your case, my opinion is that try changing the lighting angles so that he sees less of whatever he sees there and definitely redecorate. Space is clearly not the problem in your case. Hope it does not go on long, fin rot is just waiting to creep in.

Good luck!
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:25 PM   #5 
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Location: South Carolina
my copper delta, Dante, is horrid about biting his own tail. it's not always an easy fix, and the main thing is to figure out WHY he does it. with Dante, i noticed, he only bit his tail when i'd leave my room for hours, making me think that maybe i was his entertainment, and without me, he got bored. so, i added more plants to his tank, and re-arrange everything at every water change. it keeps him entertained and happy now, because he has many plants to hide in, and things are always interesting for him. since i started doing that, he's not bitten his tail once. :3

so, for your boy, try to figure out if it's stress, or boredom. try adding more plants, be they live or silk, and some hiding spots, like caves or even coffee mugs, so he can hide when he feels stressed. to help his fins heal up, i dose with aquarium salt at first, to keep infection away, and add an Indian Almond Leaf to help his fins grow back.

hope i helped. :3
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Old 04-18-2013, 06:09 PM   #6 
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Location: Oregon, USA
I noticed today that I'm having the same problem with my 6 month old HM male. He has nothing to be stressed about, and we can't divide his tank, since it's only a 2.5 gal. I don't want him to get sick with fin rot or anything... please help!!
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Old 04-19-2013, 10:15 PM   #7 
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The exact same thing is happening to my betta. He is in a 2.5 gallon tank with temp of 81. But today during dinner, he kept spazzing out and biting all his fins. He has teared them to shred and I am so worried. I added some IAL and hopefully that will help. Any other suggestions would be great. I try and keep him occupied but he always seems to bite his fins. It is so nerve racking. :P
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