Thanks for the suggestions guys. I will cover his tank with a towel tomorrow morning, just in case. And when I have time to get to the store (will have to be Friday) I will pick up some ping pong balls. I bet my hyperactive female would love playing with those too! I really hope he stops this. If he continues to do it, is it going to be a serious problem? I mean I know he'll be at risk for fin rot and infection, but if he chews off enough fins, will it make it difficult for him to swim? Or can he live ok like this?
Well, like I said, Nettle literally bit his fins down so far that he looks like a plakat. Once he had done it I just did small water changes daily and used AQ salt to help stave off infection.. now that the wounds are closed he's just starting to grow new tissue. Basically, clean, warm water and a high protein diet will be your best friends. Nettle gets bloodworms more often than he normally does just to help that new growth.
I saw in a thread Capricorn posted that Nettle's tail biting could possibly be caused by parasites. I considered that this could be a possibility for Arcturus as well--his biting is only getting worse: his caudal fin is just a few wisps, his dorsal fin is practically nonexistent, and his anal fin is shredded.
Today he did not look good; when I came downstairs in the morning I thought he was dead. I pushed the tank a little bit and he still didn't move. I took off the lid to remove what I thought was a dead fish, and he slowly started swimming around. Today he has been holding himself sort of diagonally (head angled up), rather than horizontally like a normal fish. Could this be a symptom of parasites, or does it sound more like SBD? He seemed to have a lot of trouble swimming (I don't know if that's because of the fins, or some other issue) so I removed about half of the water from his tank so he could surface more easily. He then went to the bottom of the tank and just lay there. When I got home from work he looked a tiny bit better (I could at least tell he was alive!) but he still wasn't swimming much, and was still just sort of hanging out diagonally. His recent behavior is making me wonder if his tail biting might be a symptom of some other issue. Any thoughts?
I tried feeding him pellets soaked in garlic; if there are parasites it might kill them, and if there aren't it shouldn't hurt him. But every time I try, he just spits them out! Is there anything else I can do? Would they still be effective if I soak them for less time?
I'm also considering upgrading him to a five gallon. I don't want to stress him with all these tank changes, but maybe he'd be happier in a bigger tank. I know it's possible that the tail biting could be triggered by nothing at all, but I want to try everything just in case there is a reason for it.
He had not eaten before the pictures were taken. Do you think he does look bloated? I didn't think he did but maybe....This is all so frustrating. If he has parasites I want to feed the garlic pellets (provided he actually eats them) but if it's sbd. I'll want to fast him. So now I don't know what I should do! In any case, I will try epsom salt, maybe that will help.
After a few feedings, he did finally begin to accept the garlic-soaked pellets. I added epsom salt both in case he had a swim bladder issue, and to prevent finrot; I also added decaf green tea to his water while I wait for my shipment of IAL. Almost immediately he improved--he has energy and is no longer hanging there with a drooping tail. I don't know if it was the garlic-pellets, the epsom salt, or the dark water...maybe a combination of everything. So I'm still not totally sure what was wrong with him.
His tail has looked awful for several days now, so it's really hard to tell if he is still biting it or not. Though if he is still tail-biting, he's not doing it nearly as much/as quickly as he was before. I guess time will tell if he heals nicely and stops altogether.
Actually Nettle just passed away overnight. ): Not quite sure what happened, he didn't show any symptoms aside from not eating yesterday morning. Luckily whatever it was it was quick.. I'm not sure if it was related to his fin issue. I sort of want to think that he was maybe older than I thought he was, when his fins were whole they were very long. I'm okay with it, though! I'm sad but I know that I did my best for him and that I gave him everything he needed.