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Old 07-06-2011, 12:13 PM   #1 
roadrunner
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tail biting

Hi, I had my betta Skitty for almost one year now. Lately I've noticed he was starting to bite his tail. He was in small betta condo, but I've moved him into 5G with dividers, so now he is sharing it with other two male bettas. I used white plastic mesh and he can see only shadows of one betta. This morning he had even bigger chunks ripped off of his tail. He has been in his new home for 4 days only. He seems to be happy, lots to explore, I even added almond leave in the water. Temp is around 24-25C. Any idea why he would do that? is he stressed from his new place now?
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Old 07-06-2011, 01:34 PM   #2 
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Perhaps it is just stress from moving and the new environment. You should keep the water extra clean to make sure no infection occurs. You may want to QT your betta and treat him with AQ salt. I'm currently going through a fin biting issue. I have not used salt with him. I'm keeping his water very clean and I have moved around his decorations in the tank.
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Old 07-06-2011, 03:31 PM   #3 
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He seems very happy in his new home. He flares at shadows when he sees other betta swim close to divider. Maybe he is just overwhelmed? I will keep water as clear as I can. I was hoping almond leaf will make the water more home like. I'm hoping partial water changes in my 5g will be less stressful. Previously I was doing 100% WC every 7-10 days.
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Old 07-06-2011, 03:35 PM   #4 
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Perhaps he needs more space to swim? That has been suggested as a way to eliminate tail biting. Do you have a bigger tank just for him?
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Old 07-06-2011, 04:55 PM   #5 
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he is in much bigger space than before and biting seems worse, it's really strange
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Old 07-06-2011, 04:56 PM   #6 
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Well, I'm dumbfounded. I guess just watch him very carefully. Any sign of fin rot and remove him for treatment. Otherwise, you're going to have to ask someone with faaaaar more knowledge than I!
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Old 07-06-2011, 06:49 PM   #7 
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Well, what stands out to me is that your tank is overstocked and not cleaned often enough. Are you sure it is fine biting? Is there any black edging? Have you actually seen him bite his tail? Can you get a pic and fill out the sticky in the disease section please?

Since the minimum tank size for a betta is 2.5gals, you can only house 2 bettas in a 5gal tank. A 5 gal tank with one betta should have one 50% and one 100% per week. With 3 bettas in there you should perform three 100% water changes per week...

My suggestion would be to isolate Skitty and treat him with 1tsp/gal and 100% daily water changes to prevent infection. While you are treating him, divide the 5gal in two and get a new 2.5+gal tank for when Skitty's fins show regrowth (clear-white edges). With 2 bettas, the 5gal will need two 100% water changes per week minimum. If you get skitty a 2.5 gal then two 100% water changes per week, a 5gal gets one 50% and one 100% per week. Good luck and keep us posted :)
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Old 07-07-2011, 01:02 PM   #8 
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I used to have him in lot smaller place before (got him last year in august) and he was doing much better.I've seen little tail bites couple of times, but it wasn't as bad as it is now. So far, my personal experience over the years is, my bettas were always doing much better in smaller places. I had couple of bettas living in smaller homes 4-5 years easy. It almost seems the big space is stressing him out more. Water is clean, I've just changed it. I've had bettas for years, but never seen it this bad. It's definitely biting, I haven't seen him do it, but I've seen little piece of tail on the sand. Yesterday when I got home he has bubble nest started so I thought he is much better. When I checked this morning, half of his tail was gone! I will keep an eye on it and will treat with salt when I see fin rot signs. I'll keep you posted. Skitty is VT, so I don't think weight of his tail is the problem.
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:09 PM   #9 
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If it is tail biting, there are three usual causes. Stress, boredom, or they're just wired to chew their fins for whatever reason. Luckily you can treat the symptoms easily enough, lots of clean warm water. Finding the trigger for the biting can be much harder, but in your case, it might be quite obvious.

You mentioned moving him to a new, larger home just before he started to nom his fins? If so it could be his way of dealing with the stress of a new home. Some bettas don't like bigger homes, and prefer the smaller homes most folks on this forum disapprove of. I would start by turning off the light and making the tank dark, that might help him destress. It may be a case of he will need to go back into the smaller tank to stop biting. Or, now that he's started, he might not stop.
I don't mean to alarm you, but some bettas will chew their tail/fins, no mater how good they're taken care of, how much you dote on them, even if you are doing everything right.

If you could post a pic it would help us, perhaps this isn't him biting his tail, but is being caused by something else.
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Old 07-08-2011, 11:36 AM   #10 
roadrunner
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Thanx silverfang, I know what you mean about smaller places. Most of members here recommend larger tanks. BTW, another betta that is sharing tank with skitty, bit the tail for the first time too! I changed little bit of water yesterday, because I have almond leaf in there so I was wondering if it's making them more "wired". I have silk plants there and clay pot on the side, so there is no sharp objects. I may change the plants for live plants this weekend and see how that goes.
I will try to take pics, but every time I get close to tank they are in front swimming happily back and forth, so it's hard.
I had bettas for years now (always in smaller condos) and never experienced tail biting to this degree. I have to say, my boys seem to prefer smaller homes.
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