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Old 07-20-2011, 08:11 PM   #1 
Norichan
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Tail biting or Fin Rot? Cures and fixes?

So to start...

Housing

What size is your tank? 16g
What temperature is your tank? Between 76 and 82.
Does your tank have a filter? Yes, but not in use- current is too strong, working on a fix.
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No.
Is your tank heated? Yes.
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None.

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Freeze-dried blood worms. Can occasionally persuade him to eat a pellet or two.
How often do you feed your betta fish? Every other day. Sometimes snacks in between... I have no restraint.

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? Weekly.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 1/4th.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? AquaSafe water conditioner.

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

Ammonia: I have test strips. After today's water change, I tested to be sure I'd thoroughly cleaned the tank. The reading was 'Ideal.'
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? His tail and bottom fin are damaged at the edges.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Slightly more active?
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Just now when I came in to look at him.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? No
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Not that I know of- I've only had him about a month.
How old is your fish (approximately)? Unsure...

------

So the scoop is this- I changed Mongkut's water today because the ammonia readings were starting to look iffy. I did a 25% change, which has never bothered him before. I'm very careful about water quality.

I went away for a couple hours to have dinner and catch a couple TV shows. When I came BACK, he greeted my in his usual fashion- swam to the front of the tank and flared, then turned away and drifted off when he saw that I am firmly on the other side of the glass. Then I noticed his poor fins! The edges have always looked a little... odd. The closest similarity is tissue paper, the way they're thin and faintly translucent at the ends. I was mildly concerned that maybe it was early fin rot, so I decided to keep tabs on it. But I come in and his tail is just terrible! Multiple small slits in the end, and in the bottom fin an entire chunk has been torn and left hanging!

And the big split in his tail was almost done healing, too! T_T

Somebody please help my fishie...
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:19 PM   #2 
Pataflafla
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It might be tail biting. I haven't seen a fin rot that leaves chunks hanging.

My crowntail recently just started this too. Try changing his tank decoration around and giving him some toys. I've just found that a plastic button and some thread makes a wonderful toy for them to chase around and bite. Colored, plastic bottle caps also work well. they can push those around and bite them.

Just keep the water a little cleaner for now and if it gets too much worse try putting 1 tsp/gal of aquarium salt to hopefully help his fins heal faster than he can bite them off.
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:22 PM   #3 
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So frustrating! The minute he stops hating the stupid statue he has to have something ELSE to bite at! Not that I can be mad at my fishie...

Oh, I forgot to mention- he'd built a very large bubble nest in the best part of the tank, right by the heater. It got destroyed when I did the water change. Does that upset a betta?

Also: No response to the bottle cap, going to see if I can get a red one. Moderately responsive to trolling button-on-a-string. Just for kicks I thought I'd try the mirror trick. I've never seen him flare like that before. He has sixteen gallons in his tank and they are ALL HIS! Made me laugh and stop worrying... but only for a minute.

So should I let him intimidate his reflection X-amount of time per day? How do I proceed with this?

Last edited by Norichan; 07-20-2011 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:32 PM   #4 
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I don't think it does. Mine usually build small ones and then don't maintain them so they pop and disappear.

There hasn't been anything super stressful for him? No lights on too long or other fish he can see that bother him? No sudden moves of his aquarium or bumping into it?

Some stress coat might help him a little bit too.
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:36 PM   #5 
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I keep a light on him during the day, but I tend to keep the rest of the room quite dim.
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:43 PM   #6 
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That's good. It simulates daytime hours for him. Do you turn the lights in your room on and off occasionally at night? I think that's what started my fish on tail biting. It's kind of like waking up with a flashlight right in your face, which I presume isn't pleasant.

The best way to try and treat this is to figure out whether he's tail biting because of stress, frustration/boredom, or because something was wrong with his tail.

Fin rot is usually identified by discoloration at the edges of the fins and a slowly increasing raggedness of the fins. I've heard of some bettas biting the infection off in an attempt to stop it. If he's got that, then you should keep his water a lot cleaner by doing more water changes and maybe adding some aquarium salt for less than 10 days. You'll want to change the water more often if you have aquarium salt in it because too much is bad for their labrynth and makes breathing harder for them.

His tail should heal a little quicker since he eats a high protein diet, and will heal even quicker if he stops biting it off.
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:54 PM   #7 
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I suspect boredom? There aren't really any stresses on him that I know of. I make sure his water is good. Once the lights go off for the night, that's it, they're off, and for most of the day, too. Like I said, his fins have always been kinda pale and thin at the ends, like tissue paper. But that hasn't gotten any worse since I bought him.

The only thing that seems to have changed is his hate for the torii gate. It used to be there was one spot on it that he would antagonize. Rather than remove it I decided to let the two of them work out their differences. So he fought with the statue and lost- split his tail fin from too much flaring. After that he stopped flaring at it, and I guess now that his fin had mostly healed he got bored?
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Old 07-20-2011, 09:13 PM   #8 
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That might have been it. Does he have plenty of plants to hide in?

Also, once his tail and fins heal a little more and if he doesn't flare at the decoration any more, I suggest using a mirror so he can flare at himself. They think it's another betta and once you take the mirror away they feel like they won the fight. It's a good exercise and gives them a little bit of time to vent some energy and frustration.

Try out some floating toys like clean ping pong balls, plastic bottle caps, and buttons on strings. You could also try placing his food in different places each time so he has to find it or work for it.
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Old 07-20-2011, 09:26 PM   #9 
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Not much in the way of plants. He doesn't seem to be one for crowded tanks, but I'll give him a hiding spot to see if that's what he wants. Goodness knows he has room for one.

I tried buttons and a bottle cap. The bottle cap was not worthy of his attention, and he chased the buttons only briefly before losing interest. So I've given him a few short bouts with the mirror, and that seems to be soothing his nerves some. <3
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Old 07-20-2011, 09:31 PM   #10 
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Good. Just let him flare at the mirror in 1-2 minute intervals or less. Don't want to get him too worked up and overflaring. It should give him a nice confidence boost though.
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