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Old 07-25-2011, 01:39 AM   #1 
lessandler
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Tailbiting or Fin rot or something else!!

I am growing increasing alarmed at my HM disappearing caudal fin and now anal fin. He first blew a bunch of his caudal fin 2 days after arriving in this country from thailand which I attributed to ammonia burn and travel stress.

That is the first pic (sorry don't know how to imbed pics). Then after I left for a 1 1/2 day vacation where he fasted for only one full day and did not get his light turned on, I returned to half of his moon being missing. The next pic of the tank shows it after a week or so of growing in. Then just a few days ago things began getting worse again, with now a large chunk out of his anal fin (2 close up pics - sorry they are blurry I just can't get a good one because he is fast).

Is it even possible for a betta to bite one's anal fin? Or is this something else. He lives alone and his tank is heated, filtered 6.6 gallon parameters are:

ph: 7.0
ammonia 0
nitrites 0
nitrates 0-5 ppm
temp: 78

The current appears failry gentle, nothing in the tank is sharp... the sharpest things are the roots of anubias really. I never see him get sucked in a filter or bothered by it.

The changes I made near the time of the last finniage missing is adding Betta Spa - an Indian Almond leaf extract that does have low levels of salt, changing his food from hikari to New life spectrum betta, and letting him flare for 30 seconds a day.

I thought all my changes were improvements... I am so confused. I see no black edging or any symptoms of fin rot. Other than the clear areas of new growth on the caudal fin, the edges are always crisp with no discoloration and ragged and torn looking. He eats very well and is very active.

Please help!!
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Last edited by lessandler; 07-25-2011 at 01:45 AM.
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Old 07-25-2011, 02:44 AM   #2 
Pataflafla
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It looks like he is tail biting quite a bit, but he could have also gotten stuck on one of his plants with how long his fins are.

I'm starting to think that once the fins reach a certain weight, the betta doesn't like lugging them around. I've noticed that the heavier fin types seem to sink a little easier and I can image having such huge finnage would be heavy.
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Old 07-25-2011, 03:21 AM   #3 
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Ughh... I thought fin biting was supposed to be rare; it's certainly not something I have ever experienced but previous to this my only bettas have been rather small tailed veil tails.

Now I am expecting 2 more huge half moons from thailand and filled with dread. One is from the same breeder (I know I know he was free and cute).

I just read the fin biting description in the first sticky and I am also certain this is fin biting... the swimming in circles, the sudden fin loss, the ragged edges with no black or red. He also seems neurotic, I thought it was active and interactive, but I have never had a betta that was this active. And his activity is all in the front of the aquarium and often in circles. He also attacks his food and ocassionally bites my fingers as I feed him (jumps up for it!), or when I test the water - very bitey I guess.

I absolutely cannot move another betta next to him, put in a tv in bathroom or any other option... I interact with him all day as the bathroom is near my office. I make a point whenever I use the room to spend some interactive time.

I almost half wished someone would say it was fin rot and I could just remedy it and be done with it.

I just don't understand one thing... How was it that he had perfect fins for his aquabid photo? Is it because he liked being in a small jar better? (I saw a video of his hatchery and they are kept in what looked like 1 gallon jars next to each other) Or is the water different there in some non-testable way? Does he miss other bettas?

I guess I wonder how much tail biting is to drastic of a change from their breeder. And how is it that people get bettas from dirty cups at the pet store and then they decide to eat themselves when they are spoiled?

Sorry for the rant... I have just put a lot of time and $$ (although the money doesn't bother me as much) into this fish and I wonder if I got a pet store veil tail and stuck him in a small tank he'd be happier. Really really hope the next 2 don't suffer from this because I am embarrassed how much cash I dropped on one of them :(
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Old 07-25-2011, 03:27 AM   #4 
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If you can't put other bettas next to his tank to distract him, you could try having him flare for a few minutes a day by putting a mirror up to his tank. And if he's so active you could try playing with him. A button tied to some thread made a wonderful toy for my boy to chase around. You could try different colored bottle caps too. Changing the tank around every once in a while can help distract him too.

I have to do all of this for my boy because he started biting his lovely tail off too. Pretty much all you can do is try and occupy their time as much as possible and try and reproduce as stress free an environment as possible. It's a very precarious balance between enough excitement and calm time. Unfortunately, this is going to be a constant battle since they relapse.
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Old 07-25-2011, 03:46 AM   #5 
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I am starting to wonder if he decided he needed a haircut in response to the larger tall tank and flaring excercise... Is your tailbiter in a tall tank? Is there a lot of current or large?

It almost makes sense that he would trim some weight off in order to be more active. A huge tail isn't a problem in a smal jar where there is no current and the air is easily accessible.

I am just concerned about the flaring activity because I think he started biting again when I began doing it. And he seems even more spastic after, darting about and almost over excited. I also leave the light on for 10 hours for the plants, maybe I should run them for 8?

I guess I am wondering if less activity may be better. As it is now I let him chase my finger around the front of the tank and always interact in a excited way. Just a thought.

But first I am going to try what everyone says, intereact more and flare more and string chasing. I am sure if everyone says it works I will give it a try!

Unfortunately I messed up painting the back black and cannot take off the filter and therefore cannot take out or put in much decor and change it about. I would love to put in my coconut cave but it doesn't fit :(

Anyway thanks so much Pataflafla... It's good to know I am not alone and there are some techniques out there :)
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Old 07-25-2011, 03:50 AM   #6 
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Reducing the amount of light per day might help him out too. I usually leave my lights on from whenever I get up (they get some morning light in the mean time) until around 7:30-8:00 at night so that I can simulate daytime and night time more effectively with them. I also have to avoid turning my bedroom light on at night since it's very bright and startles everyone. Ratchet didn't start his biting until I stayed up late one night with the light on, so I think it was more stress related.
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Old 07-25-2011, 03:59 AM   #7 
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Oh boy you might have just saved the day... I work from home, make my own schedule and if you look at my posts I am pretty nocturnal! I don't get up until late and turn the light on late in the day and off late at night.

Pataflafla you may have just saved his tail!! Fingers crossed!

I did find this page when researching that I thought was very good on the subject with the exception of the melafix suggestion:

http://bettysplendens.com/articles/p...articleid=1113

I was just reading the part about bright lights when you posted your reply. One thing is for sure, bettas in jars and petstore cups don't have a bunch of light directed right on top of them....

Oh thank you!!!
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Old 07-25-2011, 04:08 AM   #8 
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That is an interesting article. I'll have to try not turning on my aquarium lights for a day or two sometime and see if there's any improvement in behavior. Unfortunately it can't be for a little while longer since my 10 gallon is infested with parasites and I need to do frequent assessments to see who needs epsom salt baths to stop bloating.

Let me know how things go for you. I'd love to stop Ratchet from tail biting since he was just starting to get such lovely fins and long rays.
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Old 07-25-2011, 04:26 AM   #9 
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I am gonna try turning them on for only a few hours a day, since the last time I went dark he ate most of his tail. I am shooting for balance and I don't want him to think he's gonna be shipped again in the dark for days. AndI still want to feed him and I know light it important for that.

Will post progress for sure. Hopefully this thread can demonstrate how to stop tailbiting instead of just being a diagnosis!
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