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Old 07-30-2011, 10:07 PM   #1 
Pucky21811
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Fin Rot or something else?

I'm sure this is a very common question. Puck is my beautiful Crowntail, my college dorm pet, and I love him dearly. He's been back at home for about 3 months now, and I couldn't have had any complaints. He was a happy, wonderful little fish. About a month ago, I moved him from our dining room into my bedroom and found that he has a hole in the top of his fin. Now it looks like his bottom tail fins are deteriorating; could it be fin rot? I just cleaned his tank tonight very well; usually I do a half a tank cleaning every week or so, but today I cleaned it out fully, including the pebbles he has. Please let me know what to do! Pictures are attatched.

He isn't really spreading his top fin very much, so the pictures are the best I can do as far as the hole in it.... I feel like such a terrible owner, somebody PLEASE tell me what I'm doing wrong!

If the pictures aren't detailed enough for anyone, I can get new ones. Just let me know!


Housing
What size is your tank? A half gallon
What temperature is your tank? N/A
Does your tank have a filter? No..
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? N/A
Is your tank heated? There is a little light over the top, but I don't keep it on 24/7, so no...
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Aqueon Betta Food pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish? Once a day, two-six tiny pellets

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? Approximately once a week I do a half-water change. Every few months a full change, but we both are traumatized from the transitions while I'm cleaning.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 50%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Aqueon BettaBowl Plus conditioner

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

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? A hole in the top fin; he has always been a small guy, and I haven't seen dramatic change, but could the hole mean fin rot?
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Nothing really; more mellow since I cleaned out his tank
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Two weeks ago; but seeing the white tips at the end of his other fins make me worry tonight.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? I clean the tank halfway regularly; tonight I cleaned it all out, probably stressing him out...
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Not at all
How old is your fish (approximately)? I got him in the beginning of May at a pet store..
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Last edited by Pucky21811; 07-30-2011 at 10:15 PM. Reason: Answering common questions
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Old 07-30-2011, 10:11 PM   #2 
Silverfang
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If the tips of his fins are dark then it probably is fin rot, please if you could fill this out so we can better determine the cause of his trouble.

Daily water changes with similar temp dechlorinated water will probably be what is needed. But we need more information before we can get to the root of the problem.

Quote:
Housing
What size is your tank?
What temperature is your tank?
Does your tank have a filter?
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?
Is your tank heated?
What tank mates does your betta fish live with?

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish?
How often do you feed your betta fish?

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change?
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change?
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?

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

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
When did you start noticing the symptoms?
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
Does your fish have any history of being ill?
How old is your fish (approximately)?
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Old 07-30-2011, 10:20 PM   #3 
Pucky21811
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Sorry I just read the question skeleton and filled it out. I hope that can help with more information...
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Old 07-30-2011, 10:32 PM   #4 
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A .5 gal tank is really small, most people on these forums recommend at least a 2.5gal. But for now the main problem is getting your boy feeling better. Change 100% of his water daily, making sure it's dechlorinated and close to the same temperature. Daily, no exceptions. In a half gal tank daily water changes are presecribed, especially for fin rot.

The water might not look dirty, but ammonia builds up, fish excrete it from their gills when they breath, and as waste. Ammonia poisoning has been known to cause the pin holes you described, which generally leads to fin tearing, shredding, etc. Since his fins look rather ragged from your pictures, you might want to use some aquarium salt to treat as well. 1/ tsp a gal is the recommended dosage, so half a tsp for his current home, I suggest you premix it in some water then add the treatment, or have it already mixed in before you do your daily water change.

There are several other things I can suggest, nutrition is important, high protein diets help with fin regrowth, live foods are excellent, or frozen (different from freeze dried). Failing this a high protein pellet is your best bet, 42% protein should be the minimum. Also you said you don't know the temperature, you need a thermometer, 2$ for a floating one at the pet store. Depending on where you live, he might need a heater, bettas thrive in 78-80 degree temperatures. I was shocked when I discovered this, and trust me when I say it does make a difference.

You might look to upgrading him, the larger the tank, the fewer the water changes he'll need. In a 1-4 gal tank it's recommended 1 100% change and 1 50% change a week. A kritter keeper is generally a good alternative to a tank, and cheaper, usually.

Hope you can get your boy feeling better.
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Old 07-30-2011, 10:39 PM   #5 
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Thank you so very much; Everyone here seems so nice! I was prepared to be bashed in for not being a good fish parent! The tank size is helpful up in college for space, but I am seriously considering
upgrading as well, maybe with a little filter. I will definitely try with some aquarium salts as soon as I can get them! As well as a food change; I just read his pellets are only 38% protein.

I do have a question: what is your method of cleaning out 100% of the tank without stressing the fish out? I try to make it as little a struggle as possible, by trying to gently get him into a net and a new container (is that what I'm supposed to do?) but in the end there is a little struggle, and I'm shaking and stressed out as much as he is! Do you have any advice?

Again, thank you so very much. I would be heartbroken if I really hurt him!
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Old 07-30-2011, 11:09 PM   #6 
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I find that when it comes to netting them (which some people are against, but is a necessary evil) I support the poor boy for the few seconds it takes me to transfer him into his holding tank (his original home, about .9 of a gal). Once he's into the water there he's fine, a bit miffed, but fine. I believe if you put the net in and let it sit for maybe 30 seconds it helps take some of the roughness out of things as it were. Some people try to encourage them into a mug, I know that's what my friend does, and she usually gets her boy to swim on in with no trouble.

It's trial and error, finding out which method works best for you. And I understand what you mean about being chewed out. When I first joined I was brought to tears by some comments of how bad my tank was and how horrible it was for him. I out and spent 100$ the next day.

Like I said, kritter keepers are usually an inexpensive solution, some people her have used clear rubbermaid containers, or large glass vases or jars (assuming they have a wide enough mouth). Oh, and API stress coat, I use that on my boy when he has chewed on his tail, I find it helps. My boy gets Omega one, it has 42% (I know, kinda a coincidence yea? heh). But I feed him frozen as well.
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:30 AM   #7 
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Storage containers work well. They are cheap and come in a variety of sizes. The only drawback is they are usually frosted and that makes for an obstructed view of the fish. I have a 1.5ish gallon one that is currently housing a tiny female crowntail .
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Old 07-31-2011, 09:09 AM   #8 
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For water changes; try to save the cup the betta came in, and if not that maybe get some cheap plastic ware. Just clean it really well with hot water and scoop him out with that. My Jazz and my Alma are so used to their weekly 100% changes that they basically swim in the cup now, it's very minimal stress :)

As to your tank, I bought a 3 gal Kritter Keeper for my Jazz and it fits perfectly on the corner of my desk. And he's got plenty of space to swim around happily, and have a small heater. Space at school can be tricky, but I promise the KKs are a great inexpensive option that won't take up a ton of room. :)
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Old 07-31-2011, 06:45 PM   #9 
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Hey everyone! I couldn't thank you guys enough for your help! I know we're far from out of the woods with his fin rot, but I am feeling reassured as to what to do now.

I am not going to lie, I was one of those people who didn't know what they were getting themselves into when recieving a betta fish. (I won him at a BINGO game at my school; they probably got him from Walmart of Petsmart. I don't mind keeping one at all; I love him, I just didn't know how to start caring for one the right way.) Now I know what I've done wrong and what I need to do.

Unfortunately, in my house the only car available is a new one and my dad forbids me to drive it, so for now I can only deal with daily 100% water changes, the usual water conditioner, and keeping an eye on him.

Now I have to leave this weekend for a family emergency for then next week. A kid from my neighborhood is coming to care for my cat, my two goldfish, and Puck. I will tell him to keep an eye on Puck and keep the tank clean. The instant I get back I will invest in some aquarium salts, and possibly that Jungle Fungus stuff I see you guys keep referring to in other posts.. Anything that will help! After I buy the treatments I will invest in a better tank for my baby.

Today, however, I rummaged around in our garage and found a bigger fish bowl (I know, not a tank with a filter or heater, but still better than what he did have!) and moved him in there. My darling little Puck fit right in and had no adjustment problems. This will be his home for now until I can get out and buy a heater and/or filter. I've posted some pics of him in his new home. He looks so much happier already!

I really can't thank you guys enough; Your advice has been more than helpful!
The first photo is him from last night: you can really see the hole in his dorsal fin... :(
The other photos are from less than a half hour ago
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:17 PM   #10 
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He already looks perkier, glad to hear you were able to upgrade his home. Might I suggest you look into a higher protein pellet sooner? If it doesn't list the protein values, then look at the ingredients, if the first three are wheat or corn anything, skip it, you want fish/seafood to be the first ingredients.
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