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Old 09-08-2011, 11:20 PM   #1 
mookeeful
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Tail/fin issues & water changes

Hey guys - so I have a question RE water changes. A couple weeks ago, I posted some pics of my lil Mojo Jojo doing what I thought at the time was some tail biting. The pics I posted didn't really indicate any sort of fin rot type issues. Anyhow, that very next week my landlord decides she is going to do some inspections - so we had to hide some fishies. I had moved all of their tanks to my walk in closet for the night & a few hours the next day - then the hubby moved them back as soon as the landlord left. All & all it was less than 24 hours. Mojo went downhill real fast losing all of his dorsel fin and most of his tail. I have changed the location of his tank, been doing AQ salt treatments, and added the stress coast to his water. I had to go out of town for a few days & then cut up my hand a bit on a fall, so over the last 5 days he hasn't had the daily AQ salt/water changes needed - however he has new fin growth. We had to remove everything from his tank & turn off the filter because he was having a hard time swimming.

My question RE water changes is what would the recommended change schedule for a 5 gallon unfiltered tank be?

My question RE the tail/fin issues require a tad more details. That same day that the hubby put back the fishies, my other 2 with delicate tails also started with some tail degradation.... With Ninja I thought it had to do with his house as it wasn't as soft as the other fishies, but Smooches has a complete ceramic structure with silk plants; so his environment wouldn't necessarily be the cause. I at first thought it was just stress, but now that I am home I am seeing that their tails are getting worse by the day too. They do not look like fin rot at all - just the same as Mojo's did...as if they are biting. My hubby thinks its maybe that they had been swimming around the filter, but its also been unusually hot in the house & their tanks (which I can't do anything about since we don't have AC). Could they have also been tail biting from stress or is there maybe some fish tail disease I am not thinking about? Or could the jump in heat be stressing them? Their tanks do not rise above 83, but they normally sit between 79-80...
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Old 09-09-2011, 01:19 AM   #2 
Sakura8
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Are the edges of their tails blackened? Fin rot starts when a rip or tear becomes infected. The edge get black and the fin will fall/melt off in large chunks. In extreme cases, the black rot will progress up the fin until it reaches the body. You might also see reddened streaks in the tail/fins. If you're not seeing these things, I don't think it's fin rot.

Have you noticed any small off-white lesions or patches of fuzzy gray? Columnaris can affect fins and you can identify that by white cottony/fuzzy patches. That can also be a cause of fin loss.

If you're not seeing any of these things, my guess is tailbiting, either from stress or boredom. Good news: your bettas aren't sick. Bad news: they're still losing fins. The heat might stress them a little but if the jump in temp was gradual, it shouldn't have shocked them too much.

For your unfiltered 5 gallon, I would say do a 25% and a 50% change a week, with a 75% once a month. However, while your bettas have rips in their tails, you may want to do 25% changes every two days or so until the rips start to heal over. This will minimize the chances of secondary infection.

I hope this info helps you. Good luck!
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Old 09-15-2011, 12:19 AM   #3 
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TY Sakura...sorry for the delayed response -- I have also been really sick! Here are pics of the boys & tell me what you think. I am not entirely sure what the dealio is. They are TONS better. I know you will gasp when you see Mojo, but in all seriousness, he is 100% better, I am just not sure what it is. His worst was when I got home and seriously, he had no top fin. At all. I wanted to just cry. The other 2 are also improved -- however, I am not certain if they have the same thing as Mojo, or what. They definitely didn't get as bad as him as fast...but yeah. What are your thoughts...First is Mojo, then Smooches, and last but not least are Ninja. Oh, and only these 3 seem to be affected.
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Old 09-15-2011, 07:18 AM   #4 
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You have a couple of tail biters on your hands. At least those in the second and third pair of pictures. # 2 does seem to have some regrowth, and a bit of nipping, so for them it should be a matter of finding out what it will take to keep them from nomming. Stress or boredom.
The first fish seems to have chewed or been chewed on. I'm wondering if he's got a bit of fin rot, or if the colour is just a bit off. IT looks like he's got dark edged fins.

Hope someone with more experience can chime in.
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Old 09-15-2011, 10:28 AM   #5 
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Mojo does look like he got some fin rot because of the way the edges of his fins are blackened. Poor guy, he did look pretty bad, I can see why you'd want to cry. I'm glad to hear he's doing better. I agree with Silverfang, it looks like Smooches and Ninja are tailbiting, though. It's possible Mojo tailbit as well and his rips got infected and theirs didn't. Of course, with Ninja, it would be impossible to tell if he had blackened edges from fin rot but since he doesn't look as bad as Mojo, I'd say he's fine.

Clean water, AQ salt for the worst of it, and some Stress Coat will heal those fins up. A high protein diet will help too. They're all very handsome, gorgeous bettas so I hope their fins grow back quickly.

Hope you feel better soon too, mookeeful.
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:20 PM   #6 
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TY guys! I - as always - appreciate your help & feedback. I think that with all of them the tail biting was a matter of stress. Mojo was first to start because my cat became infatuated with him. She wasn't scratching his tank or anything, but she was just so enamored that she would try to put her paws on the glass. She has never seen another animal until we got these guys - the way his tail flutters, and his bright blue color just attracted her. He also likes to hide in things & I think his cave was contributing once he had bit. He was just getting back on track when my landlord posted a 24 hour inspection notice because the corporate office was doing inspections on every unit. One or two tanks wold be fine, but we thought 7 might attract some unneeded attention, so I had to move them all to my walk in closet and hide them. The very next day Ninja & Smooches had those bit of tail bites and Mojo just looked horrible. The day following the inspection I flew out of town for 3 days, then got sick... so its been hard to stay as focused to nursing them back to health. We have been doing the AQ salt & stress coat for all of them. For Mojo, I even had to turn his filter off for a week because he literally had no top fin at all & was having a hard time swimming to the surface for air with the light current the filter brought. Now he is swimming a lot more like his normal self. I have also moved him back to the kitchen where my cat does not have any contact with him. She isn't taken by the other boys like she was with Mojo so she doesn't seem to be having any affect on their stress levels. I haven't been doing the daily water changes though - about every other day or every 2 days. Reason being is that the changing of water daily was stressing him to the point that he was looking worse each time - which was counter productive to the goal of getting him better.... so I just test the ammonia levels daily to ensure they aren't crazy (with Mojo's tail literally rotting off it was throwing his tank system just all out of whack) and moving forward. TY again guys, you're awesome as always!
PS Sakura - I am feeling a lot better too!!! TY (:
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:25 PM   #7 
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Ohhh and Mojo's tail does look dark around the edges, but it was hard for me to tell if it was fin rot because his tail normally had darker edges.... so I just wasn't sure if he still has it or if that's just new growing back. Initially I now there was just no other explanation for the way his tail was deteriorating, but now it just seems daily to be improving little bit by little bit. Smooches does have some new growth - and I believe Ninja does too... at close inspection the tips have a whitish color to them.
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Old 09-16-2011, 01:10 AM   #8 
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It sounds like we've tracked down the cause of the rips and deterioration and you're right on track with treating it, mookeeful. It's okay you're not doing the daily water changes. As long as you are keeping the water clean, that's all that matters. Glad you are feeling better and I hope your boys get better quickly and grow back their fins soon as possible.
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