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Old 01-09-2012, 03:19 PM   #1 
SwimmR
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Can a cold snap cause permanent clamped fins?

So, my VT "Elvis" looks perfectly healthy, but over the weekend he started to clamp his fins together.

Specifically, it looks like the end of his tail and anal fin are clamped - when he flares, the half of those fins closer to his body open nicely, but the other half stays shut. (picture attached)

I was away over the weekend and my husband had trouble with the heater - it was getting too hot (82 but still rising) so he had to turn it off when he went out for the evening. I'm not sure how low it got while he was away (maybe 70?). Now it's a constant 78-80 during the day and around 76 at night (our house gets very cold at night), but the ends of his tail & anal fin won't open. Could that be caused by the cold snap he experienced?

He seems very happy with the new increased temperature - much more active - so I don't think he's sick.
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Old 01-09-2012, 04:04 PM   #2 
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p.s. Hubby says that the water temp never got below 76, so there goes that theory!

He's in a 1gal bowl, water changes twice a week with API stress coat as a dechlorinater. He eats Top Fin pellets. Other 5 bettas in similar setups have not been affected.
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Old 01-09-2012, 04:08 PM   #3 
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The temperature drop can result in clamped fins. As for why he's not unclamping them I'm not sure. He may just need more time.

However.. 4 degree 76-80 degree temperature swings are not appropriate for bettas. In my experience this can easily lead to illness and it would be better to pick a lower temp and stick with it then constantly let it swing from 76 to 80.

What brand and wattage heater are you using and what is the size of your tank? How cold does it get at night? A good heater should keep the tank 10-15 degrees above so you should be able to let the house drop to at least 68 at night and keep your tank at 78 constant. If you get a really good heater you can even let it drop the low 60s. You should just not let the house get any colder than that while you keep fish. 80 is good for sick fish but he would do just fine in 78-79 constant temp year round.

eta: then you're probably using one of those non adjustable heaters that only takes things a few degrees above room temp.. I highly suggest moving him to something 2.5g or larger and investing in a proper heater. It will not only keep his environment constant but it will help it stay cleaner too. In the meantime how much of a water change do you do twice a weak? In my experience this is not enough of a change to remove all ammonia. I suggest either taking some water to a local fish stop to have it tested (most will do it for free) or buy a drops test kit to test it yourself. How long have you had him?

Last edited by callistra; 01-09-2012 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 01-09-2012, 05:55 PM   #4 
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Thanks for the ideas, Callistra. I change the water 100% twice a week, but I've never had it tested. I do have some live plants in there, so I don't think ammonia should be a problem. I can bring it in to be tested though - that's not a bad idea.
As for the heater, I have my betta bowls on heating pads, so they do not have a thermostat (but I do have thermometers). As you guessed, they do just raise the temperature about 10-12 degrees above the room temp. But I find it hard to believe that in the wild there isn't a variation between daytime & evening temperatures for the fish. I would have thought that cycling between 75-80 from night to day would be very natural.
I've had Elvis for about a month or so. Named him that because he came with one big curl in his dorsal fin that reminds me of Elvis' hair curl!
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Old 01-09-2012, 07:08 PM   #5 
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It looks to me like he has blown fins. This somtimes happens when a fish clamps to much or flares too much and the fins sort of crumple and stay crumpled.

You're on a good water change schedule, though I have to say you'll need to get real tank heaters.

The water temp swings are very, very bad. You have to remember that these fish originate from Thailand, where it stays warm. Also, they live in large bodies of water (rice patties may only go up to a person's knees, but they are really wide and long), and larger bodies of water don't tend to experience as drastic water temp swings as smaller bodies of water. Seeing as the external temperatures are the same as their internal temperatures, the fish's immune systems can also go down if the temps swing too much. A gradual change in water temps from day to night would be fine if it were only about a degree or maybe even two, but much more than that can be bad.

Last edited by JKfish; 01-09-2012 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:07 AM   #6 
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Well, just to give some good news followup, today Elvis' tail seems to be almost completely unclamped and his anal fin is improving. I got my water tested, and even after 3 days it had no ammonia, so I'm confident that the twice a week water changes are fine. I've been keeping him nice & warm (75 at night, 80 daytime) which he seems to like - he's very active! I appreciate the warning about the temperature swings, but I really can't be convinced that these fish in the wild aren't used to that already. After all, a big shallow puddle will tend to heat up even faster than a large body of water, so if anything, in Thailand they probably get very warm in the sunlight and cooler at night. Anyhow, Elvis is clearly happy and that's what matters!
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:42 AM   #7 
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Well, unfortunately you cannot compare betta spendens with their ancestors, because we bred them for color and finnage rather than n the wild where when they breed, it is a "survival of the fittest".
That said, captivity bettas should be kept above room temperature to live, and 78-80 for a healthier, happier, brighter colored betta. Just warning
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:49 AM   #8 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sena Hansler View Post
Well, unfortunately you cannot compare betta spendens with their ancestors, because we bred them for color and finnage rather than n the wild where when they breed, it is a "survival of the fittest".
That said, captivity bettas should be kept above room temperature to live, and 78-80 for a healthier, happier, brighter colored betta. Just warning
+1
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Old 01-12-2012, 12:40 PM   #9 
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Ditto what Sena said :)
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Old 01-12-2012, 12:42 PM   #10 
Sena Hansler
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Just want you to have a healthy boy nothing worse than seeing your betta always sick
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