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Old 01-14-2012, 04:01 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Long Island, New York
Really stubborn fin rot. ARGH

I'm fairly new to betta keeping, but I decided to take my boyfriend's veiltail fish in addition to my own. (He couldn't keep him anymore.) I tried my best to cycle his new 1.5 gal tank before putting him in, but I'm guessing I did it wrong because the next day I saw a rip in his bottom fin, and a piece missing from his tail. This was about 2 months ago.

I started by taking him out and putting him in his old tank, .5 gal and treated with this stuff: It looked like he was getting better, so I put him back in the new tank (after cleaning everything and again trying to cycle for a week) and once again, ripped fins.

Tried just leaving him alone for a bit, but his fins never grew back. Finally moved him once again into the smaller tank and treated him with this every other week for the next month, and he stopped losing fin but never regrew anything. I really hate his old tank, it's too small and I can't put a filter in, so finally last week I moved him into the bigger tank (again cleaned completely with new gravel and attempted cycle, and this time with a live plant) and he's losing fins again! I have no idea what I'm doing wrong, I had my water tested at PETCO and they said everything is fine, though I don't have numbers. I do 50% changes once a week.

All the other stats:
1.5 gal
64 deg
Filter: yes
Aeration: no
Heated: no
Tank mates: no, live plant

Food: Hikari Betta Bio Gold 1 or 2x daily

Water changes: 1x a week, 50-75% depending on how clear the water is
Additives: Just a dechlorinator

Petco fish rep tested Poseidon's water and said it was fine; I'm sorry I don't have numbers

Appearance: Ripped and broken fins.
Behavior: Still spunky and active
Noticed: ~2 months ago
Treatment: Links to my medicines above.
History: Not before the new tank, no. I hope I didn't cause it somehow :(
Age: I guess about 1 year? He was purchased in August 2011

If it makes any difference, I have another betta, a crowntail, that I care for the same way and he has never had a problem. I've had him since July 2011

Thank you so much for any input or help. I'm so confused, I just want him to get better ;_;
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Old 01-15-2012, 05:15 AM   #2 
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Location: Dubai
Hello, welcome to the forum!

Sorry you are going through this. All I can say is every betta is different and sometimes how you "keep" one fish may not work the same for another.
Based on the info you have provided so far, here are my suggestions:

1) 64F is too cold, you need to up the temp slowly to at least 76F - they are tropical fish, being cold weakens their immune system and slows down their metabolism

2) strong filter intake - this may have caused the ripped fins

3) cycling of tank - for a 1.5 gal tank, it is challenging to cycle a tank that small, but I have heard of people doing it which I have no experience in. Perhaps you are doing it incorrectly? For you to know whether your tank is properly cycled or not, you must have your own test kits in order to check the parameters at the right time to know if what the values are. LFS' water test results of "just fine" won't mean much to you but could mean a lot to your betta.

4) water changes - you can't judge how "bad" the water is just by looking at the colors. Again, this is where the test kits come into play. Assuming your tank wasn't cycled properly, then you should have at the very least done a 50% midweek and a 100% end of week to rid of all ammonia.

If you can provide photos of your betta with the ripped fins, it may help us figure out if that's the only issue and if there is any infection going on.

Most people shy away from Bettafix as it contains tea tree oil which is harmful to their labyrinth organ in the long haul. I haven't read any scientific studies on this, but there are other more effective meds out there, so I would rather be safe than sorry.

For now, if you want to heal the fins nicely and conservatively, try this:

1) in the 1 gal tank, add water conditioner, add API stresscoat or Seachem stressguard (if you have), 1 teaspoon of Aquarium salt (to ward off infection), dissolve and mix well before putting your betta in

2) feed a varied diet like frozen bloodworms or brineshrimp besides the pellets, these high protein food will help with fin regrowth as well as make their fins look nicer too.

Change and repeat the above everyday for the next 10 days.

Good luck! Hope you get this sorted out soon.


Last edited by earthworm88; 01-15-2012 at 05:17 AM.
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Old 01-15-2012, 01:42 PM   #3 
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Just want to add 2.5 is minimum for cycling and even that is very hard.
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Old 01-15-2012, 02:47 PM   #4 
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Hmm I didn't know that about cycling, all the guides I looked at were very vague... I know that for my crowntail I just kinda placed him in a clean tank after he acclimated. But okay, now I know. :) (I'm a huge noob at this)

I took some pictures of the poor guy. It doesn't look like he's lost anymore fin today, but I'm still worried I'll wake up and find his fins gone. :(

I couldn't get him to show me his dorsal fin, which is a bit ragged, or his belly fin, which has a rip.

I know it's not very scientific, but I tested the intake of the filter, and I couldn't see much of a current. It's a gentle filter compared to what my dad has had.

To help him heal, I'll buy a heater ASAP and hopefully the other stuff suggested by earthworm. I can't get frozen bloodworms (mom too freaked by them lol) but I have dried ones. Is that okay?

Thank you so much for your input, hopefully the pics will help determine what happened. :)
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Old 01-15-2012, 11:01 PM   #5 
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Thanks for including the photos. He has such lovely coloring! Can you tell me (2nd photo link appears to be clearer to me) if the tip of the caudal fin appears to be flow-y when he swims or kinda ropey and stiff? Sorry, I just have a bit hard time telling whether that's blue/clear color intermixed in between the rays or his fins are melted together (fin melt, an advanced type fin rot). The middle ripped section looks like some new growth there?

To hasten his healing, I would still recommend the same suggestion I had given in my first post. In the future once he is fully healed, ideally should do two 100% wc weekly to keep the water very clean and feed him high protein food as treats along with the pellets too unless you are upgrading him to a larger home etc.

Good luck!
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:47 AM   #6 
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Thank you! :) He is a pretty guy, I just want him healthy again so I can show him off haha.

His fins are all still separate and flowy, just missing pieces. The white parts are new fin growth (as far as I can tell), but they've been coming and going and haven't fully healed or regained color. But it is encouraging :)

I took your advice and I purchased a water heater, aquarium salt, and the Stress Coat. I'll treat him over the next 10 days and just hope that he gets better. I'd really like to change the water 2x a week, but I don't think I'd be able to. I'll up it to 100% weekly changes after treating him, though.

Thank you so much for your help. This forum is really the best.
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:04 AM   #7 
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I am glad you were able to get some needed supplies there. Once all the fins grow out, he will be one handsome dude! Good to hear the fins are flow-y

If you can, try at least a 50% wc mid week besides the usual 100% end of the week change. Ideally you should have an ammonia test kit to test prior to water change, this will tell you if the level of ammonia you have (may not be high or dangerous level, but enough to be detrimental over prolonged period of time?) if you were to do a weekly change. Again, it all depends on the size of your betta, how regular your betta is, the type of food, presence of live plants etc that will and can change the water chemistry.

Keep us posted. Yes, show him off with more photos of him once he is fully recovered. Good luck!
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