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Old 10-29-2015, 03:39 PM   #1 
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Is he tail-biting?

My very beautiful boy here (Prince!) has a tail issue. It's getting raggedy before my eyes!

I have a 4-gallon tank (Fluval View) that I keep heated - it's about 78 degrees. There is a filter, but I don't run it while he's in there because it's so strong - I'll take him out and keep in him a little "vacation home" jar for a couple of hours every few days to run the filter because I've seen him get sucked up against the intake. He can get away with not too much effort (it looks like) but I'm worried about his tail getting chewed up in the intake slits. I'm feeding him one or two nuggets of Aqueon betta food per day, with the occasional dried shrimp. The plant is silk and I'm looking for a hidey-hole rock or tunnel for him but I'm very paranoid about things with sharp edges (my last betta's tail was shredded by a plastic plant - newbie mistake - so I'm super-careful now). I don't have an airstone of any other filtration devices. Because I'm not running the filter very much I'm doing a half-change of the water once a week. I'm afraid I don't know the ph & whatnot, I don't have a testing kit. I make sure the new water is the same temp as the old water when I switch it, and I treat it with API stresscoat+ conditioner and a teaspoon or so of aquarium salts before I put it in. I've only had him for a couple of weeks and he's a really fun fish - super sassy and very active. He gets very excited when he sees me. He flares really reliably when I put a mirror in his tank, and there doesn't seem to be any damage to his fins, only his tail, which makes me wonder if he's biting it. He does seem to "pace" a lot - he swims back and forth in a 4-inch pattern toward the front of his tank. He lives alone.

This tank is in my office, so he fasts Saturdays and Sundays. I sit a couple of feet away from the tank, so he can see me all the time when I'm here. I wonder if he gets stressed when I'm NOT here - is that a thing with fish??

Like I said, he's very active, but I've spied on him a lot and have never seen him nip his tail, but it's been worse & worse every morning when I come to work. (You can see in the pictures - where he started 2 weeks ago and now.)

I'm going to pick up some almond leaves tonight and put them in his tank tomorrow. Do these pictures look like biting? He's breaking my heart with this - he's such a gorgeous boy and I'll feel awful if I'm doing something to hurt him. I got him at a very reliable fish & aquarium place - not a big chain with "Pet" in the name.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 10-30-2015, 01:09 AM   #2 
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Location: Orlando, FL
The "U" shaped chunks definitely look like tail biting to me! The next step would be to figure out what is stressing him- is the tank too empty?
If you're nervous about caves and hidey places, maybe get more silk plants? I have a cave in my betta tank but he never uses it but he loves to swim and weave through the leaves.
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