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Old 01-21-2012, 04:31 PM   #1 
lcaley
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Reoccuring fin rot?

Hey guys, despite all my efforts and research, my betta just won't heal up from a moderate case of fin rot he had a few months ago. I thought I had it worked out, as he started growing fin back about two weeks ago. However, in the last two days, he's lost (in chunks, not all over) everything he has grown back, and maybe more.

The tank is new, and I'm relatively new to betta fish, but I've had a 10g community tank set up and running for most of my life, so I do know quite a bit about keeping fish in general. While the tank was cycling, I had him in a 1g bowl which I did 100% water changes every two days. He had a mild case of fin rot when I brought him home from the store. He healed up in no time, and looked as he does in my profile pic. I made a bad decision to put him into his personal 5g before it was fully cycled, and the fin rot returned. So, back into his heated 1g (sticker thermometer said 78F relatively steady). The fin rot stopped getting worse, but it was not getting any better. During this time, the 5g had finally cycled. Eventually, I got tired of changing the water every day when he had a fully cycled, properly heated, planted tank just sitting empty, so I slowly acclimated him in his cup, and put him in. He immediately darkened up, and looked extremely happy. In the morning, he had about 1mm of new fin growth. I can only assume the small heater in the bowl, and the sticker thermometer were incorrect and he was too cold to regrow the fin.

However, now he is losing fin again, and the water is pristine. I really don't understand. It definitely does not look like he's biting because it's being eaten away around the rays in his tail before those finally go away as well. I'm going to attach some pics to show. Ignore the difference in color from my profile pic, these pics are from a much better camera. He is actually the same color as before.

Here's this:

Housing
What size is your tank? 5g, live planted
What temperature is your tank? 79-81F (varies with my house heater's program cycle)
Does your tank have a filter? Yes, steps have been taken to reduce current
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? Yes
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) and "Top Fin Freeze-Dried Bloodworms" (occasional)
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2 pellets in morning and night, 1 bloodworm at night every 3 days or so

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? ~2 days
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? Stress Coat (double dosed for fin growth, per directions)

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

Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: <5 ppm
pH: 7.8 (high, but steady.. my tap water is very high, ~8.2)
Hardness: Not tested
Alkalinity: Not tested

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Losing fin, not getting better
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? None, still eats, swims, flares
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Ongoing for months
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? To stabilize the first time, he spent 10 days in a AQ salt bath, since then, clean water only
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Chronic Fin Rot (does that exist? )
How old is your fish (approximately)? Body is 1-1.5".. so a year? I'm not sure. I've had him since November.
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Old 01-21-2012, 04:33 PM   #2 
lcaley
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It appears my profile pic doesn't exist anymore. Here's what he used to look like:

Edit: Nevermind, I figured it out. Feel free to delete this post.
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Last edited by lcaley; 01-21-2012 at 04:36 PM.
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Old 01-21-2012, 06:15 PM   #3 
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Good news and bad news. Good news, is this is a fairly simple issue to treat. The bad news, it does look like he has a bit of rot, which has been brought on by a massive case of fin/tail biting.

Clean water is the key, you might want to put him on AQ salt, start at 1 tsp/gal then after 24 hours bump it up to 2 tsp/gal. Salt baths usually are not enough to be effective for rot. He needs to stay in the salt water. Daily water changes while on salt are the norm. You can use this treatment for 10 days, at which point he should go back to unsalted water (salt can build up in the kidneys, why we suggest limiting it).

At this point, trying to discover the cause of his fin biting will be best. Stress and boredom are two of the biggest factors, and can be the easiest (if anything with fin biters) to treat. The third reason, well, you can't really help, just prevent rot. Sometimes boys with big fins will "trim" them back so they can swim easier, and I think, some fish are just neurotic, like my boy, who bites randomly to *bleep* the heck outta momma.
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Old 01-21-2012, 06:26 PM   #4 
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If it were biting, wouldn't the rays be gone as well as the fin between them? It just seems that the webbing of his fins melt away, and the rays turn gray and eventually fall off as well. Also, the damage between the before and after has slowly gotten worse over 6-8 weeks. He did not lose all that fin in 2 days. On the one pic where the light caught the fins just right, you can see the regrowth of fin. About double the clear part is all that's grown back. So when I said he lost all that he's grown back, it's only maybe 3-4mm. But the loss is in chunks, not all over, which I'll admit does sound like biting. The fact that the rays stay for a few more days is what confuses me.
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Old 01-21-2012, 06:51 PM   #5 
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IME my boy bites the fin between the rays. I don't know why, he'll eventually bite them off too. But how they look, scraggly, stringy, it is classic fin biting. It can vary from fish to fish, but it looks just like my boys fins after a biting session.
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Old 01-21-2012, 07:21 PM   #6 
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Interesting. Well it would explain it happening even with the good water quality. What's the best way in your experience to stop that from happening? I've tried putting a mirror up to his glass just for kicks and giggles before, and he doesn't seem interested.
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Old 01-21-2012, 07:50 PM   #7 
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For my fin biter: Move his decorations around every few water changes, or take on out for a while. It keeps the exploration new and improved. I also just read somewhere today about having a button on a string inside the bowl and they'd chase it. If I find it I'll post it here. I'm really thinking about using that for both of my boys.

Stress coat (I hear) also helps calm them down. Sometimes, however, its just a habit they have. My Zamboni has a swim bladder injury and struggles to get to the top sometimes, and bites for him to swim more easily. Your fishie has huge fins; he may do that to make it easier to swim around.

Hope that helps. Good luck with your pretty boy! :D
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Old 01-21-2012, 08:11 PM   #8 
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Biting out of boredom probably. Like suggested above, change his ornaments around, and then try holding up a mirror for him to flare at once or twice a day. Maybe, if you can afford it, buy some extra toys and ornaments, so you can rotate them. He'll always have something new to explore.
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Old 01-22-2012, 12:43 PM   #9 
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I'll give these things a try. Thanks.

How about a tank mate? The tank should be able to support another fish. There used to be an oto in there, and they played cat-and-mouse a bit. I never saw any damage to the little oto, so to me it seemed pretty harmless. I'm not sure what happened to the oto, but he died a few weeks ago. Might give a little entertainment?
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Old 01-22-2012, 12:46 PM   #10 
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In a 5 gal, you really shouldn't have any other fish. A snail or a few shrimp are the only options for companions. Shrimp are hit or miss, the betta will either eat them, or let them be.

From what I understand, ottos should only be put in established tanks with live plants, they eat algae.
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