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Old 01-31-2012, 08:52 PM   #1 
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Help! Betta has fin rot, not sure which medication to use

Hi guys, I got a halfmoon betta around a month ago and sometime last week, he suddenly got a split in his tail. I thought it was just an injury at first, but now the size of his fins are shrinking and more tears are developing in his tail.

I've been treating with Maracyn II and aquarium salt, but it looks like the fin rot is still progressing and I'm not sure if I'm using the right medication anymore There was an article online that said that fin rot that develops more evenly with white edges (which is what's happening to my betta) is a sign of fungal fin rot. Is this true? What medication should I be using?

Thanks for your help!

What size is your tank? 2.5 gallons
What temperature is your tank? 77 degrees F
Does your tank have a filter? It used to, but I removed it when I thought it had caused my betta's tail to tear
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? No
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Freeze dried blood worms
How often do you feed your betta fish? Every day except Sundays

How often do you perform a water change? 1-2 times a week, currently doing one every day
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 30%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Aqueon Betta Bowl Plus and recently started adding aquarium salt

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

Ammonia: Between 0 and 0.5 ppm
Nitrite: Between 1 and 1.5 ppm
Nitrate: Between 0 and 20 ppm
pH: 6.8
Hardness: 0 ppm
Alkalinity: 40 ppm

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Fins and tail getting smaller (pretty evenly), splits appearing in tail, edges of fins seem white
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Not much, still fairly active and hungry
When did you start noticing the symptoms? A few days ago when there was suddenly a chunk missing in his tail (I thought it was an injury at first)
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Yes, I started him on Maracyn II two days ago
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No
How old is your fish (approximately)? Just got him from the pet store 4 weeks ago

Here's a picture, there used to be a bigger white area to his fins:
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:09 AM   #2 
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Handsome boy you have...

First off, he does not have fin rot- fin rot you will see either blackened edges with chunks falling off (bacterial form of it) or white edges that looks cottony (fungal form of it). He has neither.
What it does look like is that he is biting his fins- and the tail he ended up taking a large chunk out of it. Halfmoons are notorious for fin biting, between incorrect breeding and their large tails they easily pick up the bad habit. Either from stress, or when placed into a larger home and their fins drag and feel heavy for them. Coming from a breeder's jar, then the cup and lastly into a bigger home at our homes- their muscles aren't always built up enough and they can tire a little easier swimming all around. If your filter was not baffled, it could of caused too strong of a current for him and he started chewing his fins off to help cause less of a drag.

Highly recommend removing him from the medications and salt- as currently they will do more damage and harm to him then help him as he is not ill, nor has an infection.

The rot is slow moving, and you will start noticing it a long time before it gets to the point where that much is missing. Fins that are damaged are more susceptible to the bacteria and rot- but easily kept at bay with proper water changes.

For a 2.5 gallon tank with a filter, you would want to be doing 1 50% water only, and 1 50% with substrate vacuuming per week.
For a 2.5 gallon tank without a filter, you will want to be doing 1 50% water only and 1 100% water change per week.
You *may* be able to get away with one water change per week, 50% with vacuuming, but as his tail is damaged I would recommend what I mentioned above, as it is the ideal schedule.

That would be enough to keep the water clean, but not overly clean (as there does need to have some bacterial growth in the tank to keep him healthy and his immune system working good).

A varied diet high in protein will help the fins to grow back, and some say Stress Coat will as well (you can use in place of your regular conditioner, but I prefer just adding in a few drops along with my conditioner as Stress Coat doesn't cover every thing that comes in the tap water that I like to remove).

Unfortunately, there is no way to make him stop biting his tail.. but if it was due to the filter then having no filter may allow him some relief of any drag/heaviness and he may stop biting because of that.
Also if the tank is minimally decorated you may try adding in some more plants and a cave, etc to give him some more mental stimulation and cause him to be more interested in his surroundings rather then his tail.

Stop the AQ salt, as it won't deter the bacteria growth, but instead can cause the bacteria to become resistant to it.. not to mention the internal health issues it can cause. AQ salt is good to use on a limited time when it is actually needed, but luckily for you and him, in this situation it is not.

I would also recommend adding in pellets to his diet, as freeze dried is considered more of a treat. Pellets will have more nutrition added, as it covers more bases of their diets. They are insectivores, but they do get their plant base nutrition from the stomachs of their meals, but since these guys are domestic, we have to supplement those nutritional needs.

2-3 pellets per meal, twice a day is sufficient. You can replace a meal of pellets with 2-3 blood worms (per meal) a few times a week to give him the boost of protein if you so wish.

You just started the medication, so I highly doubt any negative side effects will occur- just make sure to adjust him to his home with no medication when you remove him. Since he has no filter, go ahead and do a 100% water change and just add in the conditioner, float him for roughly 15-20 minutes, a couple times removing water from the cup and replacing it with water from the tank. gently pour him into a net over a cup/sink, and gently place him into the tank to avoid more fin damage and to remove the medication all together.

Good luck, if you have any more questions, please feel free to ask!

*Edit* Forgot to mention- clear to white edging is a sign of fin regrowth- with white edging you will want to look for cottony puffs, and I don't see any sign of it on him. But just clear to white edging is new growth and a good sign.

Last edited by Myates; 02-01-2012 at 09:15 AM.
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:53 AM   #3 
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Thanks for all the information! I didn't know that tail biting was so common in halfmoons. I'm actually preparing a 5 gallon with a sponge filter and lots of plants and a cave for him, so hopefully he'll like that more. Will definitely keep all your suggestions in mind moving forward
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:21 PM   #4 
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Sounds like he will be in great hands and a great home :)

Just keep in mind that he may bite off some more- but don't get too dishearted, sometimes they stop on their own. I have one, and all I can do is yell at him. He just makes a face at me when I do.. but I still love him, just as you will your guy :)
Good luck to you both!
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