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Old 02-25-2012, 04:21 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Wisconsin, USA
My betta from Petco (maybe) came with fin rot

Hi all, I'm new to this forum and to betta ownership. I bought a betta Thursday night and have some questions!

I didn't know much about bettas before buying one from Petco, having only done cursory research. (I actually have a friend who has owned bettas for years and was going off of her advice.) The crowntail betta I took home is very lively and eating fine, but I noticed the outermost edge of his fins are tinged black. I thought this was his coloration when I got him, but now I'm worried it could be fin rot that he had prior to me purchasing him.

I am currently uploading a video I took of him swimming in front of the camera (I couldn't get a decent picture with my phone) and I'll link it at the end of this post. If it does or does not look like fin rot, please let me know! If needed, I can get more video, but probably can't manage a photo. He doesn't stay still and my phone doesn't focus quickly enough to take a good picture.

Below, I'll share some details about what I've done to set up his tank and what I plan to do. After a lot of research, I'm worried I might be misunderstanding some necessities/requirements and don't want to do too much or too little to ensure my little guy's health.

Tank size: 2 gallon (Tetra brand), but only holds about 1.5 gallons of water after decor and stuff.
Filter: Filtered with an activated carbon filter and no "filter media" (not really sure what that is honestly.)
Heated: No, but I am going to buy a thermometer this weekend to find out if it's not warm enough, and then plan to buy a 2-15 gallon heater I found if the temp is not high enough. My house is very warm, though.
Water type: Using spring water from gallon jugs (Ice Mountain), only minimally pH adjusted, no other treatments.

Food: Right now he's eating Betta Bio-Gold pellets, 2-3 per feeding, 2 times per day. I have freeze-dried blood worms too but haven't opened them, and plan to fast him on Sundays. The first time I tried feeding him yesterday I dropped like 5 pellets in the water... then did research on it afterward. D'oh.

pH: somewhere around 7.5. The water he came in from Petco tested at the highest pH level my test can detect (it's a dropper test and the water turned a rich, clear blue) so I didn't correct the pH dramatically in his bowl.
(I'm not aware of other water stats as I only bought a pH tester.)

Tank Maintenance: So far this is my plan: Buy a siphon and vacuum the gravel every 2-3 days, doing like a 20% water replacement when I do that. Rinse the filter out but don't replace. If the betta has fin rot, I think I will need to buy aquarium salt and add a little to his water for a few days? Otherwise, perhaps the fin rot is due to the stress of living in a tiny cup of dirty water at Petco, and it will resolve over time?

Since I just got this guy a couple days ago, I'm not sure if I should let some time pass before I start fiddling with water replacements and stuff. Could this add to his stress and possibly do more harm than good? I also thought I might look for something like Tetra Lifeguard All-In-One but wasn't sure if it would be necessary, safe to use in as small a tank as mine, or even effective.

Link to Youtube video of my betta:

Thanks for any help, advice, or lecture you can provide!
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Old 02-25-2012, 04:55 PM   #2 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Welcome to the wonderful world of Betta keeping....

It was hard to tell much since he was moving....but to me it looks more like normal pigment and not rot......

I wouldn't add any chemical to adjust the pH or hardness-the pH is fine and without a KH/GH no way to know how hard the water is.....Bettas will adjust to your source water and it is better/safer to have a stable pH and without the proper buffers and knowing the KH/GH-changing just the pH will result in a rebound that can be stressful.....

I don't recommend long term use of aquarium salt-its not needed-it is a great product to have on hand to use short term for treatment when used for the right reason, dosage and duration and best to treat in a small QT container and premix the treatment water to give you more control.

You may or may not need a heater, however, its a good idea to have one on hand....Your goal is to maintain a somewhat stable temp in the 76-80F range.

You do need a thermometer to monitor both the tank temp and the temp of the replacement water used for water changes

In a 1-2gal filtered tank without live plants-water changes of twice weekly 50%....1-50% water only and 1-50% to include the substrate by vacuum or stir and dip maintain water quality...

Filter media-it sound like you are using the combined type-a cartridge with a sponge and carbon.....You don't need carbon-but it won't hurt to leave the carbon once it is used up in about 2-4 weeks....You do need to remove the cartridge a couple of times a month and give it a good rinse/swish in the bucket of old tank water with a water change....

Source water-bottled water isn't the best to use-often the filtering process will remove the needed mineral for long term health-I would either mix it 50/50 with your tap or just use your tap water along with a dechlorinator-but you will need to slowly acclimate him to the new chemistry

Even with bottled water you should be using a dechlorinator-since sometimes all it filtered tap water that can still contain chlorine/chloramines that are harmful to the fish....

Sometimes the water movement from the filter can damage fins-you may need to baffle the filter or remove it all together if it looks to be causing tattered fins/fin damage

In an unfiltered 1-2gal tank water changes of twice weekly...1-50% and 1-100% will maintain water quality.....

Nutrition-good quality varied diet fed in small frequent meals is best....

Look forward to hearing more about your Betta adventures.....

Last edited by Oldfishlady; 02-25-2012 at 04:58 PM.
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Old 02-25-2012, 04:56 PM   #3 
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Shangdong, China

The first thing I can tell ya is, use tap waterr instead of bottled water. Bottled water lacks minerals and stuff the fish needs. ALWAYS use some kind of conditioner with tap water. There are many brands. Stress Coat is good, helps with fin regrowth. Prime is also highly recommended.

If he HAS fin rot the best treatment is daily water changes and AQ salt to fight infections but do not use it for more then 10 or so days
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Old 02-25-2012, 05:06 PM   #4 
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Wisconsin, USA
Thanks so much oldfishlady and tikibirds for your advice!

I do have some bulbs planted so hopefully I will have live plants in there in time. So 2 50% changes per week, 1 of them being a clean of the substrate.

My husband said he read that bottled spring water would be better because of the presence of minerals, so that's why we went with that. I have no idea where he read that or if he misread. Definitely if tap (dechlorinated) is better, I will work on gradually making that change!

So I will buy some AQ salt, but I will not use it unless I'm definitely seeing some illness. Good to know the black tint could be pigmentation. Aside from it being black, his fins don't look frayed or damaged to my inexpert eye, so I feel more reassured now!

Thanks again and I plan to frequent this forum so I can be a better betta owner, so hopefully I'll see you around! =)
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