Hello all. I'm a new user to these forums but I am not new to the information you all have gathered here (in which I've been using extensively as a personal resource).
I'm new to owning a Betta Fish and my first one died within the week I had him due to accidental over-feeding (I got terrible advice from one of the Cat-people at Petco) and have since learned my lesson. Thanks to my digress at my first Betta's illness, I saw plenty of the posts here that dealt with care.
I currently have a Half-Moon Double Tail named Gyarados. I'd show a picture but he's deathly afraid of cameras (and the camera on my phone is terrible in quality).
I recently went through a panic because I noticed one day his double-tail was shredded on the bottom portion. I had to go to work so I couldn't do anything at the moment. But when I returned 6 hours later, I saw that the condition worsened terribly! Not only was his bottom double-tail scrapped up more, but his top portion was as well!. I isolated him immediately wondering if it was fin rot. But once I looked at him closely, I ruled that out. Then I read that it could be tail-biting. I've seen him chase his tail slowly out of playfulness, but never come close to reaching his fins (plus they aren't chunks, it's clean rips in the edges).
I put in some salt and took out everything but the soft moss ball in his then 1-gallon tank. The next day, I saw the clear edges of fin-healing and was content.
The next day I put transferred him into a new 5 gallon tank with a new decoration (making sure it had no rough or sharp edges) and adding new soft-leaved aquatic plants.
He eats a mix of high-quality pellets and frozen brine shrimp with the occasional pea. His water is always in the range of 74 (usually at night) to 82 degrees (usually midday). He is also extremely active and feisty.
I haven't done a water check because I have yet been able to buy the necessary kit due to splurging on the new tank and essential live plants. He is a little over two weeks old (in terms of me having him) and he fascinates me.
But back to the initial concern. The next day, I noticed him swimming around a plant I had originally suspected of being a possible cause for his scrapped fins due to the roots being hard and wiry when exposed out of the gravel (which they really were in his previous tank). I had suspected his being a problem because after I had to cut off some of the leaves that were turning brown (ones that he would lounge in), he spent more time around the other plant.
I had put this plant deeply in the gravel and in a corner in hopes he wouldn't swim around it. Sure enough, on the second day he was in the 5 gallon, I saw him rubbing inside that little corner, but didn't see any damage. However, after working a 8 hour day, I came back to see his fins scrapped up more. I'm hoping I didn't miss something in the new decoration I got for him (especially since he's made it his little hole to hide in). But I took out the plant which I saw had been pushed back a little with the roots newly exposed.
So I'm wondering, could this be a cause of his ripped fins? None of the other plants have hard or wiry roots, so I'm just trying to see if it is indeed tail biting or if it's this potentially cursed plant. Regardless of his injury, he's still behaving normal.