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Old 03-24-2012, 04:19 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Toronto
Just can't get rid of FIN ROT!

Hello fellow betta lovers!
My betta (Kai) has had fin rot almost ever since I got him 5 months ago. I have treated him with salt treatment a few times and this seems to help but once the fins start growing in they get a thin black edge on them and then shred away. I also think Kai might be a tail biter because sometimes I think they are getting better and then I wake up in the morning with a big chunk missing.

His 5 gallon tank has a glass bottom with a few rocks and 1 large silk plant that he likes to swim through. He also has a coffee mug to give him a hidey hole.

I more thing. I am going away on holidays in 1 week (for 12 days) so a friend will be taking care of Kai and I can't ask her to do intensive water changes (she will do 1 or 2) but want to prevent the fin rot from taking over while I am gone.

Should I try tetracycline? Should I try putting a filter in the tank? (I have a small filter but when I first got him he didn't seem to like it). I also have a cycled tank (10 gallong, 6 gold zebra fish) in the house so I could put the sponge from the cycled tank into my betta tank to get a quick cycle going.

What size is your tank? 5 gallons
What temperature is your tank? 80F (though during the winter the tank temp was lower, about 75F, because that is the warmest I could keep a consistent temp because our house drops to 60F overnight and the thermometer couldn't keep up)
Does your tank have a filter? NO
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? non

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? betta pellets (Betta Banquet)
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2 pellets in morning, 2 in evening


How often do you perform a water change? min 1x50% and 1x100% each week. With the 100% change I wash down everything in the tank with hot water and wipe walls of tank with Kleenex. I have tried doing more frequent water changes but I just don't have the time to keep doing this consistently.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? see above
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? API+ stress coat/water conditioner (I bought this about 2 weeks ago, before that I was using a different brand but I heard this is better)

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


Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? shredded fins getting shorter all the time, sometimes clear regrowth but it doesn't last long (1 week?) before it thins out and shreds off
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? none, happy, swimmy guy
When did you start noticing the symptoms? ongoing problem for 4 months
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? currently in salt water, 1 teaspoon/gallon. I do this for 10 days. THis is the 4th time I have done this. (I always wait a few weeks in between treatments)
Does your fish have any history of being ill? only fin rot
How old is your fish (approximately)? got him 5 months ago
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Old 03-24-2012, 08:50 PM   #2 
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Location: Kingston, Ontario
What kind of salt you are using? o-o
Do you know if your water is hard? I have hard water and boy's fins aren't growing back very quickly at all.. He also bites chunks off so it's even worse.
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:05 PM   #3 
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Are you sure that it isn't tailbiting
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:27 PM   #4 
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Location: NYC
if you are absolutely sure its an incurable fin rot... you might be brave enough to try this Manually removing fin rot

but I would do it only if i consider the rot to be threatening my fish's life
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:03 PM   #5 
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Is there a way for you to post a picture so we can verify whether or not it is rot?

You say you put him in the water, are you doing daily 100% water changes, adding in new salt each day during treatment?

He may be tailbiting- the amount of water changes you are doing is too great for that size of a tank, even without a filter.. normally recommended for 5 gallons is 1 50% per week with 1 100% monthly- or bi-weekly at the most.

It also sounds as if he doesn't have a whole lot in his tank to keep him mentally stimulated- have to remember that these fish prefer more densely planted aquariums, and things to explore and do. Not having enough can cause some to fin bite.. they get stressed for any number of reasons and will bite as a reaction to it. I have one where if he doesn't see me, or another betta for any length of time greater then an hour he will take a bite or two out of his fins.

It may also have to do with the food you are feeding.. I can not find any information on what you listed- the only things I come up with under that name is a feeding block and a paste of sorts.
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Old 03-25-2012, 07:20 AM   #6 
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Location: Toronto
I am using aquarium salt. The fins do regrow but after about a week the new growth disappears again.

In the beginning, I tried to reduce the amount of 100% water changes, doing only 1 50% per week. But after 2 weeks, that is when the black edging/fin rot started, so I started doing more frequent changes ever since. If I wait even one additional day ("I should change the water tonight but I'm tired so I will do it in the morning") then I wake up and the fins are all shredded.

I am not doing daily water changes during the salt treatment - I just don't have the time. It takes me about 30 minutes to do and then 30 minutes to acclimitize - I am a working Mom, I just can't do that every day!

I used to have a smaller plant in his tank but I thought maybe that's why he was biting so I got this new, bigger silk plant (see photo) about 2 weeks ago. He does seem to like it and swims all through the leaves.

In the close-up of the tail you can see the black edges (near the top), places where chunks are missing, and some evidence of shredding.
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:29 PM   #7 
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Location: south of detroit
U don't have to kleenex the tank it actually is killing what little surface area bacteria u do have so stop wiping everything. Next do water changes less amount more frequent like 10 percent bi-day, also evry one on this site luvs their salts and de chlor and other chems but just chill on that and focus on surface area bacteria as ur water conditioner, as for the fins not super bad just try a change in habitual bad patterns and u might be in luck!
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Old 04-23-2012, 07:25 AM   #8 
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I agree with your response, less is more. I went away on holidays so had to leave the tank without any water changes for 12 days - I was worried that I would come back to his fins being gone completely. (I had a friend come in 3 times to feed him). I came back and his fins had pretty much grown back, he looked healthy, ... and he had even made a bubble nest which he had never done before!
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Old 06-03-2012, 09:29 AM   #9 
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What ended up happening with your betta's fins? I am also having some very resilient fin rot that he had when I got him from the store about 5 months ago :(
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Old 06-03-2012, 10:31 AM   #10 
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I started changing the water a lot less (50 - 75% per week, no 100% and no cleaning the walls of the tank or the plants) and it seems to have improved. So maybe I needed to keep some of the natural bacteria in the tank.

Occaisionally he has a hole/break but it grows back quickly. I also put a filter in a week ago and now plan to change the water even less!

Oh yeah, I also started adding 1 pinch of AQ salt to every tanks change (I have a 5 gallon tank).

Good luck
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biting, fin rot, reoccurring, vacation

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