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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone!

I have a little blue delta tail (possibly cellophane) male betta named Casper! I got him when he was a little younger than an adult in June of this year and since then, he has started biting his tail in the past month and a half or so - for what reason, I am not sure yet! So far, he has bitten off part of a bit of the middle of his caudal fin, a little bit of his anal fin, and part of the long section of his ventral fins.

I have him in a 5-6 gallon tank with a filter with a sponge to create "low-flow" and a heater that heats the tank to about 78 F. I do have silk plants not live plants, but I've created many places and holes for him to swim through and made sure they are soft and would not hurt his fins. He also has a betta hammock and a couple of caves, there is nothing he can really rip his fins on. I have no aeration stone or bubbles and I vacuum the substrate about 2x a week with only about 25-30% water changes, sometimes more if needed. I have 2 nerite snails living with Casper in the tank. I also occasionally use the betta mirror to get him to exercise his flaring.

I feed him daily (sometimes twice daily if he's really showing he's wanting to eat food) with an assortment of the Hikari Bio-Gold pellets, frozen brine shrimp, and freeze-dried blood worms. I test the tank with API strips and the ammonia test kit. My ammonia and nitrite are always at 0, the GH is around 15 ppm and the KH is around 20 ppm from the last test. I use Oregon tap water but treat with Seachem Prime and Seachem Stability. I have treated with aquarium salt to help his wounds heal.

I have moved to college since I've gotten him so the placement of his tank has moved. He used to be placed at the back of my desk where I would be the majority of the day. Now, he's not at my desk, but he is right next to my desk where he still can see me and watch me work. I do wonder if he misses having a full view of me at my computer doing work though rather than a bit more of a side view.

I recently have added Indian almond leaves to the tank to hopefully help with the stress, but I just don't understand why he could be biting his tail! Am I doing something wrong? Is he bored? Does he think his fins are another betta? Is there anything else I could do to prevent him from continuing to bite his fins? I considered adding a small and docile fish (or a few schooling fish) to peak his interest and maybe keep him from thinking about biting his tail, but I understand I have a small tank and I'm not sure how the bioload would look if I added another fish.

Please give me your advice! I really can't figure out why he could be biting his tail and how I can help him to stop it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Photos, please.
Fish Fish Organism Freshwater aquarium Aquarium

In this photo you can see he's bitten off one of the long bits of his ventral fin as well as see the damage on his caudal fin. There is new growth on this fin, but he could bite it off again.
Green Nature Freshwater aquarium Leaf Tail

Here's an image of his caudal fin closer up. He's kinda twisted here, the damage isn't nearly as far up his fin as this looks, but this shows the bloody bits of the fin on the edges.
Freshwater aquarium Organism Aquarium Fish Tail

I just added this photo to hopefully show the bit of damage at the end of his anal fin because he has been biting there as well.
 

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Stress, bored...theres no concrete answer but it seems to me that he is annoyed with its own tail cause it is large.

Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk
 

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Unfortunately, no one knows why they bite. It's all speculation. There are, however, a few commonalities we've seen on this Forum:

1. Tank too bright or lights on too long;
2. Not enough shade;
3. Long, heavy fins.

As shade or cover are necessary for most freshwater fish, some sort of waterline canopy could help. You can make such a habitat by having a couple of tall plants with broad leaves. Using Indian Almond Leaves or plain, decaffeinated Rooibos Tea will make darken the water. As both have antifungal and antibacterial properties this will also help prevent infection. I like to make a strong "tea" of either to immediately darken the tank. I keep a leaf or teabag floating, as well.

Some think Betta with long, heavy fins bite them to reduce the load. Others think they bite them because they "see" those fins as another Betta sneaking up on them.

Freshwater aquarium Aquarium decor Aquarium Aquatic plant Kelp
Freshwater aquarium Aquarium Organism Fish Fish
 
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