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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone. Last night one of my Bettas died of fin rot. I got him from Petsmart last month. The fin rot worsened in this last week despite increasing water changes and using medication. Once the rot got to his body, he was done for. I believe the reason for this was because the Betta I had prior to him died in a similar manner, and I do not think I disinfected the tank well enough, so perhaps the old parasites got to the new Betta and finished him off. Could there be another reason? I tested the water frequently and had results with 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 15 ppm nitrate, 7.2 pH, and 80F temperature.

My question is, how should I properly disinfect the 5 gallon tank, knowing that these Bettas have died from fin/body rot in the same tank? Several discussions I read online mention hot water, vinegar, bleach, and salt, but I wanted to hear your thoughts on this. The tank also has an amazon sword, anubias, marimo moss ball, some plastic decor, and glass pebbles. Are there any special ways for disinfecting these? Also, how long after disinfecting the tank should I wait to get another Betta? (Disinfecting the tank would cause me to create another Nitrogen cycle, right?) Many thanks!

68 Posts
So sorry to hear of your loss. From what I understand, true fin rot is not contagious. However, I'm sure there are other illnesses that could cause degradation of the fins and breakdown of tissue that could possibly be contagious. One of these is columnaris, which is highly contagious. There are generally other symptoms present but I suppose an underlying disease could certainly be the culprit rather than fin rot. A through sanitation isn't a bad idea if you are unsure. I always reccomend using vinegar to disinfect the aquarium itself. I would think you could wash the glass pebbles with it too. As for the plastic plants, I would probably throw them out and get new ones. Live plants, I'm unsure about - but if I have to guess, they should be ok with a short dip in a bleach solution or something. I'd throw out the marimo moss ball since it absorbs the water and any bad stuff can easily seep into it. Its just very important to make sure everything is thoroughly rinsed after cleaning with vinegar or bleach. A thorough cleaning would require you to start from the beginning with the cycle.

Also, please fill out the following form so it will make it easier for others to help pinpoint what might be going on in your tank and try to give you helpful advice:
Many illnesses can be traced to water conditions. Your water-changing schedule is the most important element in diagnosing. Please be honest.

How many gallons is your tank?
Does it have a filter?
Does it have a heater?
What temperature is your tank?
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind?

What food brand do you use?
Do you feed flakes or pellets?
How often do you feed your Betta? How much?

Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change?
What percentage of water did you change?
What is the source of your water?
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water?
What additives do you use? What brand of conditioner?

Water Parameters:
What are your water parameters? Please give exact numbers. If tested by pet store please get exact numbers. "Fine" or "Safe" won't help us help you. Important: Test your water *before* the regular water change; not after one.

Hardness (GH):
Alkalinity (KH):

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms?
How has your Betta’s appearance changed?
How has your Betta’s behavior changed?
Is your Betta still eating?
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how?
Does your Betta have any history of being ill?
How long have you owned your Betta?
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased?


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When seeking help be thorough as members give advice based on the information *you* provide. While we have many knowledgeable fish keepers here, please remember that members' opinions are their own and that it is up to you to determine the best course of action for your fish. We are not responsible for any consequences resulting from following the advice you receive here.
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