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3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi! I am somewhat new to fish keeping, and have a betta with a torn?/rotting? tail.

How many gallons is your tank? 3.5 gallons
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What temperature is your tank?
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? None

What food brand do you use? Aqueon betta food
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Pellets
Freeze-dried? No
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? Small amount every day except Sundays

Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? Once a week
What percentage of water did you change? 45%
What is the source of your water? Tap
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water?Vacuum
What additives do you use? What brand of conditioner? API tap water conditioner

Water Parameters:
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 10
Nitrate: 10
pH: 7.2 stable
Hardness (GH): 60
Alkalinity (KH): 90

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? Three weeks ago
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? Tail has become ragged and shorter
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? He is acting completely normal
Is your Betta still eating? Enthusiastically as always!
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? I thought it was fin rot at first, so I treated with E.M. Erythromycin. Nothing changed. I have also been using BettaFix and an Indian Almond leaf.
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? None
How long have you owned your Betta? Three months
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? No, he was perfectly fine. The local fish store I got him at seems really good about the health of their fish.

I cannot tell if this is fin rot, fin nipping, or something else. I am really concerned about him, and want him to be happy. I am newish to fish keeping, and want to do better in any way possible. For enrichment, (after seeing on here that there is the possibility that it is fin nipping,) I have moved around everything outside his tank, and plan on continuing this if it is nipping. Thanks so much, I really appreciate any help at all!!!

(I attached four photos to this, if I did so incorrectly please tell me. Thanks!)


231 Posts
Could be rot or biting, not sure exactly which one. If the reading is really true on Nirtites though, that is crazy high! They should always be at 0. Fin rot is most commonly caused by bad water conditions over an extended amount of time.
It sounds like you might not have cycled your tank, since you've only had him for a relatively small amount of time. Exposure to high nitrites over time can cause a betta to get sick, or stress him enough to cause other issues. I would definitely do a water change right away to get a handle on those nitrite levels. With such high nitrite levels, chances are you may have high ammonia levels as well. That 5 in 1 test kit doesn't have ammonia readings on there, which are quite important to monitor. If you can afford it, a liquid test kit tends to be a little more accurate overall, and has all the needed testers. If you can't get that, see if your local petsmart or petco has something called "ammonia alert", that will show you what the ammonia levels are at all time in the tank and if they are dangerous. Quite important if your tank has to go through a cycle.

Also, you mentioned you have a heater, but there's no temperature reading. Do you have a thermometer? Even the preset heaters can break down and over/under heat an aquarium so its important to know the exact temperature. Thermometers at the pet store are only a couple dollars. :) Over/under heating can cause issues and illness with bettas as well, you want the water to be between 78-80 degrees.

Your tank also does look a bit sparse as well, bettas can feel stressed if they don't have lots of cover to hide in, and it can cause them to bite their fins. Live plants are best, but if you can't do those, then see if you can get a couple more soft silk plants. Make sure there are no sharp edges to rip the fins on! The best betta tank is one where you can't see your betta at a glance. :)

I hope he does okay, he's a cute little guy. :)

3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi! Thanks so much for the answer. I must have been more tired and stressed last night than I thought, as I retested the water this morning and the nitrites were 0. I also forgot the thermometer, which is at 77 F. I’m to buy the new testing supplies this afternoon, and some more decorations. I looked closely at his tail today, and it seems to be regrowing a tiny bit.
If you have any other recommendations please tell me! I have some cash set aside for little Sebastian so cost isn’t really an issue.
I really appreciate your thoughtful response!!!

3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Update! I bought a new ph, nitrate, nitrite, gH, kH, and ammonia tests. Everything was good except the pH was a bit high so I added a tiny tiny amount of the stuff I bought to lower it. I also got two new plants, and the tank looks better.
Thanks again!

Super Moderator
23,869 Posts
Have you tested the decor in his tank for sharp edges or burrs that might snag his fins? If you haven't, remove the decor and let it dry. Run a pair of hose inside and out. If the hose snag then so will his fins.

I do not believe it is fin rot but either biting or damage. If you are seeing regrowth that is a good thing. For now, I would do 2x week 25%-50% water changes. I like to use SeaChem StressGuard for fish with damaged fins. It is a mild antiseptic and acts as a band-aid.

As an aside, it is best to not mess with pH. Fish can get used to either high or low but suffer if it fluctuates. Mine runs around 8.0 with no issues and no adjusting.
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