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Discussion Starter #1
I know there is a lot about fin rot available, and I have read through much of it. But what is happening with our crown tail beta (Sammy) doesn't seem to "fit" what we have read.

Background: we got Sammy about five months ago: a present for our 9 yea old, though we all take care of him. He's alone in the tank, five gallon tank, filter, some artificial silk plants for cover. When we first got him, he was pretty happy, flared some (never a lot), made some small bubble nests. We followed the fish store directions and did not overfed; changed water 20% weekly. However...to be honest, we did a lot very wrong. We were not cleaning the tank properly and so lots of stuff built up on the floor (only recently did we actually figure out the siphon properly). I am sure teh water was in bad shape, though we have not yet tested it (test kit is on order). Over the months, Sammy got more and more lethargic, his color faded badly on both his body and fins. His fins also have become extremely tattered. Only in the last week or so did we finally (again, our fault) start to take more dramatic action: 70-80% water change every couple of days, really careful vacuuming of the tank, etc. We have also tried to feed him a bit more. (we got the advice of one pellet twice a day, but the
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more I have read, I am convinced that was just not enough; plus we have added in more variety and treats). He has responded very well: much more energy, etc.

OK, the fins. They look really bad. He went from having beautiful blue fins to the tattered ones you see here. They are tattered an is some places there is not much fin. The color has faded. There ar e few very small holes in the fins. At the very end of some of the fin rays, the rays look like they are frayed and in some places white. don't see any really black sections, and I have never seen fin pieces falling off. Fortunately, I his body does not seem to be infected.

Obviously fin rot. I But I have not seen any good pictures online to compare and to determine for how severe. What are teh with dots at the end of the rays? Is this fungus, or just frayed fins? We asked the fish store guy about medication, he looked at the pictures and he seemed to think that Sammy was just badly stressed by the poor water conditions and that he did not need any medication: just clean the water and keep feeding him.

What does everyone here think? Are we past the "just clean the water" stage? How long should it take for Sammy to start to regrow fins? I am trying to check him more frequently but it is ver difficult to see any progress. Plus, he was never teh most ambitious guy (never flared much, etc) so I don't have a good way to compare his behaviour.

These are the best pics I could take of his fins. All of this fins seem very frail.

We are first time better owners. and definitely need help!
 

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Please copy and paste into a new message and fill out this form when seeking help for your Betta.

 

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Discussion Starter #3
Oops, I should have looked at this first. Do I start a new thread, or fill out the questionnaire in this thread?

Please copy and paste into a new message and fill out this form when seeking help for your Betta.

 

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Discussion Starter #5
Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? 5 gallons
Does it have a filter? yes
Does it have a heater? yes
What temperature is your tank? heater is fixed to 78 degrees F
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? no

Food:
What food brand do you use? Hikari betta pellets, plus some Omega One brine shrimp, occasional freeze dried blood worms, and recently frozen bloodworms.
Do you feed flakes or pellets? pellets
Freeze-dried? freeze dried bloodworms once a week
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? Before one pellet twice a day, recently increased to two pellets twice a day.

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? once per week
What percentage of water did you change? 20%
What is the source of your water? tap water, dechlorinated
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Mostly just dip out; when we vacuumed, we were not doing it correctly until only just recently (see below)
What additives do you use? What brand of conditioner? dechlorinator and cycle

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.

Ammonia: do not know, never tested; test kit on delivery
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness (GH):
Alkalinity (KH):

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? several weeks ago at least, more lethargic, color change, etc
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? Body color from all blue to more brown-green; fins from deeper blue to light almost white blue with some red; fins have become tattered
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? He flares very rarely (though he never did much), lethargic, stays near top of tank, though more active in last week as we have started water changes
Is your Betta still eating? Yes, and appetite improved since
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? Yes. We started changing 70-80% of water about every other day, and much more careful vacuuming of gravel, slight increase in food, addition of frozen bloodworm treat
Does your Betta have any history of being ill?
How long have you owned your Betta? five months
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? no

PLEASE PROVIDE CLEAR PHOTOS

NOTE: EMBED YOUR PHOTOS. PLEASE DO NOT LINK. Click on the paper clip in the toolbar.

Your fish is your responsibility.
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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Additional information:

Background: we got Sammy about five months ago: a present for our 9 yea old, though we all take care of him. He's alone in the tank, five gallon tank, filter, some artificial silk plants for cover. When we first got him, he was pretty happy, flared some (never a lot), made some small bubble nests. We followed the fish store directions and did not overfed; changed water 20% weekly. However...to be honest, we did a lot very wrong. We were not cleaning the tank properly and so lots of stuff built up on the floor (only recently did we actually figure out the siphon properly). I am sure teh water was in bad shape, though we have not yet tested it (test kit is on order). Over the months, Sammy got more and more lethargic, his color faded badly on both his body and fins. His fins also have become extremely tattered.

Treatment: Only in the last week or so did we finally (again, our fault) start to take more dramatic action: 70-80% water change every couple of days, really careful vacuuming of the tank, etc. We have also tried to feed him a bit more. (we got the advice of one pellet twice a day, but the more I have read, I am convinced that was just not enough; plus we have added in more variety and treats). He has responded very well: much more energy, etc.

OK, the fins. They look really bad. He went from having beautiful blue fins to the tattered ones you see here. They are tattered an is some places there is not much fin. The color has faded. There ar e few very small holes in the fins. At the very end of some of the fin rays, the rays look like they are frayed and in some places white. don't see any really black sections, and I have never seen fin pieces falling off. Fortunately, I his body does not seem to be infected.

Obviously fin rot. I But I have not seen any good pictures online to compare and to determine for how severe. What are teh with dots at the end of the rays? Is this fungus, or just frayed fins? We asked the fish store guy about medication, he looked at the pictures and he seemed to think that Sammy was just badly stressed by the poor water conditions and that he did not need any medication: just clean the water and keep feeding him.

What does everyone here think? Are we past the "just clean the water" stage? How long should it take for Sammy to start to regrow fins? I am trying to check him more frequently but it is ver difficult to see any progress. Plus, he was never teh most ambitious guy (never flared much, etc) so I don't have a good way to compare his behaviour.

These are the best pics I could take of his fins. All of this fins seem very frail.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I submitted this in a second thread, with an additional picture, shown here. Sorry for the double post!
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Can you get a picture from directly over him?

To me it looks like the fins are a secondary symptom, his body is very skinny in these photos and his spine may be curving. These are signs of malnutrition & starvation, which based on your feeding schedule is likely. Underfeeding will lower a betta's entire body condition, including reducing their ability to repair their fins.

You can go ahead and lower the volume of water changes again, 70-80% every other day is going to be more stressful than helpful in his case. I would say two 25% changes weekly for now.


Feed him as many frozen bloodworms as it takes for his stomach to become slightly rounded and "full", once a day.

For a second daily meal feed enough pellets to also round out his stomach, but you'll want to increase the amount slowly at first. If he's used to two pellets then give him just three for a few days, and then increase to four, etc. You may find that even going slowly like this his system gets backed up since he's not used to a lot of food at once, if that happens then just skip his next feeding and reduce the amount again.

The freeze-dried foods are good as a treat, but don't have very much nutrition. However frozen foods are considered to be a great source of proteins and good fats, so feeding them daily will help him regain strength and body mass.

If you have the budget I'd encourage you to consider replacing his pellet as well. Hikari is not the worst food, but it does have several plant-based fillers in its ingredients, which bettas have a hard time digesting. A food with mostly fish/seafood ingredients and as few veggies as possible will be able to give your betta better nutrition packed into the same amount of pellets/flakes. Some good brands to look for are Omega One, New Life Spectrum, Northfin, and Bug Bites- most pet stores should have at least one available.


Once his food is taken care of I think his fins will start to heal on their own, though it won't happen overnight. I'd expect to see improvements in a week or two, it can be a slow process and his fins may never return to their original state.

There does seem to be an active fin rot infection but I don't think his fins are bad enough to need antibiotics, and any sort of medicine is going to be too stressful on him based on his body condition right now anyway. So I would focus on feeding him more to improve his overall strength and vigor, and only if the fins are still deteriorating in a week's time consider a stronger treatment.

For now you can add a small amount of Aquarium salt to his tank to encourage the infection to die out and help keep the edges clean as he starts to heal. I would use 1/2 teaspoon per gallon, for no more than ten days at a time. If you see the fins get worse over the course of the week, you can bump up the salt to 1 teaspoon per gallon.

You can also add in Indian Almond Leaves or Rooibos Tea (pure, no flavors/additives) which are considered to have mild antiseptic qualities to them. The trade off is that they will stain the water a tea-like brown, which bettas enjoy but you may not like the look of.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the answer iand information. Here a couple of pictures. Yes, I had long thought that we did not feed him enough and that he looked thin. But the fish store guy strongly warned against over feeding and gave us the same-size-as-the-eyeball rule, and any websites also made overfeeding sound scary. We should have acted sooner, but it was only when he became so lethargic that I decided that he needed more food. I will look into getting him some higher quality pellets, and we will definitely make more use of the frozen bloodworms.

We purchased aquariums salt, but have waited to use it. But it sounds like we should start. (Also, we need yto get that test kit delivered, but COVID19 is slowing everything down).
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Follow Rana's advice and he should heal. Especially about the water changes.

IAL and Rooibos also have antibacterial and antifungal properties.

It's not true a Betta's stomach is the size of its eye. I swear, I don't know where people come up with these things. :rolleyes:
 

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Thanks for the pics! He's definitely skinny, but not so skinny that I would worry he's about to keel over. Some more food on a regular basis should perk him back up again. :)

A lot of advice for feeding emphasizes small amounts because many new fishkeepers have no idea what portion sizes to use at first, and dump huge amounts of food in. (Particularly with flakes, which are harder to keep track of vs pellets which can be counted) Bettas are also somewhat more prone to constipation compared to other aquarium fish, which is another reason small portion sizes are recommended.

But this advice backfires sometimes with people taking it to an extreme, like your LFS was advising you to do. It's hard to give specific numbers for portion sizes since every betta is different, but around four or five high-quality pellets a day is a good place to start, and adjust based on your betta's reaction once he's gotten some more mass built up.

In general if you look at him from above, you want to see the head merge smoothly into the body. If the head is larger (As in your pictures) it means the betta is underfed; if the body swells out further than the head, it can indicate over-feeding. (But when judging fullness right after a meal look at him from the side, not the top)
 

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Hi! I'm not an expert, but my opinion is that you're doing better than you think :)

Once you receive your water test kit you'll have a much more informed idea of how his water is and can proceed from there. You should eventually be able to decrease the amount of water you change back to 20-25% every couple of days. Also, if you haven't seen them there are sticky threads at the tops of the various forums on this site that have excellent information about water changes et al (y)

You may start to see clear membrane in his fins, which will be his fins re-growing.

If you aren't already, use Seachem Prime as your water conditioner, and also use it for the inbetween days when you aren't actually doing a water change - it locks up ammonia.

One other thing is that you may want to obtain a food that has more whole fish ingredients (rather than fish meal) towards the beginning of the ingredient list, such as New Life Spectrum, and follow the directions on the tub so that he's getting as much as he can consume within 60-90 seconds, and after that time frame remove any uneaten food.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all of the advice. We have started aquarium salt, 1/2 teaspoon/gallon, and we have upped his feeding considerable. He certainly seems to have a lot more energy.

We have dug up some old before pictures from when we first got him. They are not the best quality but you can he has lost so much of his fins--more than I realized until I saw these pics again.

I am worried that I will need to be more aggressive in trying to fight through this fin rot. I know it will not heal overnight, but it does look like the ends of his fins and rays are still frayed/black.

I'm quite ashamed we allowed his condition to deteriorate for so long before seeking advice.

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Meanwhile, still waiting for the test kit to arrive.
 

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Thanks for the answer iand information. Here a couple of pictures. Yes, I had long thought that we did not feed him enough and that he looked thin. But the fish store guy strongly warned against over feeding and gave us the same-size-as-the-eyeball rule, and any websites also made overfeeding sound scary. We should have acted sooner, but it was only when he became so lethargic that I decided that he needed more food. I will look into getting him some higher quality pellets, and we will definitely make more use of the frozen bloodworms.

We purchased aquariums salt, but have waited to use it. But it sounds like we should start. (Also, we need yto get that test kit delivered, but COVID19 is slowing everything down). View attachment 1018938 View attachment 1018939

I'm with you on the food thing. I would literally have to feed my betta 2 pellets a day and I would be at the size of his eyeball. I started feeding frozen foods brine shrimp, mysis, bloodworms and even then I'm concerned I'm overfeeding because it's way more than the size of his eyeball. Does anyone know of a good video that shows an actual amount of food to feed them?
 

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With Crown Tail Betta it is very difficult to tell the difference between fin rot and other fin issues. We once had a thread from someone who was told both on FB and another Forum that her perfectly lovely CT Betta had fin rot!

Right now your Betta is very weak and the best thing you can do is keep his water clean and him well-fed. I would urge you to purchase something more nutritious than Hikari. NorthFin Betta Bits, New Life Spectrum, Omega One are three. Supplement with Fluval Betta Bites (medium to large) and frozen. If you give freeze dried, soak it a bit before feeding.

As far as how much, it depends on the size of the pellets and the size of the fish. Betta are only dangerously "overfed" when they receive too much at one meal. That is why it is best to feed three meals of 3-4 pellets; Morning, noon and night.

Antibiotics are very hard on fish. If you try them now, especially if they are not indicated, you will do more harm than good; possibly irreparable.

It took him a while to get this way; it will take him a while to show improvement and recover. Do not overthink what's going on. The caveat is unless he stops eating and become lethargic.

Here is something that may help you.

 

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With Crown Tail Betta it is very difficult to tell the difference between fin rot and other fin issues. We once had a thread from someone who was told both on FB and another Forum that her perfectly lovely CT Betta had fin rot!

Right now your Betta is very weak and the best thing you can do is keep his water clean and him well-fed. I would urge you to purchase something more nutritious than Hikari. NorthFin Betta Bits, New Life Spectrum, Omega One are three. Supplement with Fluval Betta Bites (medium to large) and frozen. If you give freeze dried, soak it a bit before feeding.

As far as how much, it depends on the size of the pellets and the size of the fish. Betta are only dangerously "overfed" when they receive too much at one meal. That is why it is best to feed three meals of 3-4 pellets; Morning, noon and night.

Antibiotics are very hard on fish. If you try them now, especially if they are not indicated, you will do more harm than good; possibly irreparable.

It took him a while to get this way; it will take him a while to show improvement and recover. Do not overthink what's going on. The caveat is unless he stops eating and become lethargic.

Here is something that may help you.

Do their fins also melt back a bit as they age? I assume they can't stay looking glorious forever though, if so I kinda want what they have🤭
 

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Do their fins also melt back a bit as they age? I assume they can't stay looking glorious forever though, if so I kinda want what they have🤭
Not always. The only thing written in concrete in aquatics is nothing is written in concrete. :unsure:
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks again for everyone's advice. We have upped feeding using frozen bloodworms (starting a couple fo days ago) and better quality pellets (starting today--Bug Bites, best we can find locally until shipments from the US open up). We were able to purchase some test kits, here are the results today:

Ammonia: between 0.0 and 0.25 (hard to read the color)
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: 7.5
Hardness (GH): 120
Alkalinity (KH): 80 (or maybe 40, hard to read)

We started some salt a few days ago per Rana's suggestion, 1/2 teaspoon per gallon. We will stop this in another seven days, ie 10 day treatment.

We are doing 20/25% water change three days or so (twice a week), and continuing to really vacuum the gravel (this was one of the main problems before).

Clearly the water has a bit of ammonia.

Should we continue to add cycle each water change, to encourage good bacteria growth, or simply let the colony develop on its own since we had been adding cycle before regularly?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
We are using Nutrafin Cycle, which directs to cycle new aquarium (we did that) and to add a small amount with each regular water change, though it is not clear from the directions if we need to add the amount for the entire tank or just for the amount of water that we have changed (we have done the latter). And here too we received contradictory advice from the local fish store dude, who told us not to keep adding with each change since the colony is developed.

Obviously at this point, with such poor water for so long and with frequent changes recently, there is not much of a colony there. So I guess with the next 25% water change (tomorrow) at minimum we would add the suggested amount...for the whole 5 gallon tank?
 

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I would add with every water change. Once you have 0 ppm Ammonia and Nitrites and see Nitrates you know your tank is cycled.

If I were using the produce I would probably add a quarter to half the original dose. I don't know if Nutrafin has responsive customer service, but if they do you can ask them just to be sure.
 
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