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Fin rot vs. tail biting vs. tail injury

814 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Sabina88
My VT Steve has had ever so slightly ragged edges on his fin for a bit now. I didn't worry, as he acted normal and the fins didn't worsen or change color. He looked normal yesterday during the day, but last night I saw his fins and they are completely torn apart! I made some changes to his tank, so maybe he was stress-biting? He is still acting normal - active, playful, eating well, and he made a bubble nest today. I included pictures of the affected fin and if any of you guys have some insight, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks!

What size is your tank? 5.5gal
What temperature is your tank? 80F
Does your tank have a filter? Yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Yes
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? Two ghost shrimp and three snails (bit of an algae problem, but it's resolving)

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Hikari betta bio gold
How often do you feed your betta fish? A few pellets twice per day

How often do you perform a water change? Twice a week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? About 25%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Water conditioner and a few drops of flourish for the live plants

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

Ammonia: 0.25ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 5ppm
pH: 7.2
Hardness: 75
Alkalinity: about 100

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Badly torn fins
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? It hasn't at all
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Just happened yesterday while I was at work. They were only slightly ragged before that, as I mentioned above
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Sort of - I'm treating the tank with Mardel Maracyn to try to get rid of a slime algae problem
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Yes - he had ammonia poisoning when I first got him
How old is your fish (approximately)? Not sure - I've had him for almost two months and I don't know how old he was when I got him.


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The edges don't look black so I don't think it's fin rot, I'm not sure where the tear is though. It mostly looks like his caudal (butt) fin is just ragged, My old Betta had the same issue on his ventral fins, he just never properly healed from fin rot. my suggestion would be to get some melafix or pimafix from your local petstore and follow the instructions on those just in case it is fin rot. I find it also has reduced tail biting after making changes to a tank as well. (even if there's nothing really wrong it doesn't hurt the fish I add some twice a week just to prevent diseases) Also check any of your ornaments, if you added any new ones, for sharp edges as they tear the fins really easily. if his fins were ragged before it could be how he was born or he may just not have recovered from something he had.
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Usually the best thing to try first is warm clean water in these types of cases and maybe some stress coat which can help your boys fins heal.
Also just be carful with medicine, sometimes it can make things worse.
Im leaning twords fin rot on this one. Notice how the edges of his fins are clear, just checking but his fins have been receding correct and it hasn't happened in just one night?
Either way clean warm water should help him get better.
Is it possible to put him a small temporary tank? This way it will be a bit easier to treat him weather you have to use medicine or not. And if it is fin rot in a small tank you can do %100 water changes without messing up your tanks cycle.
The 100% water changes help to get rid of the bacteria in the water and gives him fresh water.
If you cant I would go for relatively large maybe a little more then 50% on the 5.5 to get him some clean fresh water through out his tank.
Good luck with him and keep us posted.
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