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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all. We bought a Betta (Louie) in April of last year. I suspect that he may have had a minor case of fin rot when we got him but this being our first fish we didn't notice anything unusual at the time.

Since then it has become apparent that he has ongoing fin rot and after maybe 4 separate salt water treatments it doesn't seem to be getting better. To top it off we live in Louisville, CO where the awful fires happened a while back (our house is fine) and we had to hurriedly take him on the road to a hotel (in a clear glass kitchen dish) as we evacuated. The stress of that seems to have accelerated his condition and we are starting to get worried about him. He is eating fine and acts fine otherwise.

I know there are antibiotics available but am afraid to use them as I have read that they can actually kill your Betta!

Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? He has a 10 gallon which is cycled and waiting for him but has been in a 2.5 gallon while we are treating him with the salt water, almond leaves (?), etc. He has been in the 2.5 gallon for a couple of months. The small tank is not cycled.
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What temperature is your tank? ~78 degrees
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Bubble filter
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? No

Food:
What food brand do you use? Bio Gold, occasional blood worm
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Pellets
Freeze-dried? Don't know.
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? 3 pellets 2x daily

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? Variable, we were trying to figure out how to cycle the tank. But we always kept his ammonia low/zero.
What percentage of water did you change? Currently doing near 100% changes every couple of days.
What is the source of your water? Tap
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Vacuum
What additives do you use other than conditioner? What brand of conditioner? Prime

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.

We are changing the water so frequently at this point that these numbers are all usually the same as tap. I could test the ph if you guys need it but I have not heard that it matters a whole lot.

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness (GH):
Alkalinity (KH):

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? 5-6 months ago
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? Fins deteriorating.
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? He seems fine behavior-wise
Is your Betta still eating? Yes, very well.
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? Have used salt water treatments on four separate occasions. Also put almond leaf in with him.
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? May have had mild fin rot when we got him in April.
How long have you owned your Betta? 9 months.
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? Not sure, maybe.


Here's a photo from December 20th
Water Liquid Pet supply Fluid Marine biology


And here's one from today (January 11). In this photo there is a glare that makes him look washed out. He is not really that color but his fins have clearly shrunk.
Organism Fish Electric blue Fin Tail
 

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Hi,

So sorry about your betta!!! But glad that you and your family are ok!!!

He is a pretty little boy!!!

When you say salt treatments, what do you mean exactly? Salt baths or dips? Was it added directly to the quarantine tank?

For fin rot, the recommendation is freqent water changes (which you are doing), and aquarium salt added to the tank according to the dosage instructions on the package for at least 2 weeks. Usually pristine water helps more than anything when dealing with fin rot.

Sometimes fin rot can be persistent and aggressive. In those cases it may be necessary to use meds. Antibiotics will not kill your betta. The key is to follow the dosage instructions. The real problem with using antibiotics is that the over use of such has caused antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria to abound. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't use them if your fish needs them.

API makes a med called Fin and Body cure, which many fish keepers use (main ingredient is doxycycline). Then there is Kanaplex by Seachem (main ingredient is kanmycin). Then Mardel makes a product called Maracyn 2 (main ingredient is minocycline). All of these treat gram negative bacterial infections, including fin rot. I have used all of these products, and all are safe when used as directed. It is always best to dose meds in a quarantine tank because the antibiotics will kill the beneficial bacteria in your main tank.

You can also add some Indian Almond leaves to his tank - both quarantine and main tank. The leaves will release tannins into the water, which will tint the water brown. The tannins help with fish stress, and they will help with the healing process. These are safe botanicals that are found in bettas' natural environment, and bettas just love the stuff! They do have some slight antibacterial and antifungal properties, so would be good for both treatment and preventive measures.

If you decide to use one of the meds, do a course of treatment, and then wait a little while to see if his fins begin to grow back. When they do come back, they may look translucent at first. That is normal. If you wait a while, and do not see any regrowth, you may want to do another course of treatment. I would continue with the frequent water changes as well. It's also a good idea to dim his lights. Bettas don't like bright lights and need a good 14 hours or so with the lights off.

Finally, I would also try some frozen foods, like frozen blood worms and daphnia. The daphnia will help prevent bloat and is great for his digestive system. You can also try Omega 1 betta pellets, which are high in protein and low in fillers. Fluval Bug Bites are good, too. It's good to give him a varied diet, and it will boost his immune system.

I do hope that this helps, and I hope that he gets better!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hello and thanks for the detailed help, much, much appreciated!

When I say salt treatments I mean that I added API aquarium salt to his water according to directions (1/2 rounded tsp per gallon). I would change the salt water every 2-3 days and remove the salt water after 10 days (I read that salt water can harm their organs after 10 days or so). Then I wait and see and try to change his water every 2-3 days (I never let any ammonia build up). After several weeks I try another salt course of 10 days. I also put one of the Indian Almond leaves in there as well.

This time around I will change the salt water every single day (I cleaned his tank thoroughly yesterday, though I didn't disinfect anything). If that doesn't work I guess we will try the meds you mentioned. I am leery of them and would hate to wake up to a dead fish because I decided to use the antibiotics but if it doesn't improve he will be in trouble either way.

And thanks for the info about the lights. I may have been overdoing it. His quarantine tank is near a window (see photo), is that enough during the day or does he need the overhead unit on? I always use it on low as it is made for a larger tank (bought it for his 10 gallon). Maybe I could use the blue color (It changes colors) as it is much less intense. It's usually on from maybe 7am-7pm. I'll reduce that to 7am-5pm.

I will also look into the food varieties. It gets boring for us to feed him the same thing over and over again as well!

A better photo of him as of today. He was freaked by my phone yesterday and would not let me photo him! I think he was miffed about being in a cup while I cleaned his tank as well.

Goggles Fluid Organism Pet supply Sunglasses


Here is his quarantine tank in relation to the window.

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Hello! I have good news, he does not have fin rot at all :) He appears to be nipping his own fins or tearing them on something (or both). Nipping is usually because of stress, so it makes sense that when he was under stress of the evacuation his condition worsened. If you would like to post a pic of the entire tank, we can help you problem solve why he may be doing it, but also that cave may be catching on his fins. They sometimes have sharp edges. I would get some Indian Almond leaf and make the water nice and dark. Also, be sure to keep the water very clean, 30% twice a week is more than enough for a 10 gal.
I would also try giving him some more food. Maybe add an extra feeding in the afternoon, he is looking a little thin.
 

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I would add a ton of plants to that tank, bettas like cover and feel insecure in open spaces. He is likely nipping due to the stress of this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
OK, I will get some fake plants for it, soft ones. We had a major algae problem in his 10 gallon tank so we are a little down on real plants. Maybe he is biting his fins and it isn't fin rot? I don't know if there is a way to tell the difference. Either way we will get some stuff for his quarantine tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wow, I just saw your #4 reply above! I previously only saw the one directly above my last one about the plants. Sorry, there is an ad there that made me visually skip it.

Anyway, very glad to hear this about the (non) fin rot! I guess you can tell by looking? And I can ditch the salt treatment that is currently underway? That is his 2.5g quarantine tank shown in the pic. I've sanded the edges on that cave but if you think it should go we will get rid of it (he does love it though!). Here's his 10g that is cycled and waiting (below). I guess it looks kinda empty for him? We had to totally disinfect/redo that tank (new rock) as algae took over and we're afraid of using real plants in there. Would a bunch of silk plants do the trick? We just want him to be happy!

Will give him some more food too. Didn't want to overfeed.

Thanks again for everything!
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I think that there is something going on with his dorsal and anal fins - referring to those dark parts and the missing pieces of his dorsal fin. Usually fin nipping doesn't affect the dorsal fin, but he may have torn something off. Please keep an eye on those parts. If you see that he is losing fin mass on his dorsal and anal fins and blackened edges, that is fin rot, and it will need to be addressed if water changes don't fix it.

I hope he heals quickly!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes unfortunately that dark area on his bottom fin wasn't there when we got him in April (photo below). So I guess he may have a fin rot problem after all. Is this serious enough to warrant going straight to the meds or can I use the salt water for another 8 days or so? Getting tired of this not getting better but want to avoid meds if possible.
Eye Water Organism Beak Fish
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Ordered some Kanaplex. Could not find locally but will be here in two days. I am worried to waste another week on just daily/salt water changes which hasn't worked at all thus far. Many people said Kanaplex was safe and worked for their Betta so hopefully this will do the trick. Will update with results. Thanks again for the help.

Edit: someone said E.R. Erythromycin is where I should start so I am doing that before the Kanaplex.
 
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