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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Okay, so I have posted here before about my guy's issues with his tail, and it just seems to be getting worse. :(

This was him the first day I brought him home:



This was him a couple of weeks after coming home (when I first made a post):



Immediately after that post, I removed all the in his tank and replaced them with terra cora pots and natural plants. But he kept on tearing constantly, he'd get big tears in his fins all the time, so as soon as it would start to heal he'd tear again. :(

So since then, it has been a couple of months, and the state of his tail continued to fray like that. But in the last month or so, it's started looking like this (ignore the tear in his dorsal fin, that happened a couple of days ago when he got too worked up and seems to be healing well):




Just note that there are small pieces that occasionally fall off, and there are usually little red bits on the tips. Also note that the damage seems to only be on the top of his tail, and that the bottom portion is long and healthy looking (which made me think maybe tail biting?) Also note that the pale colouring in the last picture was just due to lighting. His colours look a lot brighter than when I bought him, like in the third picture.

My first assumption was that it was fin rot, because he has had it once before on his bottom fin, and it looked the same. The LFS told me to use melafix and pima fix, which completely solved that issue right away, and now all his fins (with the exception of his tail) are far longer and fuller than ever. So I tried to do the same this time and it made absolutely no difference whatsoever.

I've got him in a 5 gallon with a small whisper filter on the lowest possible setting, so there is hardly any current. The temperature sticks pretty close to 80 all the time, and the water parameters have been good as I've been testing the water frequently and keeping up with water changes. I've been adding aquarium salt for a few days to see if that would help, but it hasn't helped at all either. There are still pieces of his tail falling off.

Behaviour wise, he's the same as ever. Very active, always gets excited when its food time, sleeps in his plant, the usual.

So I'm kind of at a loss. Does it look like fin rot, or maybe tail biting? If so, what can I do at this point?
 

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Personally, it looks like fin rot. My roommate's boy bites and got fin rot as a result, so treating one round for fin rot wouldn't hurt (jungle fungus buster, API fungus cure, avoid anything with 'fix' on the end of it)
Good luck, and if it is biting watch out for secondary infections! Biting can happen for a number of reasons- make sure he's not mistaking something brightly colored in his tank for another betta!
 

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InkQuill, my boy, has almost the exact same thing going on! Hopefully we can figure this out!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Personally, it looks like fin rot. My roommate's boy bites and got fin rot as a result, so treating one round for fin rot wouldn't hurt (jungle fungus buster, API fungus cure, avoid anything with 'fix' on the end of it)
Good luck, and if it is biting watch out for secondary infections! Biting can happen for a number of reasons- make sure he's not mistaking something brightly colored in his tank for another betta!
Is it normal to never actually see them biting? Because I have suspected that he might be for a long time but never actually seem it happen. As for colourful things in the tank or things stressing him out, I've basically crossed those possibilities off the list. :/ He has always really high-strung though, he gets really territorial and darts around and at the glass whenever I'm nearby. He'll flare for practically no reason quite often.

Also, I've read mixed things on this, but is it better to treat with an anti fungal? Because I've seen other people say an antibiotic or a combination of both is better. I'm really not sure what to use to treat it.
 

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Yeah, sadly some of the longer finned betta get in the bad habit of fin biting. Almost anything could be triggering it, which makes it hard to get them to stop, and then they get fin rot on top of it all. You'll probably have to keep an eye on this for the rest of his life...

If it was just a one time event or if it looks to be spreading, fin rot (bloody edges) can be treated with Kanaplex (kanamycin). With repeat offenders, things get tricky since you don't want long-term expose to antibiotics.

To deal with the fin rot, I'd suggest getting some tannins in the water by adding either dried indian almond leaves or organic rooiboos teabags. Tannins are naturally antibiotic and can be used long term but it will stain the water a light brown color.

To deal with the cause of the fin biting, well...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yeah, sadly some of the longer finned betta get in the bad habit of fin biting. Almost anything could be triggering it, which makes it hard to get them to stop, and then they get fin rot on top of it all. You'll probably have to keep an eye on this for the rest of his life...

If it was just a one time event or if it looks to be spreading, fin rot (bloody edges) can be treated with Kanaplex (kanamycin). With repeat offenders, things get tricky since you don't want long-term expose to antibiotics.

To deal with the fin rot, I'd suggest getting some tannins in the water by adding either dried indian almond leaves or organic rooiboos teabags. Tannins are naturally antibiotic and can be used long term but it will stain the water a light brown color.

To deal with the cause of the fin biting, well...
Thanks for your help. Yeah, tail biting is a really rotten habit, and I'm hoping I'll eventually find some way to dissuade him from doing it. I am totally okay with having to keep an eye on him and treating him every so often, as long as I find something that works. :)

I have never been able to find Kanaplex where I live, and it is a fortune to order online. Are there any alternatives to it?

And as for the almond leaves, I have thought of trying them for a while but would definitely have to order them online... Which worries me because its hard to know the quality of what I'm getting, are there any reliable sources you're aware of?
 

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Welcome to the wonderful world of tailbiters. Lol I have a CT that likes to chomp himself, mainly his dorsal. He's also high strung, he needs to be in sight of me and needs me to look over at him throughout the day - seriously, he knows the second I look at him, it's creepy. He also is fussy about the filter current, something I learned the hard way when he took a big bite out of his dorsal, nibbled some of it's rays, and I think a bit of his tail too. He's my problem fish, my other two are more behaved lol.

It's rare to catch them in the act of biting, I only seen it happen when I was feeding him and he lunged too soon and got a mouthful of some rays in his dorsal (it was so long then ;-;). But most the time you'll walk in and see damage and maybe find the chunks when cleaning the substrate.

Anyways it looks like he may have picked up a touch of fin rot/melt from his nibbling, though it looks like it could already be starting to heal. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between odd regrowth and melt/rot. The best thing for him is keeping his water warm and clean. What size is his tank, how many water changes do you do weekly, do you have a filter & heater?

As for what sets him off, think about where you have his tank. Is it in a high traffic area? Low Traffic? Can he see you from where he is? Is he in sight of another betta/fish? How much current is there in his tank, like do you see him being pushed a bit when he kinda "hovers"? How "filled in" is his tank with decor?

Lol maybe you should add a picture of his whole tank, maybe we might see something that could be triggering this.

Also, how long after this pic (which looks like snags from decor, I have a tail snagger too xD oh bettas), did he noticeably start losing more finnage? He might have had an attachment to an item that was removed, which could have triggered it.


The problem with tailbiters is there is an unlimited number of reasons for them to be doing it. Stress, Boredum, etc. Something as simple as placing things near the tank for them to check out can help. Some need their decor rearranged regularly - some need it to never be moved around.

Edit: Oh, and for comparison between a fin biter with irregular regrowth and fin snagging damage...
Fin biter:

Fin Snags:
 
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