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Friends' Betta: Tattered Fins

677 Views 6 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Luimeril
Okay, I'm at some friends' house at the moment working on diagnosing and helping with their HM Betta. He appears to have SBD, which I know how to treat, but he also has tattered fins which I'm trying to figure out...

There's no discoloration and I've been literally staring at him, so I'm pretty confident on that. He seems lethargic, but that could be because of the SBD. I think he's a tailbiter, but his dorsal and anal are affected too and his pectoral fins are kind of "wavy."

His tank is kind of bare, so could stress cause tattered fins?

Water quality issue?

I would fill out the form but his primary caregiver isn't here at the moment; I'd take a pic but he's back on his plant now and I don't want to disturb him again.
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Biting can affect almost all the fins. Pectorals and ventrals are usually the only ones that are never affected (Pectorals never are since they can't be reached).

More decorations would definitely help out, but once tail biting starts, it's easy for it to resurface again and again.

More decorations, more stimulation, a set day/night schedule, and low stress environment are all factors in stopping and preventing tail biting.

For treatment keep the water clean, feed high protein diet, and add more decorations.
Yea, I understand tail-biting, though admittedly I didn't realize it could affect dorsals as well (and that would make sense regarding those given the pattern).

Turns out there was another plant in with him previously that I think is responsible for at least some of the tatters, particularly on his anal/ventral fin because that looked, literally, shredded. I asked a few more questions after posting this and found that out.

But there's still his pectorals which are kind of wavy -- I would say hard water but they have a water softener if I remember correctly. But perhaps it's not an issue...

In other news, ironically there's a little guy at work that came in in the same cup as a much larger male who tore up his fins -- at first glance he looks like one of the females they're so damaged. They were separated as soon as they found them, and I think tomorrow I'll bring him home and start treating him. His dorsal fin looks like a shark's, thus, so far, his name is...Sharkfin. And he's fiesty!
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if his tank is totally bare, he's too stressed. silk plants do best with HMs, since their fins are way delicate. what size tank is he in? i find that HMs do best in 2-5 gallons. that way, they can't see their fins very easily as they move, and there's more room to decorate and stimulate them.

to heal the fins, just clean water is good enough. it'll heal up on it's own.
It was bare, but not totally. I helped them choose decorations at one point and did recommend the silk plants, which is what he had in with him when I was up there last. I'll be stopping in again tomorrow after work -- he had pretty bad SBD so I decided to focus on that, and since water changes would be upped I thought it might be easier for them to keep just the one plant for now. It's a fair-sized plant.

Unfortunately the tank he's in isn't very's one of those decorative "Brandy sniffer" "tanks" from PetSmart, or whatever they're called. I believe about 1.75-gallons. I had strongly recommended one of the 2.5-gallons with a glass canopy or a large Kritter Keeper if they wanted to keep the price down, but I think they then decided to go for something "prettier."

I'll be checking on him again after work tomorrow and see how his SBD is doing, which is my primary focus since he's not moving much because of it and I think mostly resting on the plant he has. I'll have more time than my last visit to talk to them about things, and hopefully his primary caregiver will be there then as well. I actually have a day off coming up soon, so I can even go with them if they decide to pick up anything new for him. Maybe I can even convince them on one of the new Marineland 3-gallon Crescents at work since they're on sale right now, so they're not a bad price and attractive but not that large if they want to stick to something smaller.

Believe me, I'd like to see him in something larger and more decorated myself, but I ultimately have little control here but to help them along, which I am trying my best to do. They do care about him, but it's still a learning process for them, and the person who takes care of him most isn't often there when I am.
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Wow...I really must be tired lately...I just realized I've been mixing up the fins here. Apologies, it's been a while since I've had to use more than dorsal and "tail" fin...

Every instance of "pectoral" should have actually been "ventral" -- and the instance of "anal/ventral" should have been simply "anal."

Geeze, I need to get on the ball a little better here...:roll:
1.75 isnt' bad. i have a doubletail halfmoon in a 1.5 gallon, and am actually treating him for tail biting. as long as it's not smaller than that, everything'll be good.

the hard thing about smaller tanks is you're limited on how much decoration you can have, and still see the fish. in Twitch's tank, i have three plants, and i move them around every time i change his water. since it's just three plants, and a small, square tank, i don't have many options, but he doesn't mind. :B
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