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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello, this is Ciel in his tank in case that matters, it's filled with 13-14 litres of water with size-appropriate doses of Tetra PlantaMin and Tetra BettaSafe. He has two live Java ferns and one moss ball. Driftwood has been boiled in saltwater for three hours and at this point, it practically stopped getting covered in slime as it did initially when I put it into the tank (which people said is normal and doesn't harm the fish).
The filter is running 24/7, it's on the lowest flow and I don't ever see him having problems with it, even when sleeping, the current doesn't move him at all.
The water is very clear, the levels are optimal (I did pH and nitrates) and I do weekly 25% water changes.



Ten days ago, I noticed he was biting his fins at night. (Probably. That is what I assumed and on the forum post I created http://www.bettafish.com/99-betta-fish-diseases-emergencies/749178-help-biting-his-fins-all-sudden-2.html , nobody seemed to disagree). This is what it looked like ten days ago.


I assume he started biting because the tank was so bright and because I found a plant rotting in his water. It was my first time planting aquarium plants into sand so I easily could have done things wrong. I redid his tank (which I understand caused some more stress so it took him a bit to stop biting) to make it darker. I removed his white sand which made it way too bright and was clouding the water even though I rinsed it like eight times. I removed the plants that weren't doing well and kept rotting and letting brown "goo" into the water. I don't have the proper lamp yet, still coming in the mail, so there was lack of proper light. I only kept the java fern which seems to be doing great.

I started putting Methylene Blue drops in his water until Seachem StressGuard arrived (Czech republic, had to order it online) and he's been getting daily doses of StressGuard for a week now. But it doesn't seem to be getting better. This is him now.







I don't get it. From the posts I read, other bettas that started biting did a lot more damage in way less time. Sometimes when he swims, it's not even visible. It's a shame that I don't really have any in-the-process photos, but there are no new "nips" into the fins that there were in about day 4-5 of the problem. Which I thought was when he stopped biting. He started making bubble nests daily and started to eat better, more vicious and jumpy. The thing is, they are only getting deeper.
Is it possible it's tearing down when he swims? Or is the problem not about biting at all?
It doesn't look like finrot. He behaves like a really healthy betta and the rips don't have black/red outlines.
Did I misinterpret the problem from the very beginning?

I will be happy for any advices, I'm very anxious for my betta. I know that they aren't really hurting from their fins, but it's making me unhappy to see them rip like that and if it's some other issue, I want to treat it right.

Some more thoughts: can it be causing him stress that he doesn't have a regular light schedule?
And if it was a disease or a water issue/decoration, it would affect all the fins, not just tail, right?
 

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Hi, first off your Betta is gorgeous! :) From the pictures it does not appear to be fin rot. Is he showing any unusual things like not eating, rubbing himself against the glass or décor, or labored breathing? If he does not have any symptoms of illness then it is fin biting or he possibly could be tearing them on something. To much bright light could definitely stress out a Betta as well as a lack of plants and top cover. If I were you I would add a few more plants whether soft artificial or live ones. Get plants that are tall enough so that the leaves sort of form a canopy over the top of the tank, while providing cover to the full height of the Aquarium. Fin biting could quickly turn into fin rot, so be sure to keep the water clean.

Also, Bettas need a day and night cycle just like us, so be sure to turn the tank lights off every night.

I do not use stress guard, but is it anything like Stress coat? I would try adding a bit of aquarium salt (Freshwater) as it will help keep bacteria from growing on his fins. 1/2 a tsp per gallon should be enough.

My message may seem all over the place so do not be afraid to ask questions! :D
 

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Hello. First off, thank you! :) Here he is from three weeks ago when he wasn't a biter.


Alright. So, no, he isn't showing any unusual behavior. He's chipper when he sees/hears me, begs for food by rapid movements when I'm near the tank. Jumps for food (I feed him off my finger) and if he thinks the food is alive (feeding him Betta Larva Sticks versus when I just give him pellets or flakes), he's very vicious about it. He doesn't really hide much. He likes his house, but he always just swims through and gets right in and out. He isn't afraid of my hands at all. Actually, if I wanna do something in the tank like move a moss ball or vacuum the gravel, it's really hard to keep him away from my hands since he's especially curious about everything.

The only object in his tank that comes anyhow close to sharp is his house. I have already tried taking it away in case it was it, but more appeared while it was gone, so I put it back in.
And he doesn't have too much bright light anymore. He did with the white sand and all, but right now, he's actually only relying on natural light in the room since it scared me when people said it's too bright. So actually, the enviroment might be too dark for him. There's light in the room since 8am to like 4pm. Do you think that could cause the biting as well? I only turned the light on to take photos of the tail, otherwise I'm waiting for the proper aquarium light to arrive.
So far, there isn't that much need for top cover since he's inbetween shelves and no light comes from above him. But I will get him some more coverage plants once the lamp arrives. (Any recommendations for notorious black thumbs like myself? I'd prefer plants that don't need to be planted in, also since I don't have sand, but really big gravel it might not push through.
And yes, Stress Guard helps the production of their natural stress coat. Here's the link to the product.


Hi, first off your Betta is gorgeous! :) From the pictures it does not appear to be fin rot. Is he showing any unusual things like not eating, rubbing himself against the glass or décor, or labored breathing? If he does not have any symptoms of illness then it is fin biting or he possibly could be tearing them on something. To much bright light could definitely stress out a Betta as well as a lack of plants and top cover. If I were you I would add a few more plants whether soft artificial or live ones. Get plants that are tall enough so that the leaves sort of form a canopy over the top of the tank, while providing cover to the full height of the Aquarium. Fin biting could quickly turn into fin rot, so be sure to keep the water clean.

Also, Bettas need a day and night cycle just like us, so be sure to turn the tank lights off every night.

I do not use stress guard, but is it anything like Stress coat? I would try adding a bit of aquarium salt (Freshwater) as it will help keep bacteria from growing on his fins. 1/2 a tsp per gallon should be enough.

My message may seem all over the place so do not be afraid to ask questions! :D
 

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Your welcome, I am glad to help! :) It is great to hear he is acting normally, I mentioned about the possible chance of illness because sometimes velvet can show up with fin loss, flashing, gold/ brown dusting, and labored breathing. That is also true about ick ( which can cause white spots as well as rapid fin loss in advanced stages. His house is ok as long as it passes the panty hose test. Basically if you slide hose across it and it tears, then it will tear long fins.
I use only natural light with my 3 Bettas and have done this for almost 5 years and they are fine without an aquarium light. The room they are in has 4 different windows, but the bright lighting is never directed right at their tanks. It is possible for a fish to have too little light, but if he is getting good lighting from 8-4 pm I think he has enough for now.

Some Bettas will start Fin biting whether from poor water quality, to much lighting, lack of décor , boredom, and even occasionally if their fins are too heavy. I forgot to add, if you have a filter is it very strong? If so it could be tearing his fins.
I would definitely add more plants to make him feel more secure. Anubias is a great option as it is hardy and will provide some cover. You could actually get AQ suction cups and attach the Anubias to them and put them near the surface and others down below. There are many species of Anubias so you could get shorter varieties like Anubias nana for up top and Anubias Frazeri for the bottom.
If his temperament allows you could add a few small FW shrimp or 2 nerite snails to keep a bit more entertained. He will appreciate more plants the best though, so if you can not get tank mates at the moment you could always add them later and get plants first. Also Anubias should not be planted in so it will do well in your tank. :) If you get a lot of Anubias or other plants your Betta will thank you! :D

Anyways, if you have any more questions feel free to ask!
 

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Your welcome, I am glad to help! :) It is great to hear he is acting normally, I mentioned about the possible chance of illness because sometimes velvet can show up with fin loss, flashing, gold/ brown dusting, and labored breathing. That is also true about ick ( which can cause white spots as well as rapid fin loss in advanced stages. His house is ok as long as it passes the panty hose test. Basically if you slide hose across it and it tears, then it will tear long fins.
I have always been really paranoid about velvet since my boy is golden from many angles, but there is no dusting or anything on his body that doesn't seem like it belong there. There are no grains, particles of nothing, no spots. I think he looks/behaves very healthy apart from the tail bites. Today, he's been very busy making a nest the entire morning.


(And as a bonus, the face he made at me when he saw I was trying to take photos of him.)


I would definitely add more plants to make him feel more secure. Anubias is a great option as it is hardy and will provide some cover. You could actually get AQ suction cups and attach the Anubias to them and put them near the surface and others down below. There are many species of Anubias so you could get shorter varieties like Anubias nana for up top and Anubias Frazeri for the bottom.
If his temperament allows you could add a few small FW shrimp or 2 nerite snails to keep a bit more entertained. He will appreciate more plants the best though, so if you can not get tank mates at the moment you could always add them later and get plants first. Also Anubias should not be planted in so it will do well in your tank.
Thank you, I will try to get anubias and provide him with some sort of canopy. When the lamp arrives, I will probably consider trying water lettuce again, but I tried once and it all turned brown because it had no light and the roots kept falling off and rotting into the water.
As for some tank mates, I read it's very easy for snails to "take over" the tank and I wouldn't want them to get out of control. As for shrimps, I hear that it's really individual, each betta reacts different to them and my boy is just so curious I am afraid he might bother it and chase it around and then what? I will have nobody to give it to and I would hate for the shrimp to be just for my betta's entertainment if it was to live under stress. :/



This is his tank. Now, it's really just two java ferns, driftwood and a moss ball. At night, he sleeps using the fake leaf hammock as a pillow and the fern leaf below it as a support.
The table tennis ball floating on the surface is me trying to have him focus on something else than biting. It distracts him from time to time.

I thought of putting some colorful marbles in the tank. It's true that apart from green and blue rocks, he doesn't really have much to look at. Should I buy him some interesting colors?
 

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The photos are all great! The tank is beautiful, I love the natural background! :) I would definitely add more tall plants though. Anubias would look fantastic attached to your driftwood.
Snails will reproduce fast depending on the species. Nerites will only breed in brackish water, so you would not have problems with them. When I mentioned tank mates I did not mean the Betta would entertain himself by chasing them. I meant he might enjoy watching them move around, only if he is calm enough for tank mates though. If you think he is aggressive then shrimp are not a good idea. FW shrimp need mature established aquariums to thrive, If you were to consider a tank mate a nerite snail or two would not hurt, most, but not all Bettas get along with them. I would say your Betta would be less likely to bother a snail. Snails also help with algae and are quite fun to watch!
Anyways regarding more color in the tank, a few colorful marbles would certainly not hurt. The color would not bother him as long as the gems are not overly shiny and he can see his reflection in them. Which reminds me, is there anywhere in his tank that he can see himself in the form of a reflection? A bit of flaring is ok, but long term it is stressful and some Bettas actually blow out their fins if they flare to much.
A TON of plants will benefit him the most as Bettas are not open water fish. I recently added more plants to my Female Bettas aquarium and she is so much more active! I see her swimming much more often and she all around seems happier. Bettas feel secure in heavily planted tanks as their natural habitat is leaf covered. Don't worry too much about over planting it, just leave a strip along the front open and bury the rest in plants. :D

Oh and the ball at the top is a nice toy, I might get one for each of my Bettas.

Here is a picture of my old sorority tank, which is currently divided for my two females. :) It was heavily planted, but I could have added even more foliage.

 
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