Betta Fish Forum banner
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Received a Betta as a gift in February while I was living in a college dorm and got him a 2 gallon tank w/ filter and heater (it was the biggest I could go). He has since been living in that tank with a moss ball and java fern, but I then had to leave for 1 week and left him in the care of my grandparents during that time (I live with them, so there was no transportation that could have caused stress).

I just got back today to see his fins frayed (see photo: left is two weeks ago, right is today). At first I thought it was fin rot, but the closer I look I don't see any black/brown discoloration where his fins are gone, which is what you normally see with fin rot. I also noticed that the fraying fins are only in the back and not on the fins directly above or below him, which makes me think that he possibly could be biting his tail. I'm not sure exactly what causes a Betta to bite their tail, since he
hasn't done it before in the 3 months I've had him, but I'm thinking it could maybe be from stress?

1017941


Possible stressors include:
-Too much exposure to light; I think my grandparents left the light on for 4 hours more per day than I normally do (when they woke up and when they got back from work)
-Me being gone; I'm not sure if Bettas know their owners well enough for him to know I've been gone for a long period of time but maybe?
-Too high of temperature; order a thermometer to my grandparents house before I left and installed it when I got back (today) and temp. was 84ºF.
-Too strong of filter intake? Not sure about this one, but I've had a couple incidents of his fin being tore and its just grown back, so it could be from this too?
-combination of these factors? I think this is most likely

Not sure on what to do with this situation. I just did a 50% water change with a gravel vacuum to get rid of any potential bad bacteria and removed the filter and am planning on going the pet store tomorrow to pick up test strips to test the ammonia, etc. levels. Regardless of whether it's fin rot or tail biting, could I solve this issue with keeping the water clean and healthy?

Also: Will oxygen levels be adequate enough when I remove the filter since I have the java fern + moss ball and am doing frequent water changes? I just ordered the Fluval Spec 5 gallon for him, but until this arrives and cycles, will he be good without a filter?

Sorry for the long post, I just want to give him a happy and healthy life and I feel horrible because he's suffering right now!!


INFO:
How many gallons is your tank? 2
Does it have a filter? Yes, but I have since taken it out
Does it have a heater? Yes
What temperature is your tank? Was 84° for what im presuming to be a week, is now 80°
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? No

Food:
What food brand do you use? BioGold Pellets and Blood Worms
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Pellets
Freeze-dried? Yes, the bloodworms
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? 2-3 BioGold pellets twice daily and Bloodworms once a week in place of the pellets

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? Once a week
What percentage of water did you change? 10-25%
What is the source of your water? Tap with
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? I did dip out water for awhile, but I started using a siphon 3 weeks ago.
What additives do you use? What brand of conditioner? Betta Water Conditioner from TopFin

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.
I don’t have a test kit.

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

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? When I returned home.
How has your Betta’s appearance changed?
Yes, frayed ends on back fin.
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? He seems less apt to swim around.
Is your Betta still eating? Yes
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? Yes, I did a 50% water change to help speed the process of getting rid of any potentially damaging bacteria.
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? No.
How long have you owned your Betta? 3 months.
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? No.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
22,942 Posts
Please fill out this questionnaire. It gives us the most important information in a quick-reference form. Thank you.


As an aside, here is the Forum's tutorial on fish-in cycling so you can get him into the Fluval soonest.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Received a Betta as a gift in February while I was living in a college dorm and got him a 2 gallon tank w/ filter and heater (it was the biggest I could go). He has since been living in that tank with a moss ball and java fern, but I then had to leave for 1 week and left him in the care of my grandparents during that time (I live with them, so there was no transportation that could have caused stress).

I just got back today to see his fins frayed (see photo: left is two weeks ago, right is today). At first I thought it was fin rot, but the closer I look I don't see any black/brown discoloration where his fins are gone, which is what you normally see with fin rot. I also noticed that the fraying fins are only in the back and not on the fins directly above or below him, which makes me think that he possibly could be biting his tail. I'm not sure exactly what causes a Betta to bite their tail, since he
hasn't done it before in the 3 months I've had him, but I'm thinking it could maybe be from stress?

View attachment 1017941

Possible stressors include:
-Too much exposure to light; I think my grandparents left the light on for 4 hours more per day than I normally do (when they woke up and when they got back from work)
-Me being gone; I'm not sure if Bettas know their owners well enough for him to know I've been gone for a long period of time but maybe?
-Too high of temperature; order a thermometer to my grandparents house before I left and installed it when I got back (today) and temp. was 84ºF.
-Too strong of filter intake? Not sure about this one, but I've had a couple incidents of his fin being tore and its just grown back, so it could be from this too?
-combination of these factors? I think this is most likely

Not sure on what to do with this situation. I just did a 50% water change with a gravel vacuum to get rid of any potential bad bacteria and removed the filter and am planning on going the pet store tomorrow to pick up test strips to test the ammonia, etc. levels. Regardless of whether it's fin rot or tail biting, could I solve this issue with keeping the water clean and healthy?

Also: Will oxygen levels be adequate enough when I remove the filter since I have the java fern + moss ball and am doing frequent water changes? I just ordered the Fluval Spec 5 gallon for him, but until this arrives and cycles, will he be good without a filter?

Sorry for the long post, I just want to give him a happy and healthy life and I feel horrible because he's suffering right now!!
H
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,050 Posts
Big chunks of missing fin like that are almost always the result of biting. The edges look clean to me- fin rot usually shows up as a black or reddish edge, and the fins may appear to "melt" as it progresses- so I don't think he's gotten an infection.

The best way to encourage a betta's fins to heal back is to give them warm, clean water and good food.

Adding in Indian Almond Leaves or Rooibos Tea can also help his fins heal cleanly, since they are mildly antiseptic. But they'll stain your water a tea-like brown, so you may prefer not to use them. Some people suggest a pinch (1/2 teaspoon per gallon) of Aquarium salt, but I prefer to hold off until I see an actual infection starting.


In general you seem to be taking good care of him. I'd suggest increasing your water changes however, especially if you plan to not use a filter going forward. In a 2g I'd suggest a weekly 50% change (ideally split into two 25% changes), and if there's no filter then I'd also do a larger change of 80-90% (however much you can take out while leaving him in the tank) once a or twice a month. With a filter, just the weekly water change will be fine after it's finished going through the Nitrogen Cycle.

(If you're not sure what I mean by the Nitrogen Cycle, we have several great threads on the subject: CYCLING: the two-sentence tutorial & Nitrogen cycle-Betta specific )

The other recommendation I'll make to help him heal faster is food. The pellets you have now aren't the worst, but they do contain a lot of plant ingredients, which bettas have a hard time digesting. If you have the budget I'd encourage you to look for a food where fish/seafood or insects are the majority of the ingredients, and as few plants as possible. Some good brands to look for are Omega One, New Life Spectrum, Northfin, and Bug Bites- most pet stores should have at least one available.

Freeze-dried are also great for a treat but they're a bit like potato chips, nutritionally speaking. For an even better boost you can use frozen food like bloodworms and brine shrimp, which are packed with proteins and good fats to help his fins heal.


To help prevent biting in the future, we really don't know for sure why some bettas bite. It could be stress, or that his fins are too long & heavy, or he could just decide to bite for no reason at all. My first suggestion is always to increase the amount of plants in his tank, since bettas love having lots of "stuff" to hide in and rest against. They can be real or fake, but if they're plastic just be sure to check for sharp edges that can snag his fins.

Another suggestion is keeping lights dim (You can add floating plants rather than adjust the light, depending on your preference) since a betta's natural habitat is pretty dim and murky.

Finally, baffle the outflow of the filter. This is a simple DIY activity, and we have a great thread with ideas for nearly any type of filter- Step-By-Step Filter Baffle (In general I do recommend you use a filter, since it makes maintenance much easier, but if you decide to take it out then obviously you won't need this step.)


(RE: Oxygen levels, bettas have what is called a "labyrinth organ" that allows them to breathe directly from the air in addition to using their gills. While it's not ideal for them to rely on it does mean that they won't suffocate in low-oxygen situations, as long as they have access to the air)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Big chunks of missing fin like that are almost always the result of biting. The edges look clean to me- fin rot usually shows up as a black or reddish edge, and the fins may appear to "melt" as it progresses- so I don't think he's gotten an infection.

The best way to encourage a betta's fins to heal back is to give them warm, clean water and good food.

Adding in Indian Almond Leaves or Rooibos Tea can also help his fins heal cleanly, since they are mildly antiseptic. But they'll stain your water a tea-like brown, so you may prefer not to use them. Some people suggest a pinch (1/2 teaspoon per gallon) of Aquarium salt, but I prefer to hold off until I see an actual infection starting.


In general you seem to be taking good care of him. I'd suggest increasing your water changes however, especially if you plan to not use a filter going forward. In a 2g I'd suggest a weekly 50% change (ideally split into two 25% changes), and if there's no filter then I'd also do a larger change of 80-90% (however much you can take out while leaving him in the tank) once a or twice a month. With a filter, just the weekly water change will be fine after it's finished going through the Nitrogen Cycle.

(If you're not sure what I mean by the Nitrogen Cycle, we have several great threads on the subject: CYCLING: the two-sentence tutorial & Nitrogen cycle-Betta specific )

The other recommendation I'll make to help him heal faster is food. The pellets you have now aren't the worst, but they do contain a lot of plant ingredients, which bettas have a hard time digesting. If you have the budget I'd encourage you to look for a food where fish/seafood or insects are the majority of the ingredients, and as few plants as possible. Some good brands to look for are Omega One, New Life Spectrum, Northfin, and Bug Bites- most pet stores should have at least one available.

Freeze-dried are also great for a treat but they're a bit like potato chips, nutritionally speaking. For an even better boost you can use frozen food like bloodworms and brine shrimp, which are packed with proteins and good fats to help his fins heal.


To help prevent biting in the future, we really don't know for sure why some bettas bite. It could be stress, or that his fins are too long & heavy, or he could just decide to bite for no reason at all. My first suggestion is always to increase the amount of plants in his tank, since bettas love having lots of "stuff" to hide in and rest against. They can be real or fake, but if they're plastic just be sure to check for sharp edges that can snag his fins.

Another suggestion is keeping lights dim (You can add floating plants rather than adjust the light, depending on your preference) since a betta's natural habitat is pretty dim and murky.

Finally, baffle the outflow of the filter. This is a simple DIY activity, and we have a great thread with ideas for nearly any type of filter- Step-By-Step Filter Baffle (In general I do recommend you use a filter, since it makes maintenance much easier, but if you decide to take it out then obviously you won't need this step.)


(RE: Oxygen levels, bettas have what is called a "labyrinth organ" that allows them to breathe directly from the air in addition to using their gills. While it's not ideal for them to rely on it does mean that they won't suffocate in low-oxygen situations, as long as they have access to the air)
Thank you very much for all your information! I bought some foam/sponge filter media today and have since baffled the filter intake with that to prevent his fins from getting stuck in there. I also just ordered some Indian almond leaves, so I am hoping I will see some improvement over the next couple days.
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top