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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have now had my betta for about 6 weeks in a 10 gallon tank (he was in a 2.5 for about a week before that). He is a halfmoon. I have the AquaClear HOB filter (20 I think) with the sponge and the biofilter, but without the carbon filter. When I first started out, since the tank was not cycled I was testing with the API master test every day, but have since changed to about once every 2-3 days (pH only once per week).

My parameters have been extremely stable:

pH: 8.0
Ammonia: 0 to .25 (even after a week it has never been over .25)
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
GH and KH I only tested once or twice with the strips as I know my water is quite hard. Both of them are quite high.
Temperature is steady 78-79F using the Eheim Jager heater.


I have been using water from the tap, which bypasses my water softener, and adding prime.

Water changes have been 25% weekly, and 10% during the week. For the first two weeks I was putting in SeaChem stability. The two weeks after that I just put it in after a water change once per week. I stopped using it since nothing seems to be happening.

He had a ghost shrimp for a month who died, and then another for a week who died.. so I gave up on shrimp until it is cycled.

There are two java ferns and an anubia. I use a small amount of

His behaviour seems to be unchanged, but I have noticed that his fins have gotten quite.. ragged. In one spot which is difficult to see it almost seems like his fins have even split completely. I have looked at pictures of tail biting and fin rot, and neither of them seem to apply. What is wrong with him? Should I be worried? Should I be doing anything else? I don't want him to waste away like our last betta.

Also, is it normal for the fish-in cycle to take this long? I have noticed that there has been some brown stuff showing up on the decorations, and the sponge in the filter has gotten a bit brown, but the biofilter it still looking pretty clean.

I have included pictures of Baldur. One of them is from about a month ago when he wasn't showing any of these signs.
 

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It looks like it might be tail biting, and yeah fish-in takes forever, could you QT him and do a fish less cycle?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No a fishless cycle is not really an option at this point. I will not be around much over the next year and my wife has to take care of him. She.. has proven to only be able to care for things with very simple instructions.

One thing I have wondered about is that at certain points in the day he seems to absolutely love chasing his reflection on one side of the tank. Some days he has done that for hours. Could this be stressing him out? If so, is there anything I can do to change it?

I did forget to mention: he only has silk and real plants. He has two caves that only have smooth edges, and a piece of driftwood.

What the picture doesn't show though is that there is a long thin break in his fins that goes from top to almost bottom. There is no way that could have been caused by tail biting.
 

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Hmm, do the stocking test on his driftwood. Also I say fish less because you can do a quick fish less cycle in a month then add him.
That behavior is called glass surfing and can cause stress curved sides are the worst offender but it can still be stopped by making the outside of the tank brighter than the inside and makind sure the wall(s) he is near are as lightly colored as possible to cut down on the reflection
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The driftwood is smooth. Besides which, the rate at which his fins are deteriorating seems to be accelerating significantly. Just in one day I see another tear that goes all the way from the top to the bottom of his tail fin.

I am worried about this fish.. I don't understand what I have done wrong, or what more I can do for him.

Should I be trying to lower the pH by mixing the tap water with distilled? Is it possible that the 8.0 pH is burning his fins away?


I am really at a loss. I can't have another fish waste away like our last one did. If this happens again I may just give up on this hobby.
 

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Actually, this isn't fin biting but fin ripping. It's very possible he ripped them on the silk plants as sometimes they are harder than they should be and if he swims by just in the right way, it can cut the fin.

Do not try to lower your pH, 8.0 isn't all that bad, his fins may curl a little in the end but it's not terrible for him. Also distilled water is void of all minerals which our fish need, never use distilled for fish water.
 
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