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I posted about possible fin rot a few months ago (here) but the consensus was that he was biting. We made some changes to his tank at that time. He hadn't gotten any better or worse over the past few months. Then we went on vacation and our house-sitter's instructions were to feed the fish and other pets. This was done. However, when we returned I realized over half his tail is gone!!

--We've been giving him stress guard every other day.
--He has a large leafy silk plant to hide and/or lie on.
--He has a coconut shell to hide inside.
--He is not in a high traffic area.
--He is eating. He goes to his food spot and waits when he knows it's time to eat, as usual.
--He is lying on his leaves or coconut most of the time (I'm not surprised since he has so little tail..)

But look at him! :crying: Is this still biting or is something else wrong? He is also pinker looking than he used to be. He was bright white a few months ago, see pics. I do not know if the color change happened recently or gradually over time. Parameters follow. The pics are:
-bright white and healthy when we first got him last Sept.
-picture I posted in March showing what I thought was fin rot.
-Two pictures of him today.


Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? 3.5
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What temperature is your tank? 78
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? Yes - one Zebra Nerite Snail

Food:
What food brand do you use? New Life Spectrum
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Pellets
Freeze-dried? No. We have bloodworms and shrimp but he won't eat either. Only likes the pellets.
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? Once a day, 4-5 little pellets

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? 1/week
What percentage of water did you change? 25%
What is the source of your water? Tap
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Vacuum
What additives do you use? What brand of conditioner? Seachem Prime. Stressguard every other day, but not within this past week due to travel.

Water Parameters:
What are your water parameters? - Please note, I changed this water on Sunday. Parameters are from last night (so about 2 days after water change. I had previously changed it one week ago Saturday. I do approx 40% each time.)

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 5 ppm
pH: 6.0
Hardness (GH): ? API test kit doesn't test this or the next one
Alkalinity (KH): ?

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? Today, but this has been ongoing since March; got worse when we left town.
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? His fins are super short!! He is also a bit more pink looking.
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? No change. He is still building bubble nests and begging for food!
Is your Betta still eating? Yes
Have you started treating your Betta? No
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? Just this fin stuff.
How long have you owned your Betta? 10-11 months
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? No
 

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RusselltheShihTzu
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Still looks like biting. The pinkish color is normal. Some whites are pure white and some have this tint to their bodies and fins. You can see the pink tint in the two photos on the left.

StressGuard dissipates after 24 hours so the dose is daily. StressGuard has mild antiseptic properties so should be in a biter's tank 24/7.

Sometimes they bite when we go away for a few days and they don't get their normal interaction. Some stress by this change in routine. But also note his fins have gotten much, much heavier. There is one theory that they also bite to relieve the weight. But it's not proven.

Keep up with the water changes, make sure he has places to rest near the top. You might up his food to 2x per day.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
This is a huge relief. I thought he was sick and maybe dying. I will keep up on the stress guard. We used to feed him twice a day but then I read about constipation and bloating, so I backed it off....

Still looks like biting. The pinkish color is normal. Some whites are pure white and some have this tint to their bodies and fins. You can see the pink tint in the two photos on the left.

StressGuard dissipates after 24 hours so the dose is daily. StressGuard has mild antiseptic properties so should be in a biter's tank 24/7.

Sometimes they bite when we go away for a few days and they don't get their normal interaction. Some stress by this change in routine. But also note his fins have gotten much, much heavier. There is one theory that they also bite to relieve the weight. But it's not proven.

Keep up with the water changes, make sure he has places to rest near the top. You might up his food to 2x per day.
 

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RusselltheShihTzu
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Constipation and bloating is more common in Betta fed an inferior food with mostly fillers. Also, from this Forum but no actual proof, freeze dried that isn't reconstituted.

A good rule to remember to tell if any fish is sick: It will stop eating and become lethargic. As long as they are eating and active they are fine. I agree, fin issues can be scary.
 

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Yep, they can trim their caudal that short. My boy Bruiser used to do that and did it for months, a couple months ago he finally stopped for no reason that I can figure out.

I've read that white betta are more prone to fin biting but I've never found a reason why that would be.

Here's a picture of Bruiser in all his fin biting glory, he's a veiltail so you have a general idea of how much he was biting off, personally I think he wanted to be a plakat.. The red on the caudal is where the fin had grown back, the middle part that's missing the red is where he trimmed it again, by the next day all the red was gone and he was one length.
 

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here's a documentation of my fin biter. sad to see how beautiful and full his fins used to be compared to now.
but he's healing well and that's all that matters.

i've been using Melafix and Vita Chem with more silk plants and places for him to hide and explore.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Poor guy. Thanks for the suggestions. I will be making some changes to mine's environment.
here's a documentation of my fin biter. sad to see how beautiful and full his fins used to be compared to now.
but he's healing well and that's all that matters.

i've been using Melafix and Vita Chem with more silk plants and places for him to hide and explore.
 

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RusselltheShihTzu
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I forgot to add: You can use either Indian Almond Leaves or Rooibos Tea in his tank. Both have mild antibacterial properties and can help prevent infections. They do tint the water brown, though.

You can make an extract by boiling. Add this to the tank; store excess in refrigerator.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
with Pinecone or instead of?

I forgot to add: You can use either Indian Almond Leaves or Rooibos Tea in his tank. Both have mild antibacterial properties and can help prevent infections. They do tint the water brown, though.

You can make an extract by boiling. Add this to the tank; store excess in refrigerator.
We add an alder pinecone to his tank every so often for lowering PH... would the leaves/tea be something to do in addition to this or instead of? (It also turns the water brown... lol)
 

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My daughter and I went to the store and bought new tank decor for him including two big silky plants and a private little hideaway that looks like a rusted out VW Herbie bug. I need to take the dremel sander to the car a little because it is resin and has spots inside and on the edges that will not pass the pantyhose test. Hope to do that this weekend and get that inside for him. I also bought him a new leaf hammock; our old one wasn't sticking consistently. He was sitting on that when I left for work this morning so I think he likes it OK. Will add a pic once we put the rest of the decor in.
 

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RusselltheShihTzu
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Yes, Alder cones are offer the same mild antibacterial properties. I use them in tanks with shrimp because they love to graze on them.

I would advise to leave them in 24/7. Betta can adapt to consistent high or low pH but not to fluctuating pH. Mine live in that is naturally 7.8-8.2 pH.
 

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Yes-we do leave the cone in all the time.

Yes, Alder cones are offer the same mild antibacterial properties. I use them in tanks with shrimp because they love to graze on them.

I would advise to leave them in 24/7. Betta can adapt to consistent high or low pH but not to fluctuating pH. Mine live in that is naturally 7.8-8.2 pH.
 
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