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Discussion Starter #1
My little boy, Lafayette, is a tail biter and it's taken me a very long time to come to this conclusion.

bettafirst.jpg <---the beginning

betta1.jpg <---the beginning of the biting

The moment I knew his issue was something beyond the realm of fin rot or snagging was when I was on vacation and left him in the care of my best friend. Around the time I left for vacation he had been having a biting episode, though I didn't know that that's what it was until much later. So, I left my friend instructions on how to give him betta fix- which I do not use today after reading a startling amount of comments about the medication's harm to the labyrinth organ. I thought, since he was being medicated, his condition should improve while I was away. Plus, my best friend was also a betta parent so I wasn't too concerned with any rookie mistakes on her part.

But I was wrong.

betta2.jpg <---new damage

His condition did not improve. Regardless of the drugs, my friend had to send me pictures everyday showing that his tail was developing hole and then spitting. Needless to say, I was exasperated. At this point I'd tried meds, AQ salt, filtered water, non filtered water, and countless water changes. So, why was this happening?

betta3.jpg <--- getting worse

After changing his water yet again, I started researching every other betta ailment I hadn't already thought it could be. Dropsy? No. Ich? No. Tail biting? I hadn't even heard of this until then.
I'd been looking at sicknesses, not self-inflictions. So, this was a new idea. I began to research what causes tail biting and, more importantly, how to stop it.

betta4.jpg <---still getting worse

Anyone who has a biter knows that it is one of the worst things to struggle with because there's so little information to be found about it. I moved his tank decorations around often to make sure he wasn't bored, as I was told that that could be a cause. No change. I turned off his filter in case it was too strong. No change. I added some silk plants so he could hide or rest his heavy fins to reduce stress. I got excited because this helped for a little while but then he started biting again.

At this point I'd been driven to tears, as I'm sure many fish parents of biters are. His beautiful caudal fin was rapidly turning into ugly strings. The only pattern I found, in all this madness, was that I never SAW him biting during the day. It was always the in the morning when I would see the aftermath of a biting episode.

betta5.jpg <--- getting even worse

I decided to try one last thing. I noticed that when I would put him in a small container during water changes that he would calm down after a while. So, one night I put him in that container with a betta leaf, floated it in his tank to keep the temperature the same, and left him like that for the night. At this point his episodes were so frequent that when I checked on him in the morning and his tail hadn't worsened I was very excited.

betta.jpg <---growing back!

For four weeks now I've been "putting him in time out" at night and -so far- he's stopped biting. It's going to take a while to grow back, but I can already see a some regrowth. I know four weeks isn't a lot, but it's long time for my boy to go without biting when it use to be daily (or I suppose nightly) episodes of biting! I don't know if this method will work for everyone, especially if your betta bites during the day in which case I don't know how to combat that. I just want to help anyone and their fishies that are struggle with this same issue. Please tell me if if this works for any of you!

bettafinal.jpg <--- growing back more :)
 

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I think one of the moderators wrote about this...saying to try a smaller tank...that some betta feel betta..(LOL) in a smaller tank. Glad this is working for you and good info to pass along to others.
 

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Nice job!
I had a tail biter, his fins were huge until he started trimming them. I ended up putting him in a ten gallon with cover around the edges and plenty of swimming room in the middle of the tank and got him a sponge filter. He stopped. My guy was just tired of maneuvering those huge fins in a smallish area.
Figuring out their individual reasons can be challenging, to say the least.
 

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This is very interesting, I'm having exactly the same problem (posted a thread earlier in here). I have a question, is your tank a Fluval Chi?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think one of the moderators wrote about this...saying to try a smaller tank...that some betta feel betta..(LOL) in a smaller tank. Glad this is working for you and good info to pass along to others.
Thanks for the feedback! I wonder why I didnt find that post... huh. Sounds helpful!
 

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Lafayette is in a 5 gallon Fluval Spec. But at night I float him in a half gallon container within the 5 gallon, if that makes sense.
I hope you find whats causing the biting for your fishy!
That's interesting, mine's in a Chi. what if the filters on these tanks stress betas?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Nice job!
I had a tail biter, his fins were huge until he started trimming them. I ended up putting him in a ten gallon with cover around the edges and plenty of swimming room in the middle of the tank and got him a sponge filter. He stopped. My guy was just tired of maneuvering those huge fins in a smallish area.
Figuring out their individual reasons can be challenging, to say the least.
Really though! It often takes a lot of investigating to figure out whats behind the biting. Its so maddening! Thanks for the feedback.:-D
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
That's interesting, mine's in a Chi. what if the filters on these tanks stress betas?
I thought about that. I kept his filter off for a long time and just did water changes, but he kept biting :-(. But, its not the same cause for all the fishies. My friend's filter is super strong, so we put a little piece of sea sponge in the tube where the water is pushed out. It seems to be working for her, so you could try that too if you want.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
this is what his tank currently looks like. I've been keeping his light off to reduce stress.
tank.jpg
Oh and that weird tube thing in the front is just a PVC connector tube I put in the gravel for him to burrow. It was really cheap and he seems to like it :)
 

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Here's mine. Which is also 5 gal. I'm going to try adding a lot more plants/moss to give him places to hide and feel safe, which should also take up space and make him feel more snug, maybe our fish like smaller spaces..:shock:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Here's mine. Which is also 5 gal. I'm going to try adding a lot more plants/moss to give him places to hide and feel safe, which should also take up space and make him feel more snug, maybe our fish like smaller spaces..:shock:
Thats very pretty! :-D Caves and tubes are great for reducing stress. My favorite thing I've gotten him, besides his leaf bed, is his betta log. He's in it all the time! It seems to make him happy.
bettalog.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Here's mine. Which is also 5 gal. I'm going to try adding a lot more plants/moss to give him places to hide and feel safe, which should also take up space and make him feel more snug, maybe our fish like smaller spaces..:shock:
I also don't know if its so much that they prefer small places, but rather a few little spots where they feel secure, you know?
 

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They bite for the most bizarre reasons sometimes. My boy was destroying his tail. He'd go nuts biting it one day, then he'd go a week without touching. I'd get excited, there would be new growth, and then the next week, he'd chew it off again. I found a pattern with it. He would bite his fins every time I fed him LIVE brine shrimp. I thought it would be stimulating for him to hunt them down. Apparently it over-stimulated him! He hasn't bitten his fins since last September and they, unfortunately, never grew back normal. He also spent a lot of time flaring at his reflection and stressed out by it. I stopped that by making black inserts for 3 sides of his tank.
 

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that looks like one of the hanging cups used for breeding fish, i'll have to try to see if I can rig up something like that. My fish flares at his reflection or not, and I have a young tank.
 
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