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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I have had my betta (a beautiful red/blue veil tail) for 6 months, however in the past 3 months or so he seems to be in a permanent cycle of destruction!
Initially he was in a 10L tank, and one day I came home and practically all his tail was gone! I looked closely and noted it was actually fin rot :'( so treated him for that pretty quickly.
About 3 weeks after that, I noticed his tail was looking more like that of a crown tail... His water parameters were perfect, and there was nothing in his tank that he could damage his tail on, and it definitely was not fin rot this time (I consulted with a close friend of mine who is a bit of a fish guru).
After a little while of his tail growing, then disappearing, then growing, then shredding, I started to worry it was the size of the tank....so I upgraded his tank to a 36L (I know, only to try to stop him from destroying his tail!) I decked out his new tank with new plants and ornaments, and even gave him some tank mates!! For a while his tail seemed to be doing better, then one day it was pretty much all gone! (This whole time it has only been the main back tail, his bottom tail/fin is still perfectly long and flowy and untouched!) I went through his tank again and removed EVERYTHING that could have possibly been hurting him.
His tail got better, then once again, it disappeared! I started wondering if he was doing it, or if his tank mates were doing it! Then I read an article on Betta disease and wondered if actually he had fin melt....so I removed him from the big tank and put him back in the 10L and treated it as a hospital tank. I am currently treating him with tri-sulphur and doing 80% water changes every 3 days and I increased the temperature in the tank a little bit (to 28C) to help with the regrowing! He has been making bubble nests and he's rather active and happy in his tank, however this morning I noticed, once again, HIS TAIL HAS BEEN SHREDDED! In his hospital tank there is a rubber jellyfish (for him to play with), a betta hammock, the heater, and an old filter just to keep the water moving a little bit, there isn't even gravel! There is NOTHING he could have caught his tail on!
So I ruled out, it isn't his tank mates (5 neon tetras), it isn't stuff in the tank, it's not fin rot/fin melt.... So all I can think is that he actually keeps ripping his own tail!! Is he type-confused? Does he actually want to be a crown? Is he a self-destructive fish????
Please help! What can I do?? I have grown remarkably close to this little arse of a fish, and just want to make him better :(
 

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He's biting his fins. He either doesn't like something in the tank or he's doing it for no reason. Turn the lights down a bit and add AQ salt so that fin rot doesn't kick in.
 

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RusselltheShihTzu
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There is no established reason for fin biting. Can you post a photo of the tank? Betta are shade- and plant-loving fish. A tank that is too bright and without a lot of cover/plants seems to be two of the the most common factors in fin biters. Also, if his fins disappear almost overnight it isn't fin rot.

Welcome to the Forum! :wave:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi,
Thank you for your advice!
I have attached a picture of both the main tank (the big one with the tetras) and the smaller hospital tank.
Neither of the tanks actually have a light (the bulb on the big tank arrived blown and I have never really got around to getting a new one), so it can't be attributed to too much light. He is about 2 metres from the nearest window, and I keep the blind open for most of the day (on cool days), on hot days the blind stays closed all day because otherwise the house heats up too much!

Maybe I need to add more plant life to the bigger tank?
 

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Yeah add more plants. You can stuff it full of em. That tank looks really barren. Plants help with ammonia and offer coverage which makes them feel more safe and it provides resting areas.
 

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RusselltheShihTzu
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Has he been in a tank with the Neons for a while? Neons are notorious fin nippers; this is especially true if they aren't in a shoal of sufficent size...12+.

You do need a lot more plants and if you keep him in the tank on the right with no substrate put a dark towel or something under it to dull the brightness. If you add substrate do not use white as it can be too reflective/bright for Betta without a lot of plants.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Cheers,

He was only in the smaller tank as I thought maybe it was something that needed to be treated. I thought it could have been the neons, however his tail is still once again shredded even when he is not in the same tank as them. In fact, he now has a hole in the middle of his tail!

My manager today suggested maybe he's overly aggressive and mistakes his tail for another betta??

I'll put him back in his main tank and stuff it full of plants.

When adding the salts, what GH should I be looking at? Obviously adding the salts will increase it, but how high is too high? Try to stay around the 7-9 range, or would be it acceptable to go a little higher than that? Especially as I really don't want him to get an infection/disease...

A note on the neons, they seem far far happier with Freddy out the tank...I get the feeling he is a bit of a bully!
 

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Yeah, they sometimes do bite their fins when they re really stressed, especially during and after when they have been shipped in packets. Try raising the temperature, add a few more live plants and rocks to give him some hiding space so that he feels safe and relaxed, dim the lights if you have any. If possible, try adding a piece of dry Indian Almond Leaf (IAL) in his tank which is a great stress buster for your fish.

Note: Adding IAL to your tank releases a lot of natural tannins which is actually so good for the fish but the water might appear a little to dark yellow/gold in colour. It makes them feel like they re living in a natural pond or a pool and they also harden their scales and prevents the bacterial/fungal growth in tanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ooo I'll have a look today to see if I can find any. I have a hunch they will be hard to find in Australia.

Update: He is back in the 36L with a teatowel over one side to stop too much glare. It is too hot for the blinds to be up today, so he has until at least 2pm with no light at all. Overnight he gained one more shred to his tail, but he and the neons appear to be avoiding one another rather happily. There are a lot more plants in the tank now, and I fully intend to pick up a pongol from work today to give more height to the tank.
Would it be worth getting something like elodea or wisteria that he might nibble on to detract from biting himself???
 

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RusselltheShihTzu
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Plants in a tank aren't always to procure security for the smaller fish. Betta need places to relax and get away from the busy of the other fish. Without that area they can bite; it's part of the intricate reason they need plants and shade.

If your boy were overly aggressive you wouldn't have any Neons left as he would have stressed them to death.
 

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Good to know he isn't a complete psycho!!
The tank is now significantly more full (YAY), complete with some Pongol (full height), and a Banana Lily (will have to wait for that one to grow!)
 

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RusselltheShihTzu
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If Pongol is what we call Mondo Grass it isn't a true aquarium plant and will eventually die. :-( Unfortunately, several pet store chains in the US sell it as aquatic.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I have heard that about Pongol before (probably is the same thing just different 'languages'), I got it to fill up the time and space as the Banana Lily is growing. I will certainly keep a very close eye on it, and maybe swap it out for a Pennywort or Elodea instead. There's already a fair bit of Anubias in there, however they aren't particularly tall plants so don't really help the predicament.
 
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