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Discussion Starter #1
Housing:
How many gallons is your tank?
3 gallons
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What temperature is your tank? 78 F
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?
Aqueon
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Pellets
Freeze-dried? No
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? He receives 1 pellet every morning

Maintenance:
Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change?
Once a week
What percentage of water did you change? 25%
What is the source of your water? My kitchen sink (city water)
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? I have a filter that will pump water from the tank, I do not vacuum the gravel
What additives do you use other than conditioner? What brand of conditioner? I use API Stress Coat+ as my water conditioner, then add API Quick Start and a bit of API Aquarium Salt pre-dissolved in conditioned water

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 didn't test the water before I emptied out his 3 gallon tank tonight, but last week when I tested these were my results:

General Hardness: 120
Carbonate Hardness: 180
PH: 7.2
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 6

Unfortunately I don't know the Ammonia, since my test strips only tell me the above conditions. I assume it's fine though since he has never appeared to struggle to breathe, I change the water frequently, and it has never been cloudy. My main issue seems to be the bacteria attacking his fins and I don't know how to fix that.

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms?
Mid-December
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? His fins have degraded terribly, they are ragged and discolored on the edges
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? He is still active but he rests more often now against the wall of his tank near his filter
Is your Betta still eating? Yes he still eats every day
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how?

My first treatment was to simply start administering recommended doses of API Bettafix. After 2 weeks he did not improve, so I moved him to a 1 gallon quarantine tank and continued to use API Bettafix, as my friend recommended to me that I had to remove the filter media while I was treating and that this was easier to accomplish in a smaller tank. I did this as instructed on the bottle, 7 days of dosing then a water change, same as before.

After 2 weeks he had still not improved. I decided to move him back into his 3 gallon tank (I had scrubbed it out with hot water and let it restart the aquarium cycle while he was in the 1 gallon tank), because I thought maybe he was depressed in the smaller tank (he had stopped actively swimming around and just rested on the bottom, only coming up for his daily pellet). I kept administering API Bettafix and doing the water changes, but he worsened much more quickly after being moved.

Tonight I looked up everything I could, since I was growing desperate at this point, and found this website: How To Treat Fin Rot In Bettas (Full Guide) - Betta Care Fish Guide

I followed the directions on the website and moved him back into the 1 gallon quarantine tank (after I had cleaned it out and reconditioned it), and added the aquarium salt, and completely scrubbed out his 3 gallon again. But I think I might have done a terrible thing by doing this. The site says I have to do a 100% water change every day with more salt and that just seems like it will stress him out more and kill him faster. I don't know what to do anymore. I love this little fish, he's so curious and playful; he loves to blow bubbles and explore his decorations and follow my finger when I trace it over the glass. He's been such a champ, hanging on through all these different treatments and water changes and relocations, he wants to live. I want to save him. But everything I try just makes him worse. Everyone I ask tells me something different. I don't know what else to do.

Does your Betta have any history of being ill? He has always been very small and thin, I had to break up his food to give it to him when I first got him because he wasn't able to eat it on his own. He would hide from me when I approached his tank. But he began to grow stronger after a couple weeks, able to snatch up and eat a pellet by himself, and he would now greet me when I approached. He was very active and darted around frequently. At one point he had a little moss ball that he liked to nudge around, although I removed that when I started treating him for fin rot.
How long have you owned your Betta? Since mid-November
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? He was shy and frail, but didn't seem to be ill or injured. To be perfectly honest I picked him partially because he was the smallest, ugliest fish at the store, and he had been there for over a month already



This is him as of November 23rd, about 2 weeks after I bought him.



And this is him now. :( His fins are so ragged. I'm sorry the photo quality is so low, my house has terrible lighting and since it's night I can't throw open a window to improve it. I only have my old iphone to take pictures with.






The damage is getting severe and I don't know how to stop it. Everything I try makes it worse.



His normal home, the 3 gallon tank. As you can see he is not currently in it. The heater is also missing, I put it in the 1 gallon with him (it's safe for 1-5 gallons according to the package).



The 1 gallon tank where he is currently quarantined. I removed the filter cartridge but the filter itself is still running so as to keep the water moving around a little.
 

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2 chihuahuas, a chameleon, 4 betta splendens and 1 betta mahachai.
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Hi there! This looks like mostly fin nipping and maybe just a bit of rot. Move him back to his original tank, the quarantine tank will only stress him further. Do 20% water changes 3x weekly and use Stress Coat. I would discontinue using aquarium salt in his main tank as it can build up and become dangerous if you do not have something to measure salinity. Instead, you can do an aquariums salt bath every other day for 15-20 mins at a time. There are tutorials on youtube :). This way, it is a much more concentrated dose and will not build up in the tank.

As for food, I would switch him over to either Omega One Betta Buffet, New Life Spectrum, Fluval Bug Bites, or Northfin Pellets. Aqueon can be pretty low quality so a better quality pellet and upping feeding to 2-3 times daily can be beneficial.

His main tank does seem to have mainly sharp plastic plants, which could be ripping his fins. I would switch him over to silk or live plants (such as a java fern, anubias, or frogbit floater which is my bettas favorite). You can find nice silk plants in the craft section at a dollar store or walmart.

-Keke
 

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Hi
So his 3 gallon is cycled and otherwise ready? Put him back in there, and give him either indian almond leaves or plain decaffeinated rooibos tea. These ease stress, and are also anti bacterial and anti fungal.
Either float a leaf or bag or make a strong tea. Pour into the tank until it is at least this color. You can store leftovers in the refrigerator.
TankWithIAL.jpg

He needs more food, start giving a pellet twice a day for a few days, and gradually increase to 2-3 pellets twice a day.

You need the ammonia test strip. For that size container, you're not changing the water frequently enough. Do frequent water changes of 25 to 50 percent per the advice above, or this guide;

 

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RusselltheShihTzu
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The old Aqueon Betta food was the pits. If you are now using their "Pro" formula it is just as bad so toss it out. If it's regular Betta or Color Enhancing as those have the same basic ingredients in the same order as New Life Spectrum, Omega One and NorthFin Betta Bits: Whole Fish Meal (Whole Salmon, Herring & Other Mixed Fishes), Whole Wheat Flour, Soybean Meal, Shrimp Meal, Whole Dried Krill.

Platinum/white Betta bite their fins more often than any other colors. Breeders have tried to breed it out of them but have had no success.

Many Betta do not do well in larger tanks; even a three can be too big for them. For some reason they can't adjust to a larger home. This is why I recommend leaving him in the one gallon. This is going to sound counterproductive, but if he stops biting and allows his fins to start healing put him back in the three. If he starts biting again you will know he's one of those who needs a smaller environment.

Use Indian Almond Leaves or plain, decaffeinated Rooibos Tea for their antibacterial and antifungal properties. Either float a leaf or bag or brew a strong tea and add conditioner before pouring into tank. This tea can be stored in the refrigerator. If you do as I suggest about leaving him in the one, continue adding the IAL or Rooibos to the three so the environment is the same.

If you leave him in the three he could well stop biting with the added IAL or Rooibos. So you can surely give that a try. However, if he continues biting move him back to the one before biting becomes a habit. Every few days try to take photos with him in close to the same position so you can note his progress.

We all have different experiences and ways of treating the same thing. Sometimes we have to try several methods of treatment before we hit on the one that works for a particular Betta. All of the suggestions you've been given are good. It's just that fish are not one size fits all.
 

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Hi! Others have already said this, but he looks under fed to me. I recommend fluval bug bites - they are crumbles rather than pellets and good quality, I also recommend feeding him more food at a time if he will take it like Mpboppy says.https://www.myaquariumclub.com/skinny-bettas-underfeeding-might-be-worse-than-overfeeding-19292.html
A healthy betta shouldn’t have a major change between head and body. It also should not have low spots in its body. Russell has posted some good reference pics in the past but now I can’t find them.
Another thing that might help with stress is getting him a cave to hide in. Honestly some of the best I’ve found are the “moon rocks” at Walmart. Just make sure the cave doesn’t have sharp or rough edges that his fins may snag on.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Oh no! I didn’t realize I wasn’t feeding him enough. D: I feel terrible, my poor little friend. I’ll begin gradually increasing his food until he’s getting the appropriate amount. When I asked about feeding him when I bought him they said bettas are supposed to be skinny and not to worry and that I was giving him plenty. There’s so much bad information about bettas out there, I’m so glad I found this forum.

I didn’t even know about the fin biting thing but that would definitely explain how it became dramatically worse just overnight: It was after I moved him back into his 3 gallon tank that the majority of his tail disappeared.

I will definitely try the tea for him. And I can replace the plastic plants with some cloth ones, they didn’t have any at the pet store but I will check Joann’s this afternoon after work.

I’ll keep him in the 1 gallon for a couple of days to see if he has that size issue other platinums do, and I don’t want to move him again so soon after just moving him last night, poor little guy is already stressed out enough.

I can switch his food too, I was just using this one because they said it was the one they used at the pet store. I think they carry the Fluval Bug Bites though, I’ll definitely go check after work. Would there be anything else I could give him that could help him put on a bit more weight like a waxworm for a leopard gecko or something?

Thank you everyone who replied with advice! ;-; This is my first fish I’ve ever owned, I was so in the dark about how to take care of him. I thought I was doing everything right but now I know I can definitely do better. I will also do more frequent water changes as suggested and get those ammonia test strips. I’ll update this thread with his recovery process!
 

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Awesome, thank you again for your help! I think I overfed him though, he really liked the new Fluval flakes so I kept dropping in more as long as he was still eating them. Now he's got a tummy bulge lol. I'll have to cut back tomorrow.

I added the Rooibos tea bag to his tank, I put it in the little filter holder where the cartridge goes (the cartridge is still not in). We'll see if it helps him out. Going to do a water change tonight before bed since some of the flakes drifted to the bottom of the tank and I don't want nitrate buildup.
 

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RusselltheShihTzu
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Unless the Aqueon is Betta Pro it is nutritionally sound. Below is the what a fish should look from the top. If he looks like that he's fine; however, he does need more food as weight loss can be very slow in progressing.

Start him out with two pellets or a small pinch of flakes 3-4 x per day. Gradually increase to larger amounts so you don't over-expand his stomach.

FishFromAbove.jpg
 

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Remember those plants do look sharp so I would recommend replacing them with silk or live plants :) The more coverage, the better!

I have never personally found downgrading to help nipping but if it helps him that is great! Keep doing what you know is best for him :)
 

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Thank you for the help! Yeah I wasn’t able to find any small silk or cloth plants at the pet store or Walmart, so I have ordered some from Amazon; I removed the plastic ones until they arrive. I was able to buy a smooth little cave for him to hide in for some shelter in the meantime.

Yeah I don’t want to keep him in the 1 gallon tank, but he is just going to be there for a few days to see if it helps him. I have never heard of some bettas preferring a smaller tank, but I had also never heard of fin nipping or tea baths before either, so I’m going to give it a shot. I have the larger 3 gallon tank set up and ready for him to move back in if the 1 gallon isn’t adequate for his needs.

In other news, he seems to be doing well. The water tests I performed are all coming out good and I got strips to take ammonia readings with too, and the levels are staying nice and low with the daily water changes.

he’s still kinda bloated from me accidentally overfeeding him yesterday but his tummy is going back down to normal. He still happily ate the little pinch of flakes I gave him this morning.
 

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his fins have degraded further :c his bottom fin has torn now too. I think it might be from the stress of moving. I don’t have anywhere for him to hide currently either since I removed his plastic plants and the silk ones have not come in yet. I’m going to try to go out of town to get something for him because he seems really agitated right now. I did a water change and put in another tea bag.

Is there a better way to do a water change in such a small tank? I just used a clean cup to dip out 60% of the water then used the same cup to pour new treated water back in, but that disturbed him quite a bit.
 

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I think I left the tea bag in for too long? The water is really dark and when I did a water test the Ph was 6.3. Should I take some water out and add in some normal water to try to dilute it?
 

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RusselltheShihTzu
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What exactly do you mean by stressing/disturbed? Exactly how does he act? You can use a piece of airline hosing as a siphon. It is clear and unobtrusive. Tanks should be vacuumed with each water change or the detritus accumulates in the gravel and causes issues.

It's just my experience that Rooibos is not potent enough to reduce pH by 0.9 ppm. How dark is the tank? Darker than the tank Mbpoppy shared? Changing out the water will dilute the Rooibos.

It could be fluctuation in your city water as I could find nothing that maintained pH needed to be stable but I did fine the government allows 6.5-8.5 as acceptable levels for our drinking water. You might test the water directly from the tap; fill a glass, add conditioner. After 24 hours recheck the pH.

Personally, I would not have him in a bare tank as lack of planting/cover is among one of two of the most common denominators in fin biting reported on this Forum. And not all plastic plants cause issues as they've been greatly improved. Run fine mesh or hose over them. If they snag then so will his fins; if they don't snag they are fine. Always check silk, too. It is not always without burrs. Add more plants to the three, too. you are aiming for 50%-75% planting.

FWIW, I have had five or six Betta that only stopped biting after moving down to a 2.5. I've also had those that didn't. These are Betta that were in equally-planted/maintained 20, 10, 8 and 5.5 tanks. But, as I noted, it is not a one size fits all world and Betta are all different.

All this is to agree with KeKetheBettaDoc: Do what makes you most comfortable.

Caveat: Not all Betta will stop biting; especially platinum/white. A while I had friend who imported from his father in Thailand. That's where I found out about how much more likely they are to bite. His father and a friend had been selectively breeding platinum to try and breed out the "biting" gene. They were not successful
 

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Okay I’ll try to find something like that to help get the crap out of the gravel. The water is pretty dark but I don’t think it’s darker than in the picture Mbpoppy shared, I think I’m just nervous.

When I say he seemed agitated I mean he was darting around quickly and skirting with his nose against the glass. He calmed down after a bit though and I gave him a little pinch of flakes, which he gobbled up. His stomach has returned entirely to a normal size too.

I’m not sure why the Ph dropped so low, since when I added the teabag yesterday then took a water test the Ph was fine. I think I’m just panicking cuz I’ve never used the tea before and don’t really know what to expect. I did add some silk plants I found at a craft store since every pet store I visited either had none or had already sold out. But I rinsed them thoroughly with hot water to wash them off before I added them. So he does have a place to hide now.
 

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1025609
1025610


he’s not hiding in the plants though as you can see, he’s just hiding behind the filter.
 

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RusselltheShihTzu
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Looking good. And not to worry; we all start out being nervous wrecks and I can testify that after all these years it can still happen to me.

Betta seem to prefer hanging out near the top. Floating Betta logs are good. If you are handy you can make one out of craft mesh. I like those better but I'm not a DIY person; no patience. I'll almost bet if you could make one that's where he would do most of his hanging out.

The third post down gives instructions. These can also be weighed down by substrate if you want something on the bottom DIY Thread
 
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