Betta fin rot - running out of ideas

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kfreytag

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Mar 26, 2022
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My daughter's Betta is suffering from fin rot, and I'm struggling to help.

The Betta started in a 2 gal filtered and heated tank and was fine for ~3 months with weekly ~50% water changes. When we saw signs of rot, we prepared a new 5 gal tank and moved him. He's been in the 5 gal for two weeks, and the fin rot has expanded disturbingly.

In the 5 gal tank, Ammonia and Nitrate are non-existent. The "natural" pH is slightly high (our local water is high) at ~7.6, so we bring it down with API fluid. Temperature is at 78 F. This aquarium has been set up for two weeks and he is the only fish in the tank.

The tank has silk plants and a single decoration within which he can hide. The tank has gravel.

The new tank has three stage filtration, a heater, and LED lights that are illuminated ~66% of the day.

We initially did 20% water changes daily in the 5 gal tank, siphoning from the bottom to clean the gravel.

We feed three flakes of Fluval Bug Bites daily.

Once in the larger tank, we initially tried aquarium salts for five days with no apparent effect (fin rot got worse).

Over the past week, we've administered Bettafix, which advises no water changes, so we've paused those.

So, we've tried moving him from what we feared was a contaminated tank (nothing but the fish went from the original tank to the 5 gal), treating him with aquarium salts, and now treating him with Bettafix. We've monitored Ammonia, NItrate, and pH and adjusted the pH. We've initially kept the temperature a little low (~76 F) in the hopes of keeping anything bad at bay and now increasing the temp to 78 F.

The fish seems happy, is making bubbles, and made a bubble nest, but his fin rot is progressing, and I'm not sure where to go from here.

IMG_4303.jpeg
 

fishorama

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Jun 28, 2006
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Welcome to AC

Have you tested for ammonia, nitrite & nitrate? What are those numbers? We prefer to see API test results rather than strips or shops "it's ok". I don't hate test strips but many here do. But we need actual numbers or at least a "range".

He doesn't look terrible, his fins may be being shredded by the plastic plants...Did he have them in both tanks?

78F is a bit low for most bettas but that's not the cause of his issues. Tell us more please
 

kfreytag

Registered Member
Mar 26, 2022
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Thanks for writing back, F fishorama .

We have tested for ammonia and nitrate with API kits. Both were absent (literally 0 ppm - pictures attached from tests I just did). I didn't realize that we needed to also test for nitrite, and I went looking for an API kit today (couldn't find one - I have one on order). The pH is still a little high (see pic). Could the pH be the cause of the issues?

He didn't have the silk plants in the original tank. My daughter added them to the new tank, seeking to give him some "comfort". They're _supposed_ to be Betta-friendly (soft, non-cutting), but we could easily remove them.

What's stymied me is my inability to stop the progression of the fin rot. Today, however, it appears that the fin rot may finally be stalled. Although he doesn't look bad in the picture above, he's lost _a lot_ of his tailfin. We're on day 7 of treating with Bettafix. Perhaps this has helped?

The Bettafix recommends not changing the water while treating, so we've paused water changes during the Bettafix treatment. He seems more stable today. Given that it's been a week with Bettafix, it seems it's time to return to water changes.

What's the advice on water changes? 20% daily or 50% weekly? Please do let me know what other information I can provide, and thanks for your help.

IMG_4314.pngIMG_4316.pngIMG_4312.png
 

fishorama

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Jun 28, 2006
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Oh I'm sorry! I just read "plastic: plants but you clearly said silk. My only experience with fake plants are plastic 1s. I can see he's lost both tail & dorsal parts.

Did you move his filter or at least some decor from his old tank so it stayed cycled? I'd think you see ammonia at least a little if you didn't. Maybe all the water changing has helped?

Fancy bettas are not all that fussy about pH. I would skip the additive & just use tap water with dechlorinator. Have you ever tested your tap water?

Did he have white fin edges at first? Or just slowly disappearing? Is there any sign of them starting to grow again? New growth may start out whitish at first.

I'm not a big believer in Melafix, Betta fix etc. but some people are. If it seems to help, keep it up. I looked it up, it's dosed every day for a week. I would change some water & try another week. Then small daily water changes to remove it.

Why do you need to change water every day? If you need to vacuum out food, feed less at a time! He probably doesn't eat more than 1 or 2 bites at any feeding. 3 flakes doesn't seem like too much...Does he eat & poop?

Hopefully someone else will help & have better ideas. I know there are issues with some of the newer strains but I haven't kept bettas in many years.
 

NettieLenore

Registered Member
May 30, 2024
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These fish are found in water that is almost virtually motionless. If all your parameters are in order and he seems to be active, I think what you are witnessing is loss of .the lower part of these flowing delicate fins due to a more aggressive water flow and move movement of the fish itself. The fins are delicate and not able to withstand too much stress and will rip and tear easily. It may not be fin rot at all. But, have heart, because once all the weak fin has gone, with time in his newer bigger home, the fins will start to grow back, and this time be stronger because of more use, and more water flow.
Remember he was brought up in none moving water and kept in a very confined space. I think he will be ok, keep him in his big new home, take out the plastic plants put in real ones that are safe for the pretty guy.
Good luck
Nettie 😎
 
Apr 2, 2002
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New York
I am not a fan of "herbal" rememdies especially anything that ends with fix. If you have fin rots that persists, then it is usually either fungal or bacterial, However, sometimes it can be both. Salt should have had an effect on fungus. So it ,ay not be that/ That leaves bacterial which
means and antibiotic is the best solution.

Since you do not show your country I cannot suggest anything beyond the above as I have no idea to what you might have access.

Here is some good info about Betta splendens which may be helpful for you in general. Also, I would have treated the fish in the original tank rather than moving it. https://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/betta-splendens/
 

fishorama

AC Members
Jun 28, 2006
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SF Bay area, CA
This thread is more than 2 years old. The OP hasn't been back since then. I can only hope her betta made a recovery whatever she did to help him. Sometimes just water changes can help a lot.

Nettie, some bettas like to swim in a flow as long as they have some calm areas to rest in. Like TTA, I'm not a fan of herbal remedies. If I think a fish needs meds, I go with pharmaceuticals or old school dyes that seem to work better for any given issue.
 
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