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goobypls 01-20-2013 11:12 PM

Please help me diagnose my sick Betta
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Hello Everyone,
A couple months ago I purchased a Halfmoon Betta from Petsmart. I set up a 5g for him. I noticed that my Bettas fins looked a little roughed up at the edges but figured that they would heal up. Over the last few months his fin condition has not improved. His fins are now frayed and have pieces missing. I think it is fin rot, but I am hesitant to use antibiotics. What is the best way to effectively treat fin rot?


Housing-5g tank
Temp - around 75F w/ heater
Filter-Yes, Tetra Whisper 5
Tank mates- cryptos, anubias, some floaters, some river rocks
Food- a variety:frozen blood worms, Hikari baby betta pellets, Tetra tropical flakes.
Maintenance- 50%water change every 4 weeks or so treated with Tetra aquasafe

wendyjo 01-21-2013 03:15 AM

You need to do more water changes - once a month isn't enough. Have you tested for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates? If so, what are the results?

I would start out by doing alot more water changes - he may heal up just fine with clean water. If that doesn't work then you can try some aquarium salt unless it's worsening, in which case you'll probably need to get an antibiotic.

Diana 01-21-2013 04:46 AM

Ditto Wendyjo:
I would start doing daily water changes, perhaps 10-15%, then increase it to 25% daily after the first week. Concentrate on vacuuming the floor of the tank. This will remove a lot of organic matter that may be harboring bacteria and other microorganisms.

If the fins are not looking a bit better (not fully healed, but looking firmer, not quite so filmy) after 2 weeks of improving conditions you should go with antibiotics.
Many medicines work by latching on to almost any organic matter in the tank, including the debris on the floor of the tank. To get the maximum benefit it is best to thoroughly clean the tank before adding the antibiotics. Then the antibiotics will find the organisms causing problems with the fins easier.

The 2 weeks of improving conditions might be all that is needed to start healing the fins. If not, it has at least improved conditions so the antibiotics have a better chance to work.

Virto 01-21-2013 04:29 PM

Fin condition in bettas is strongly tied to water condition - you need to perform 25-50% water changes weekly in a five gallon, depending on your test results.

Pick up an API master kit and learn how to use it. It's invaluable in helping to determine your water parameters.

Vacuum the tank, perform a large (75% or more) water change since your small, infrequent changes are probably leaving quite a bit of undesirable material behind.

Bettas also do well in warmer water. You can kick the heater up to 78-80, which can relieve stress in some bettas. After your water change, you can add a little AQ salt.

Biggest factor in healing will be water quality. Keep on top of it and you shouldn't have to do much, if anything else to help him out.

goobypls 01-21-2013 08:50 PM

Thank you Wendyjo, Diana, and Virto. Your responses were helpful! My intentions when I bought this little guy were to improve his environment, this is difficult as a newbie . I have posted a pic so that you can see the damage to his fins. I have yet to test my water parameters but that will be on my to do list. So my water changes are not frequent enough? :icon_redf I will change quite a bit of water today and start doing changes weekly, and add the appropriate amt. of aquarium salt...Oh and turn the heater up a bit! I plan on treating the water with Seachem prime from now on too. I am going to keep this up for a couple weeks and if I don't see improvement I will take the antibiotic route. Once again, Thanks!

Virto 01-21-2013 10:20 PM

Prime is good if you need a little help between water changes, as it will (somewhat) detoxify ammonia (into ammonium, which is less, but still toxic).

Some people say you need a 100% change weekly, or bi-weekly with a 50% every week...I don't buy it. Large water changes stress fish - pick up a test kit and you'll get a real idea of just how quickly your water gets to a point that it needs to be changed. I will say that 50% every month in a tank this small is a big no-no, though. It would need to be considerably more frequent than that.

I keep a betta in a 5 gal filtered hex, and I typically will perform a 25% change weekly. Your mileage may vary, of course, based on how well cycled your tank is.

Any questions, just let us know.

mengyone 01-22-2013 05:19 AM

sometimes the betta will bite its tail.

aokashi 01-22-2013 07:09 AM

15 Attachment(s)
^that lol. if you dont see black edges to that tail, then he's probably biting

Elliriyanna 01-22-2013 03:03 PM

Have you cycled your tank? It really helps even though I am currently cycling and its a LOT of work in the beginning but its worth it for him

I am currently doing 50% water changes daily and testing ammonia and nitrites. Once my cycling is over a 10-15% waterchange weekly with gravel vacuuming is all that will be needed

Elliriyanna 01-22-2013 03:07 PM

Could his fins be getting torn on anything in the tank?

wendyjo 01-22-2013 04:49 PM

If he's only changing the water once a month then it;s most likely fin rot caused by poor water conditions.

Virto 01-22-2013 05:45 PM


Originally Posted by wendyjo (Post 2317521)
If he's only changing the water once a month then it;s most likely fin rot caused by poor water conditions.

Agreed. Also, tail biting can be caused by stress which can be brought on guessed it...poor water conditions.

Either way, he needs clean water to heal. You're on the right track by making changes to your routine.

goobypls 01-23-2013 12:21 AM

I have not seen him biting his tail. The edges are the same color as the rest of the fish. When he was first introduced to the tank his tail would momentarily become sucked into the filter ( Tetra whisper). But since then I have adjusted the flow and he has gotten used to the current. My tank has only been set up since late Nov, and I am assuming that it is not done cycling. I did a 75% water change yesterday and the temp is now at 80 F. Going to water change again soon...

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