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Please help with fin rot

2502 Views 10 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  crazycatlady

My tank is 6 weeks old but still not cycled. I was doing 50% water changes every day because nitrites were high. I just got home from a 5 day business trip and my fish looks like this. My partner did 3 water changes for me while I was away. The algae in the tank is brutal and I'm starting to wonder if it's blue green algae. I'm a newbie and don't know what I'm doing. Please help.

Water parameters:
- ammonia 0
- nitrites 0.5
- nitrates 5 (first time I've seen nitrates in the tank)
- ph 7.4
- phosphates 1

I use API bottle tests (not strips). What can I do for the fish? I'm willing to do/buy anything necessary.

Please help. I'm so sad :(
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Hi CCL! Welcome to the wonderful and obsessive world of aquarium keeping! Are you using filtered water or tap with conditioner? Aquarium salt according to directions on box? Do you have live plants? With yr phosphates and nitrites elevated you may be overfeeding a bit. A fishes stomach is only the size of their eyeball. One tiny pellet for a Betta will be adequate and will help reduce the algae bloom as well. I also fast my fish every Sunday and they are healthy and beautifully colored. Their immune system comes from the gut and overfeeding harms their entire immune system. It looks like you are almost through your new tank cycle. Keep doing your water changes daily until Nitrites consistently are at zero. His fins looked frayed and not really fungused to me. This is probably from ammonia/nitrites or the filter flow is too strong, or too rough with water changes possibly? Read, read, read on Bettas and newbie basics. Amazon has very affordable UV sterilizers inside filters (9watt) that really help with algae control (about $30). Just make sure your flow is really low in his tank. They live in puddles and still water in nature and cannot handle rapid flow. Kudos for testing your water...keep at it and keep us updated!

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Thank you for your response. I feed 3 pellets per day, which is what the store recommended. I will reduce it. I use tap water with Prime. I don't use aquarium salt. Should I? I have some live plants. I had the filter set to the liwest and also cut holes in my filter tube to reduce the flow. However, before my trip i slughtly increased the flow because I read it could help with the algae issue. Maybe I should reduce it again. I know nothing of UV sterilizers so I will start reading. Cost isn't an issue. I just want the fish happy.
Do you think i should treat with Erythromycin or bettafix?
To me it looks like yes he has fin rot, the black at the ends kinda seals the deal on that thought for me. I could be wrong.

Betta fix has worked for me in the past, I've only had one go round with fin rot since I was a kid so there may be better options.

Just remember if you do medicate to remove any charcoal from the filter so the treatments will not be removed from the tank.

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So fishy's fins are worse today, despite adding a double dose of stressguard and adding aquarium salt to the tank. I went to my LFS this morning and they recommended bettafix or erythromycin. The bettafix was an attractive option because it won't afftect my biofilter (the tank is so close to being cycled). I bought both but decided to proceed with erythromycin, treating outside of the tank in my wife's Swarovski crystal vase (shes not home yet!). I know this is a bit extreme but we're going on vacation in 3 weeks (for 9 days) and the fish will not survive if the tank isn't cycled. Dosing erythromycin for a .5 gallon 'tank' was interesting to say the least.

Fingers crossed for fishy.
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I was nervous about the bettafix because it contains tea tree oil and I've read it can damage the lungs(?) of the betta due to it staying on the surface of the water.
He has fin rot.

You can get a food safe container as a hospital tank. You can use it with a heater and a thermometer. I only have experience with API Fungus Cure. The treatment was a 4 day course, so I did a 100% water change when I had to add another dose on day 3.

UV sterilizer only helps to remove green water which you don't have.
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Update -- fishy's fins look the same today. They had been getting worse each day for the past 4 days so I was happy to wake up and see he hasn't deteriorated further. i'm on day 2 of the erythromycin treatment. The medication is meant to be used in a tank and there were no instructions provided for use in a small QT tank where water changes are necessary. For example, on day 2 the instructions tell you to add another dose. Since fishy's ammonia was high (0.25-0.5) I did a 75% water change. I added the new dose, but it wasn't clear if I should 'replace' the dose that I removed with the water change. In other words, should the medication be getting stronger each day, or does it breakdown and you're simply 'toppin it up' so to speak. I added the regular dose, but I'm not sure if I should have added more.
I've never used the erythromycin. When I used API Fungus Cure, the instruction said I had to add another dose. This means the total amount of medicine in the tank was doubled. I assume the total amount in the tank should be more than the original with the erythromycin treatment. But again, I've never tried the erythromycin. Any medicine can be meaningless or poison if given wrong amount. You should contact API customer service to make sure.

My betta was in 2.5 gallon hospital tank. I did 100% water change before adding another dose because of the water quality. I didn't test water but ammonia should have been there without the filter. Bad water quality is usually the cause of fin rot. Water parameters should be kept Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20 or lower. My betta still got mild fin rot although the parameters were good.

By the way, 78 - 80F is the best for betta.

Update -- Here's what's left of his fins after 4 days of the antiobiotic treatment. He is now out of the hospital and back in his home. The bottom fin started fraying after he moved back to his home (stress?) and now appears to have split :( I am now treating nightly with paraguard in the tank as it shouldn't have a negative impact on the biological filter.
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