10 Gallon Tank Betta Biting His Fins?

melissaashleigh

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I’ve had my betta for about two years, around 6 months in I got him a “friend” a bristlenose pleco, him and the pleco were cool for 6 months when one night I caught them fighting. The pleco literally attacked the betta while he was asleep on an almond leaf and I was shocked, the betta immediately bit back and the pleco swam off. They shared a 20 gallon. In the meantime of getting a new tank I started noticing the betta spending a lot of time in the corners flexing on himself during the day when one day I noticed sizable chucks out of his fins. I assumed maybe it was damage from the pleco but I’m wondering if he started biting his own fins from the stress of the pleco.

Well I started up the ten gallon got it all cycled and transferred the betta ASAP and his fins healed all up and now it’s happening again. He’s finding the corners of the tank and biting his own fins! How do I get him to stop?! The tank is in probably the quietest spot in the house, the waters as dark as tea from mopanI wood and Indian almond leafs and he still does it! I’m wondering if it’s some other infection but the top fin is NEVER affected, it’s only ever the bottom ones that are reachable so I think it’s him but I’m concerned I’m missing something, and also just want him to STOP. Help please!

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The 3rd photo was taken before the 4th photo and you can see it regrows a bit where all the white new growth is but it’s just like everyday a little chunk is out. I really can’t tell if it’s him or some other underlying infection. Tank parameters are ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 5.
 

CheshireKat

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Otocinclus aren't pleco, they're catfish. What are you feeding it? Can you post a picture of it as well? I don't know if they can do damage.

Have you tried taking out the otocinclus for a week or more and seeing if your betta continues its behavior? Maybe there's something in that tank stressing it out, whether the oto or something else, maybe its own reflection.

Edit: oh, I see the oto in the photo. Uh. I could be wrong, and maybe it's just it's belly, but it doesn't look like an oto to me. That looks like some type of pleco.
I'm a little confused, is the betta in the 10 gallon or 20 gallon with the oto/pleco right now?
Have you actually seen him biting his tail?
 

Repolie

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It doesn't look like he's fin biting. Fin biting would result in missing bite-like chunks of fin, but the fin rays are intact. It looks more like he's ripping or tearing the edges of his fins.
 
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melissaashleigh

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CheshireKat said:
Otocinclus aren't pleco, they're catfish. What are you feeding it? Can you post a picture of it as well? I don't know if they can do damage.

Have you tried taking out the otocinclus for a week or more and seeing if your betta continues its behavior? Maybe there's something in that tank stressing it out, whether the oto or something else, maybe its own reflection.

Edit: oh, I see the oto in the photo. Uh. I could be wrong, and maybe it's just it's belly, but it doesn't look like an oto to me. That looks like some type of pleco.
I'm a little confused, is the betta in the 10 gallon or 20 gallon with the oto/pleco right now?
Have you actually seen him biting his tail?
Blah sorry my brain is fryed I’ve been working non-stop for two weeks....it’s a bristle-nose pleco. They lived together for 6 months but were separated after I watched the pleco attack the betta at night while he was sleeping, it was shocking to me as well I never thought the pleco would be the aggressor in the situation, in the daytime I’d never seen him do anything even kind of aggressive.

Now the bettas in his own separate tankmate-free 10 gallon and the 20 gallon became a community tank with tetras and the pleco. The betta is still biting(I’m assuming) his fins and I’m not sure how to stop it. I think it could be a reflection issue but I’ve covered the side of the tank so I’m not sure what else I could really do.
 

hanra85

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I doubt the betta is biting it's own tail, I've never seen one do this yet and I'm not sure if they physically can. The pleco, which clearly isn't an oto, might be chasing or spooking the betta, their fins can get snagged and will tear easily, have these problems with my angelfish fins every now and then... if water quality is fine that's what I'd suspect anyway.
CheshireKat said:
Otocinclus aren't pleco, they're catfish.
This is true, as well as plecos aren't otocinclus, but they're also catfish. Aha, but yeah it's definitely not an oto, maybe a juvI bristlenose or standard pleco...

melissaashleigh said:
Blah sorry my brain is fryed I’ve been working non-stop for two weeks....it’s a bristle-nose pleco. They lived together for 6 months but were separated after I watched the pleco attack the betta at night while he was sleeping, it was shocking to me as well I never thought the pleco would be the aggressor in the situation, in the daytime I’d never seen him do anything even kind of aggressive.

Now the bettas in his own separate tankmate-free 10 gallon and the 20 gallon became a community tank with tetras and the pleco. The betta is still biting(I’m assuming) his fins and I’m not sure how to stop it. I think it could be a reflection issue but I’ve covered the side of the tank so I’m not sure what else I could really do.
Bristlenose (as well as probably most plecos?) are mainly nocturnal, so if they're gonna do anything sinister it's usually while you're sleeping. I'd do some extra water changes to promote healing and maybe if he is self inflicting damage to his fins some how, maybe the water changes will help reduce whatever is causing him to do it, whether it's biting or flashing against stuff...
 

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hanra85 said:
I doubt the betta is biting it's own tail, I've never seen one do this yet and I'm not sure if they physically can
I've never seen it myself in all my betta keeping years, but I've read about and people have had fish that do it. With their long tails and fins, I don't see why they couldn't.

Is there any plastic, rocks, or hard surfaces in the tank?
 
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melissaashleigh

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hanra85 said:
I doubt the betta is biting it's own tail, I've never seen one do this yet and I'm not sure if they physically can. The pleco, which clearly isn't an oto, might be chasing or spooking the betta, their fins can get snagged and will tear easily, have these problems with my angelfish fins every now and then... if water quality is fine that's what I'd suspect anyway.

This is true, as well as plecos aren't otocinclus, but they're also catfish. Aha, but yeah it's definitely not an oto, maybe a juvI bristlenose or standard pleco...
Well they’ve been removed for over two weeks and after initially moving the bettas fins healed up, but now they’re damaged again. I haven’t caught him in the new tank but definitely when he and the pleco were together one time I caught him bite his own fin and a little chunk tear off and float up to the surface. He’s had fin rot nearly a year ago when I first saved him, and this just looks so much different than the deterioration from that.

CheshireKat said:
I've never seen it myself in all my betta keeping years, but I've read about and people have had fish that do it. With their long tails and fins, I don't see why they couldn't.

Is there any plastic, rocks, or hard surfaces in the tank?
If I hadn’t seen him do it myself in the 20 gallon I wouldn’t suspect him now, but it’s almost like the stress of living with the pleco made him do it and now even though they’re separated he realizes he can and does it all the time. I’m not quite sure. He could damage his fins on the mopanI wood I suppose but the only other thing in the tank that could scratch him would be some river rock, but that’s had Christmas tree moss growing on it for sometime and is pretty soft to the touch imo. Both of these objects have also been in his tank since I got him so it would be weird to me that it’s suddenly the issue. But not impossible I supposed. It would be a pretty empty tank if I couldn’t add the wood, it goes accords the entire tank
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Can I treat him with something? We used melafix in the past when he had fin rot but it was pretty severe now it’s hardly as bad but as clean as the water is, it seems like it’s not really getting any better.
 

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melissaashleigh said:
Can I treat him with something? We used melafix in the past when he had fin rot but it was pretty severe now it’s hardly as bad but as clean as the water is, it seems like it’s not really getting any better.
You could, I'm pretty sure there's no medicine and is only natural stuff that won't harm anything. I think the fins are slow growing though. I'd imagine tissue and stuff would need to be regenerated, and that can't be quick. I have a female betta who has a chunk of tail missing after the other female got past the divider, and it's been a week with no sign of change. I've just been watching to make sure it doesn't rot or infect.
 
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melissaashleigh

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CheshireKat said:
You could, I'm pretty sure there's no medicine and is only natural stuff that won't harm anything. I think the fins are slow growing though. I'd imagine tissue and stuff would need to be regenerated, and that can't be quick. I have a female betta who has a chunk of tail missing after the other female got past the divider, and it's been a week with no sign of change. I've just been watching to make sure it doesn't rot or infect.
I’m mostly worried if he’s hurting. Like I’d be fine to leave it but if the melafix soothes him and made the tears feel better, I’d want to do that for him as well. If it’s only for my aesthetic pleasure I don’t care.
 
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melissaashleigh

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CheshireKat said:
Is that an Indian Almond Leaf in the tank? I think the tannins from the leaves would be good enough to help him.
Yea it is,there’s actually two in his tank. it honestly just seems like it’s not getting better and that’s why I’m concerned. Like there’s days when it seems like it is and then the next day it’ll be messed up again. It’s driving me crazy.
 

CheshireKat

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I can imagine. If it seems like I it's getting better and then is messed up again within day or otherwise very short amount of time, then it's probably him doing it and not a disease or infection. There must be something psychological going on with him.
According to this
The reasons Bettas bite their own fins are unknown. Some say it’s stress, others say boredom and still others think it could be hunger, pent up aggression or even hereditary. The truth is, we just don’t know. Some contributing factors to tail biting include although are not limited to:

The Betta being in a stressful situation. This happens regularly when Betta fish are shipped in dark containers for long periods of time.
Boredom is believed to be a contributing factor.
Heredity factors have thought to have some connection to tail biting.
You've already removed/separated him from the pleco in case that was stressing him out. Is is it possible he's now stressed from not being with the pleco? I don't think that's the case because you said he got better the first time you removed him, right? And started again when you put him back? And now he's doing it all the time.

You can attempt to stop your Betta from injuring themselves by completing the following:
  1. Continue to keep your aquarium water clean to avoid infection. It is now extremely vital that your Betta has a wound that the tank water is
  2. pristine.
  3. Change the decor in the aquarium. Hard decor can get easily caught on your Betta fish. Try adding silk or soft live plants instead.
  4. Attempt to move the tank to a new location.
  5. Decrease the lighting. Lighting in the tank can be related to Betta aggression.
  6. Keep your Betta occupied by adding a ‘Tankmate‘ (ensure you have a large enough aquarium).
  7. Add Pimafix, Bettafix or half strength Melafix to the tank to help regenerate fin growth. If your betta reacts to the medication negatively, discontinue use.
Maybe add more hiding places? Have you tried moving the decor around? Adding more plants?

lists similar things: stress, boredom, pent up aggression, hereditary.
 
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melissaashleigh

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CheshireKat said:
I can imagine. If it seems like I it's getting better and then is messed up again within day or otherwise very short amount of time, then it's probably him doing it and not a disease or infection. There must be something psychological going on with him.
According to this


You've already removed/separated him from the pleco in case that was stressing him out. Is is it possible he's now stressed from not being with the pleco? I don't think that's the case because you said he got better the first time you removed him, right? And started again when you put him back? And now he's doing it all the time.



Maybe add more hiding places? Have you tried moving the decor around? Adding more plants?

lists similar things: stress, boredom, pent up aggression, hereditary.
I mean anything’s possible I suppose, he still has a nerite snail with him, they’ve been together since day one so it feels right that they stay together, the bettas never showed any aggression toward him. He’s got a hiding hole and since I took cuttings from my other tank the only big plant is the Anubis. The rest are just getting going but he’s right now just hanging out on his almond leaf making a bubble nest I just don’t get it. The only thing I can think of is lighting, the tank gets natural light from probably 6am-5pm and the in tank light from 11am-8pm. It could be too much I guess I’ve never thought of it because there’s no algae though maybe a bit on one plant but it had that issue prior.
 

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