Betta Fish Fin Rot And Healing

Discussion in 'More Freshwater Aquarium Topics' started by DrScorpiwi, Apr 9, 2017.

  1. DrScorpiwiNew MemberMember

    Hello everyone, here is my story:

    I have a betta fish, named Louis, since 4 month ago.(don't know his exact age but I assume that he is adult since he's not grow any larger) At beginning, I house him into a glass bowl that hold about 2 gallons water, no heating, no filter,no light, just a plain bowl, with some substrate and fake plants decoration. I did this because I did some research and people saying betta will do fine in just a bowl.(Now I know this is not correct since betta do need a filter and heater.) In fact, Louis did Very good when he stay in that bowl. He swims around, eat like a little pig, (I don't over feed fish), and the color on his tail is AMAZING. I guess the reason is that I always keep my room temperature to 80F and do the 50% water change twice a week.

    The true story starts here: 1 month ago, I realize that I should give him a more comfortable house and I rehouse him into a 10 gallon tank. Here is the picture that taken on the first day he got to his new place:


    The tank was running for like 3 month and fully cycled. No tank mates, with a heater, filter and LED light that good for a 10 gallon tank. I stick on my PWC schedule ( 25-30% a week) on that tank and always use dechlorinated water, and add bacterial supplements on each water change. (At this point, I assume that I have done everything correct). BUT, things are changed: His color become pale during this month and the tail start showing red dot, recently, his tail is even ripped off. He is not happy as before, he is not swimming around and sometimes he will spit out the food. He just keeps stay at bottom. Here is the picture that taken today:


    I realized he may be sick, here is my question:

    1. why he get sick when the environment is getting better? and why he was fine when the environment seems not good?
    2. how can I cure him? now I have a quarantine tank, (2.5 gallon and every basic equipment for it). aquarium salt, pimafix. I am hesitate to buy any antibiotic medication since it may harm the fish.

    Please, any responds will be appreciated. I love him so much and don't want lose him. THANKS!
  2. BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    Do youo have a test kit? If so what is the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate?

    Do you have a picture of the tank?

    To cure him you need really clean water but we need to find the cause of the problem first.
  3. _S_New MemberMember

    I believe it's pinhole fin rot cause theres no clamping of the ends and it seems to shaped in a loop. I believe it started as fin loss and evolved to become fin rot . I think Louis has something stress induced. Sometimes when you move bettas to new environments you have to do certain things to prevent them from becoming stressed. It sort of like if people kept picking you up and changing your environment. You'd be stressed too but they could do things to make the move more comfortable for you, so same for bettas. I am gonna begin with a couple of questions.
    1) How is the current of you filter? Is it strong, what type of filter do you have?
    2) If there are   specify the material (eg live, plastic, silk)
    3) Do you test your water every couple of days? What are the reading currently?
    4) Before you put him in the new tank did you acclimate him?
    As for the red spots I am sure it is hemorrhagic spots. Usually this is brought by a fish who infected the tank with a deadly virus called Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV or VHSv). But it can also be caused by fin rot that has been untreated. It seems that Louis has sensitive fins and because the fin rot was untreated he developed this. The pale colour has to be from a build up of toxins.
  4. DrScorpiwiNew MemberMember

    Yes I have a API test kit. I test my water twice a week. Since the tank is fully cycled, the ammonia and nitrite always reads 0. And since I change water weekly and there is only one betta in a 10 gallon tank, the nitrate is almost 0, I can't read exactly how much is it because it only shows a little bit more difference than 0 and far from the next read color. I believe my water parameter is OK.

    The picture of the tank now:

    I divided the tank and the right side is a female betta.
  5. BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    Could those fake plants be ripping his fins? They ook a little sharp. Bettas need very soft decorations that can't harm their fins. Silk fake plants or live plants are best.
  6. DrScorpiwiNew MemberMember

    Hello S, firstly, thanks for your respond!

    Here is my answer:
    1. At the beginning, the filter is a Marina hang on back power filter for a 10 gallon tank. The current is okay but I feel sometime Louis still get flush away...

    Based on what you said, I think I forgot a very important thing: before Louis moved in, the 10 gallon tank was a tropical community tank and 4 fishes DIED in it. I did a fully cleaning before house Louis into the tank but I did not change the filter media, I just rinse that filter media with the old tank water in order to not losing any beneficial bacteria. For all the substrates and decoration I cooked then in a pot and fully wash the tank (no use of any detergent). Now I just switch to a brand new API internal filter like this:

    So I guess the virus you are talking about may comes from the dead fish and stay in the old filter media and spread to Louis?

    2. You can see the pictures above. That's all the decoration in it. They are all plastic fake plants.

    3. I test my water twice a day and the current reading is:
    Ph: 6.6
    Ammonia: 0
    Nitrite: p
    Nitrate: almost 0

    In addition, I really has some problem to raise the ph in that tank. I have a 55 gallons community tank and the ph there is always stable at 7.0. (My tap water reads about 6.4)

    4. Yes I acclimate him. I put him in a bag of old water and let the bag float on the new water, when the bag sink he just swim out of that bag.

    Thanks for your responds!

    I'm thinking of that too. The plants there is indeed a bit sharp. If this is the case I will just throw them away.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 9, 2017
  7. AllieStenFishlore VIPMember

    I agree that it could be the plants. Try switching to silk. They are easier on those delicate fins.

    The pH issue could be a water hardness issue. If your tap water is too "soft" (doesn't have enough minerals) it can cause the pH to drop without warning. You can get a gh/kH testing kit to see if yours is low (soft). You can add some crushed coral to your filter/tank and it will raise the pH. I wouldn't necessarily do that until you properly diagnose the cause of the pH drop. But that is the most common reason it happens. It can affect your nitrogen cycle if your pH crashes suddenly. So this is worth spending some time on.

    The best way to help heal fin rot is daily water changes. This will keep his water absolutely pristine. I do know that some recommend methylene blue for fin rot. I have no experience with that. @BeanFish might be able to give some advice.

    Hope things turn around for you.
  8. _S_New MemberMember

    I am sure that this is just a case of stress causing fin rot because you betta has lot's of the symptoms of stress.
    -Dull coloration or gray color
    – Sluggishness or Lethargy
    – Loss of appetite, disinterest in food
    I would also check if he has anything else like a bloated stomach or protuding eyes because it may become another disease.
    I think this is happening because of these reasons
    1) Your plants are way to sharp so your betta probably ripped one but it didn't heal because of the water condition ( which I will talk about shortly). I would replace the plants asap with either silk or live ones. Personally I would use live one because they also have some beneficial attributes and are worth it in the long run.
    2) You tank looks like it wasn't fully cycled. That's the most probable reason he is stress. The ideal parameters are as follows.
    Ph: 7 (neutral)
    Ammonia: 0ppm
    Nitrite: 0ppm
    Nitrate: under 30-40ppm is acceptable, under 20ppm is preferred.
    Your ph is almost there but just a little bit short. The ammonia and nitrite are good but the nitrates are wayyyyy off. They shouldn't be zero. I think you put Louis in too soon before the tank was cycled and these parameters had fluctuations that caused him to be stressed. The stress in turn lead to disease. Now i'm gonna talk about the filter and how it lead to this as well.
    3) When you were cycling you should have removed, cleaned and disinfected the filter then replaced the media. Cycling was supposed to be done with new media and a heated environment either fishless or non-fishless so that the cycle would be established on the filter/media but if you already had bacteria on the filter the cycle wasn't going to be established completely or properly. This lead to your tank not being fully cycled. The heater was supposed to promote the growth of new and good bacteria but instead it probably promoted the growth of the past, bad and deadly bacteria that lead the viruses being spread. The bacteria never got a chance to be created because it didn't have a clean slate/surface to be created upon.
    4) The filter was for sure too strong. HOB (hang on back) filters produce to much currents for bettas. Bettas like very stagnant water because of where the come from. The filter was probably also making the betta stressed an throwing it around making it loose it's fins. See if the internal filter is strong, to me it seems like it. Check if there's a nozzle where you can reduce the output. I would say sponge filters are the best and the most recommended for bettas but if you cant change it try to create a baffle with plants or reduce the flow.
    From here what I would do is quarantine the fish and treat them with medicine (melafix) but be careful when using. Lois's fin rot seems quite bad so that is why I would use medication but however you could try to give Louis an API Stress Coat and maybe even an epsom salt bath. If that doesn't work I would opt to using medication.
    While the fish quarantine I would re-cycle and re-establish the tank properly then I would acclimate and put the fish back making sure the water parameters are absolutely ideal. Hope I could help.
  9. AngelTheGypsyFishlore VIPMember

    Don't try to mess with your pH. Your fish can adjust to it, and probably already have. A stable pH is more important than a magic number.

    Also, don't use melafix on bettas. It has an ingredient that can harm their labyrinth organ they use to breathe air.

    His fin problems are probably coming from stress due to an uncycled tank, too much flow from the filter, and/or the other betta. If he can see her through the divider, it could cause him stress. How long ago did you add the female?

    I would advise to get a bottled bacteria supplement, such as tetra safe start, seachem stability, or Dr Tims One & Only and add it to the tank according to the directions on the bottle. Each is a little different.

    I also advise to see if you can reduce the flow from the filter. I have similar filters in my betta tanks, and I point the water outlet towards a corner. You could also place something in front of the outlet to redirect the flow, preferably into several directions. Sponge filters are good if you can stand the noise.

    I also suggest doing something to make the other betta harder to see through the divider. Possibly some large plants.

    And I agree about finding more suitable plants for decorations, as others have said above.

    Do daily or every other day water changes to help with his fins. I suggest 50%. I would do this after you cycle the tank, depending on the product you choose. If after a week or two in very clean water, his fins aren't improving, try a medication with antibacterial properties. When that time comes, we can help you choose the right one.