Betta fish, fin rot or tear?

Chippenstein

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A few days ago my guy started being a little quiet, right after I gave him his first live plant. Since then, he's been about the same - lazy, but will eat and interact. He just likes to go to the bottom and put his front find out and sit. I noticed that he is missing his top fin very suddenly and he has a ton of holes in his fins. I presume he tore it, as it happened overnight and he did have some plastic plants in there (hence my switching to live plants, as well as due to a severe algae bloom in his tank). Parameters are perfect save for high pH. I did do a full water change after he started acting funny and after I added the first plant to see if I could get rid of the algae bloom. His cycle did not crash, and all is where it should be in the water test. What's going on? Is he stressed from the new plants? is the torn fin making him tired from swimming? Is it something else? He's in a 5.5 gallon cycled, by himself, 80 degrees.
 

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Chippenstein

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Wanted to update: I think it's rot. I was able to get a better look and he has a lot of sudden holes and tearing and a small fuzzy spot on his front fin. I started him on erythromycin. Is the labored breathing normal with this kind of issue? I've never had a fish with fin rot before!
 

Momgoose56

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Chippenstein said:
Wanted to update: I think it's rot. I was able to get a better look and he has a lot of sudden holes and tearing and a small fuzzy spot on his front fin. I started him on erythromycin. Is the labored breathing normal with this kind of issue? I've never had a fish with fin rot before!
It looks like fin rot to me too. Erythromycin will help if it's bacterial. You know, when you have a problem like this, posting your actual water parameters, rather than just saying "Parameters are perfect save for high pH" and "all is where it should be in the water test" is not helpful to us. We don't know how much you know. We don't know if you did those tests yourself or were told your water was "perfect" by some employee of your lfs who knows very little about fish and tank parameters. Fin rot doesn't happen overnight, it is a progressive condition-and harder to detect early on dark colored long finned fish.
I infer from your previous threads, that you've just set up that tank in the last few weeks. We need the actual pH and other parameters and information about the tank maintenance and fish history to really give you any informed advice. Right now, clean water and erythromycin are probably the best, first approach.
 
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Chippenstein

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Apologies, I should have considered that. The tank was cycled with appropriate medium. Ammonia and nitrites are 0, nitrates around 5, pH a high 8.6.

I do a 15 percent change weekly with Prime to condition the water. Temperature is 80 degrees. Tank is 5.5 gallons. Parameters have been stable the entire time he has been in the tank, with the only issue being an intense algae bloom which I mentioned. It is possible that he had rot I didn't see - I've not had a fish with fin rot before, and I just got him a little over a month ago after he was in a cup at PetSmart for 4 months. He was emaciated, dull, torn, and had a deformed spine. He improved drastically, but the first sign of an issue was the labored breathing a few days ago that I couldn't pinpoint but assumed possibly stress from me adding the plants to the tank. I dewormed him when I first got him. If you have any additional thoughts, please feel free to throw them in. I certainly am feeling like a bad fish mom today!

Momgoose56 said:
It looks like fin rot to me too. Erythromycin will help if it's bacterial. You know, when you have a problem like this, posting your actual water parameters, rather than just saying "Parameters are perfect save for high pH" and "all is where it should be in the water test" is not helpful to us. We don't know how much you know. We don't know if you did those tests yourself or were told your water was "perfect" by some employee of your lfs who knows very little about fish and tank parameters. Fin rot doesn't happen overnight, it is a progressive condition-and harder to detect early on dark colored long finned fish.
I infer from your previous threads, that you've just set up that tank in the last few weeks. We need the actual pH and other parameters and information about the tank maintenance and fish history to really give you any informed advice. Right now, clean water and erythromycin are probably the best, first approach.
 
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Chippenstein

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So we are on day four of the course of meds (two days of treatment, a large water change the third day, and today starting the second round). He is more active but his fins look worse. Is this something that looks worse before it gets better? Is this the wrong course of treatment?
 

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Momgoose56

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What test kit are you using?
When did you set up the tank?
How did you cycle it?
How long has the betta been in the tank?
What are your parameters today? Be sure to follow test instructions exactly. If you're using the API Master test kit, pay close attention to how to do the nitrate test-it is different than the others.
 

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Momgoose56 said:
\. Right now, clean water and erythromycin are probably the best, first approach.
I agree with you but I think maybe just clean water would be OK for now, and if it doesn't help, then we can start suspecting bacterial. No need to treat is there is nothing to treat.
 

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FinalFins said:
I agree with you but I think maybe just clean water would be OK for now, and if it doesn't help, then we can start suspecting bacterial. No need to treat is there is nothing to treat.
Look at the fish.
 

FinalFins

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Sure. Although I have not done baths myself I have some knowledge on it.

Kordon's dosage says 5 tsp for 3 gal of water for a dip, but baths are longer and less concentrated than dips so I would do 1.5-2 tsp for 3 gal for 15 min, go 30 min if the fish is not stressed or struggling. To directly apply net the fish, wrap the net around the fish so it can't get out, but it can't struggle. Take a q tip, dip it in the MB and apply to the area where the rot is happening.
 
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Chippenstein

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Momgoose56 said:
What test kit are you using?
When did you set up the tank?
How did you cycle it?
How long has the betta been in the tank?
What are your parameters today? Be sure to follow test instructions exactly. If you're using the API Master test kit, pay close attention to how to do the nitrate test-it is different than the others.
I use the API Master Kit. I am aware of the requirements for the kit. Right at this moment, I have a pH of around 8.2, nitrates of around 2.5, nitrites of 0, and ammonia looks to be very slightly above 0 (it unfortunately comes out of my faucet at this level).
I set the tank up August 13th - the same day I got him. He was an impulse save after my last very old man passed away. I cycled the tank with medium from an already established tank and monitored closely, but the medium cycled the tank successfully. He has been in the tank since 8/13. As I said, when I got him, he was in a disgusting cup on clearance after having been at the store for 3-4 months. He was emaciated, with torn fins and a curved spine. He filled out well, but this issue popped up.
It is not that I am wondering if the erythromycin will work - it's that despite being on a course now, the fin splitting is looking worse. Today is his last dose of the course. I couldn't try the frequent water change technique while using this treatment, because he needs to stay in the water with the treatments for 2 days per round (two doses, do a change, two more doses).

He is looking better activity wise - he cruises around with interaction, which he wasn't doing for a day or two, but he is still having some labored breathing.
 

Momgoose56

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Chippenstein said:
I use the API Master Kit. I am aware of the requirements for the kit. Right at this moment, I have a pH of around 8.2, nitrates of around 2.5, nitrites of 0, and ammonia looks to be very slightly above 0 (it unfortunately comes out of my faucet at this level).
I set the tank up August 13th - the same day I got him. He was an impulse save after my last very old man passed away. I cycled the tank with medium from an already established tank and monitored closely, but the medium cycled the tank successfully. He has been in the tank since 8/13. As I said, when I got him, he was in a disgusting cup on clearance after having been at the store for 3-4 months. He was emaciated, with torn fins and a curved spine. He filled out well, but this issue popped up.
It is not that I am wondering if the erythromycin will work - it's that despite being on a course now, the fin splitting is looking worse. Today is his last dose of the course. I couldn't try the frequent water change technique while using this treatment, because he needs to stay in the water with the treatments for 2 days per round (two doses, do a change, two more doses).

He is looking better activity wise - he cruises around with interaction, which he wasn't doing for a day or two, but he is still having some labored breathing.
Okay good. Just wanted to make sure. A lot of people, new to the hobby don't realize the nitrate test is different and nitrates can creep up, if water changes are small, fish are over fed etc. and if the test isn't done exactly as directed, they'll get low nitrate readings when their nitrates are actually off the chart (180+)! You might try the methylene blue bath FinalFins suggested just to give any bacteria that might still be hanging on, one last 'kick in the pants' lol! It does take a long time for fins to heal and if the fins were already dead in some areas, that tissue will have to slough off before new tissue will grow in its place. That may be the 'looking worse' issue. If he's acting better that is a good sign that maybe the bacteria is under control. The only other thing I can suggest now is to keep up the good water changes and give it some time.
 
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Chippenstein

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Momgoose56 said:
Okay good. Just wanted to make sure. A lot of people, new to the hobby don't realize the nitrate test is different and nitrates can creep up, if water changes are small, fish are over fed etc. and if the test isn't done exactly as directed, they'll get low nitrate readings when their nitrates are actually off the chart (180+)! You might try the methylene blue bath FinalFins suggested just to give any bacteria that might still be hanging on, one last 'kick in the pants' lol! It does take a long time for fins to heal and if the fins were already dead in some areas, that tissue will have to slough off before new tissue will grow in its place. That may be the 'looking worse' issue. If he's acting better that is a good sign that maybe the bacteria is under control. The only other thing I can suggest now is to keep up the good water changes and give it some time.
That answers my question! So the progression despite treatment could be normal. I almost wonder if the labored breathing is from being tired swimming when he's missing some fins/is torn up.

After this course if over, how long should I wait before trying another medication if it persists? I would probably try jungle fungus cure/fizz next time, as I had great results with it for a fungal condition in another betta in the past; I just don't want to overmedicate.
 

Momgoose56

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Chippenstein said:
He's looking like this today. Is this fin regrowth or continued rot? And what's up with the discoloration at the base of the lost fin - is that progressing into body rot?
Sorry, your post got lost in my shuffle this morning. That dark area under the dorsal fin doesn't look good. Try the MB dips as suggested by FinalFins.
 
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Chippenstein

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Momgoose56 said:
Sorry, your post got lost in my shuffle this morning. That dark area under the dorsal fin doesn't look good. Try the MB dips as suggested by FinalFins.
No worries. Someone is recommending that I give Kanaplex. Should I do that? It would take a few days to get to me. I have Jungle Fungus Clear on hand and have heard that can work as well.

I've been beyond stressed about this guy today. :(
 

Momgoose56

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Chippenstein said:
No worries. Someone is recommending that I give Kanaplex. Should I do that? It would take a few days to get to me. I have Jungle Fungus Clear on hand and have heard that can work as well.

I've been beyond stressed about this guy today. :(
You don't have a fish/aquarium store nearby with kanaplex? I honestly don't think that's a fungal infection. You'd probably be better off just taking the fish out and dabbing the fin and skin around it with peroxide once a day. You can try the fungus stuff though. Who knows? It might help.
 
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Chippenstein

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Momgoose56 said:
You don't have a fish/aquarium store nearby with kanaplex? I honestly don't think that's a fungal infection. You'd probably be better off just taking the fish out and dabbing the fin and skin around it with peroxide once a day. You can try the fungus stuff though. Who knows? It might help.
Petstores yes, but none carry Kanaplex. My thought about the jungle fungus clear is that it is antibacterial and antifungal and covers gram positive (and some negative) bacteria - if the erythro didn't work and that covers negative bacteria, maybe the issue is gram positive?

I'll start him on it tomorrow. Hopefully it helps. He's perked up a lot since I started the first treatment so hopefully he just needs a little extra oomph. The top fin looks an awful lot to me like some regrowth, but maybe that's wishful thinking. I just did a dip and he angrily flared at me several times after so he is in good spirits. Time will tell - I have seen much worse off fish come back.

Thank you for your patience and support. Lenny is a really special dude.
 

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Chippenstein said:
Petstores yes, but none carry Kanaplex. My thought about the jungle fungus clear is that it is antibacterial and antifungal and covers gram positive (and some negative) bacteria - if the erythro didn't work and that covers negative bacteria, maybe the issue is gram positive?

I'll start him on it tomorrow. Hopefully it helps. He's perked up a lot since I started the first treatment so hopefully he just needs a little extra oomph. The top fin looks an awful lot to me like some regrowth, but maybe that's wishful thinking. I just did a dip and he angrily flared at me several times after so he is in good spirits. Time will tell - I have seen much worse off fish come back.

Thank you for your patience and support. Lenny is a really special dude.
Aaah! I think it might be a good med to try then! I don't know that med and assumed (red face) that it was purely antifungal. But you are absolutely right. Keep in touch-I really hope it works! I'm glad he feels good enough to swear...uh, I mean flair, at you lol!
 

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Another natural medicine common to Bettas in the wild are tannins, you might want to try adding some Indian Almond leaves. What type of conditioner are you using? Perhaps Stress Coat + would be good in this instance?

I also swear by this product: Amazon.com : Brightwell Aquatics Fish Recover Freshwater Natural Herbal Medication for Open Sores, 125ml : Pet Supplies
 
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Chippenstein

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LHanna61 said:
Another natural medicine common to Bettas in the wild are tannins, you might want to try adding some Indian Almond leaves. What type of conditioner are you using? Perhaps Stress Coat + would be good in this instance?

I also swear by this product: Amazon.com : Brightwell Aquatics Fish Recover Freshwater Natural Herbal Medication for Open Sores, 125ml : Pet Supplies
Thanks - I have IAL in his tank already, and have been using Stresscoat in addition to his regular Prime at every change. :)
 
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Chippenstein

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HI all, just wanted to share how Lenny is. I think we have improvement. I did two rounds of Jungle Fungus Clear and he has fin regrowth starting. it's strange but the black patch on his back appears to have just been random color change, maybe from the irritation of losing the top fin. At any rate, he is happy and looking forward to getting back into his house in the next few days.

What is the best way to clean his tank out before he goes in? Anything specific?
 

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Chippenstein

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SAM321 said:
Try this med. Whatnis betta age, if more than 30 months than it is difficult to recover
Bettafix is arguably unsafe for bettas, but he is already recovering so I'm not looking to treat him more.
I don't know his age. I got him as an adult two months ago and he had been at the store for 4 months, so I'd say likely a year or so.
 
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Momgoose56 said:
Aaah! I think it might be a good med to try then! I don't know that med and assumed (red face) that it was purely antifungal. But you are absolutely right. Keep in touch-I really hope it works! I'm glad he feels good enough to swear...uh, I mean flair, at you lol!
I'm looking to pick your brain a bit! My boy did really well with his treatments - he started to get new growth back and his entire top fin is returning nicely. He also has good growth at the top area of his larger back fin. However, since he went back into his 5.5 gallon tank, I'm noticing that he's got some pretty big losses in the bottom areas of his fins. He still has beautiful new growth coming in in some areas, but has loss in others. What's the deal? Can finrot heal in some places and not others? Is this a situation where the already damaged or diseased tissue is going to be lost before new tissue comes in? I had considered maybe he is fin nipping also, but I haven't seen him doing it.
 

girlwithmanyeyes

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I too got my betta in August 2019. I had some pretty persistent finrot (dispite daily water changes) on my guy that came with him from the fish store. I was able to successfully eradicate it with Jungle Fungus Clear and Kanaplex combo.

However, the use of the meds trashed my newly cycled tank bacteria forcing me to turn to Tetra Safe Start for a fish-in cycle. Are you sure your parameters are still good- since your tank is newly cycled (a mature tank is about 6 months)?

Also for my Betta, once I cleared up the fin rot he started fin biting - I never actually saw him bite though. The last thing I wanted was fin rot again so I started:
  1. doing every other day 25% water changes
  2. Dosing with Prime 1 drop per gallon every day - I was still trying to restart my cycle and didn't want any free ammonia to complicate his fin healing
  3. Added some Frogbit and additional silk plants to provide more shade and hiding places in an attempt to reduce his stress and hopefully stop his fin biting
  4. Added IAL and started dosing with SeaChem StressGuard daily *Note* StressGuard is very different from Stress Coat it is an protein "band-aid" and a mild antiseptic that promotes healing
So now about a month after he chewed off almost his entire caudal fin I now have a cycled tank and a happy stress free betta with almost half of his caudal fin regrown.
 
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Chippenstein

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Parameters are still good; I've been monitoring them in the event of a crash, but they've been stable and indicating a cycled tank. I medicated him out of his tank in a quarantine tank to avoid a crash and to avoid the meds being in the tank.
Since he went into his tank again, I've been also doing daily 25% changes with water conditioned with Prime and Stresscoat. He has an IAL leaf in his tank and lots of hiding spots thanks to his nicely growing live plants. I treated him with one round of Erythromycin and two rounds of Jungle Fungus Clear. His loss is very peculiar and it does seem like a spot he'd be biting at if he were biting. It seems like there's just chunks missing and every time I look it seems like more is gone (although it could be me overanalyzing him). None then less, I can't imagine fin rot that has been treated and has been yielding new growth in some spots would be rapidly progressing in others?

I haven't heard of Stressguard before; I'll take a look into that and consider purchasing it. He doesn't *seem* stressed; he cruises around, comes out to see me whenever I even pass by the room, and isn't hiding. He loves to flare at his reflection, and sometimes at me if I come over and he sees me touch the pellet bottle and he doesn't end up getting one.
 
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Chippenstein

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This is what I'm dealing with - note the nice growth on the top fin, the returning growth on the upper areas of the back fin, and the missing chunks at the bottom.
 

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