Betta Lost Both Pectoral Fins??? Sos

Discussion in 'Betta Fish' started by raleigh, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. raleighNew MemberMember


    My betta has developed a fin nipping habit, and after the stress of a long car ride in a mason jar when I went home for break, he lost quite a bit of his tail fin and one of his pectoral fins. This definitely happened while he was in the jar, so I figured he somehow found a way to nip his pectoral fin off, rather than tearing it on something, although that seems unlikely.
    That was a few weeks ago (he's back home in his normal tank in clean water) and today he lost his other pectoral fin, and he's been lightly striped since he started nipping his tail.
    He is in a 2.5 gallon tank with very soft fake plants, a ceramic cave (not sharp) that he likes to sleep in, and gravel. He has a filter and a heater, and I've been treating his water with a small amount of Melafix and aquarium salt when I do partial water changes every other day. He's in front of a window (I do water changes often enough that algae hasn't been a problem) so he gets soft filtered light rather than light from a bulb.
    My other 2 bettas are living in the exact same conditions and have been growing and thriving, and this one is just in self-destruct mode.
    The white spot is where his fin once was, it's the same on the other side

    If anyone can suggest anything to help him grow his fins back or has any idea why this is happening PLEASE let me know. I'm getting desperate!!!
    (btw, he is young so his tail is still pretty short- he didn't eat THAT much of it!!)
  2. Sushi'skeeperValued MemberMember

    Hello, sorry to hear this happened. If I were you, I would stop with the Melafix. Do a 25% water change every other day. I recommend you pick up some Seachem Prime Stress Guard. It's amazing stuff and will heal your guys fins in no time. May I ask, what temperature do you have his tank at?
  3. BriggsWell Known MemberMember

    Oh no, poor thing! I don't think I've ever seen a betta lose his pectoral fins before.

    Here comes the twenty questions: What water conditioner do you use? Do you have a testing kit to check for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates? Is the tank cycled? What kind of filter do you use? Could he have gotten caught up in the intake? Did you have any trouble getting him in and out of a net while you were moving him?

    I agree that you should stop the melafix, it's not supposed to be good for a bettas labyrinth organ, which allows them to breathe atmospheric oxygen. Stay with the aquarium salt, though, it should help the wounds. If it's fin rot or something similar, clean water is the best start for treatment. Upping your water changes to 50-75% a day should help. Make sure the water you're adding is treated and as close to the tank's temperature as you can. As for medications, I've seen Nitrofurazone products (Tetra  ,    -2, Jungle Fungus Tabs,   Bifuran) recommended highly for external problems by @CindiL, who is this forum's go to for veterinary help.

    If it is nipping, figuring out what he's stressing out over is probably the best place to start. Treatments won't do much good if he keeps biting at them. Are there any major differences between where he was before and where he is now? Is he where he can see your other fish? Is the water harder or softer? More activity around his tank? Is he having any trouble navigating his tank without those fins? I imagine losing the first one probably added to his stress quite a bit.

    I have a husky that I have to keep in a cone collar because she will obsessively chew her left foot until it's bloody without it. I know how hard it is to watch an animal hurt it's self and not understand why or how to make them stop.
  4. raleighNew MemberMember

    I use Jungle Start Right. I don't have a testing kit- I'm a broke college student so I don't have a ton of supplies yet, but it's a work in progress. The tank is cycled, he's been in it for a few months now and I always leave at least 25% of the water, even when I went home for break. The filter is just a small tetra filter, but there's no way he could've gotten in there, I have it blocked off pretty well. And I use a cup when I move my bettas so there were no issues there!

    I'll definitely stop the melafix, I just assumed it was okay for bettas because it said the main use was fin rot! As for the water, I always let it sit beside my tank for 24 hours to make sure it's the exact same temperature. I will definitely check out those medications!

    As far as why he is nipping- I got him as a baby from Petco, so he's probably a genetic mess. He has a lot of personality and he is a little skittish and acts very nervous most of the time. I did move him from a 1.5 to a 2.5 as he got bigger, but he was in there for a few months before he started nipping. He is beside my other fish, but there are a few inches between the tanks and he pays no mind to his neighbor and vice versa. The water is exactly the same- I use filtered tap water with conditioner that's been sitting out at least over night, every time. He can swim just fine, although he is moving around less. He either hangs out at the top or the bottom of the tank rather than swimming in circles, but he still jumped up out of the water when I fed him, so he's still capable!

    It sounds like I might need to make a tiny fish cone collar! Hahaha. Thanks so much for your help!!!

    Thanks for the advice! I keep his tank at 75 F
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2017
  5. BriggsWell Known MemberMember

    I have seen fish wheelchairs, but I'm afraid no fish e-collars yet. Someone should get on that!

    He sounds like he has a nervous soul. You could try draping a towel over his tank for a while to help calm him. Limit what he can see so he doesn't stress about it as much while he's healing. It's good that he's still eating well and excited enough for meal time to jump for his food! If you don't have one already, you might pick him up a little inexpensive betta hammock so he has something to lounge on near the surface.

    How filtered is the water? Conditioners are important for removing chlorine, but there are somethings you want to leave in the water. I know I tried using a Britta filter for my betta's water when I first started, and it caused a bad PH crash. I have since learned to embrace the tap water. I would recommend you pick up some Seachem Prime for water conditioning, though, along with a set of eye droppers. It only takes 2 or 3 drops to treat a gallon of water, and it does three times the work of most conditioners. (Removes heavy metals along with chlorine, and neutralizes ammonia for 24 hours)

    A few quick things: the tank's cycle doesn't happen in the water, it happens in the filter media and the surfaces in your tank. If you change out the media cartridge completely and clean your gravel, you lose almost all of your beneficial bacteria that breaks down ammonia for you and keeps your water safe for the fish. Let us know if you need some help with the nitrogen cycle, it can be tricky in a tank that size.

    Also, ideally a betta's water should be between 78-80 degrees, though if your heater has a preset temperature, 75 is much better than room temp.

    I hope he starts doing better! I'm sure more people will come along to offer advice as well.
  6. raleighNew MemberMember

    UPDATE: Unfortunately, Gup didn't make it. I got him as a baby from a big chain pet store, so my guess is he just had bad genes and was probably doomed from the start. If you're reading this because your fish is having the same issue, keep up with water changes, crank the heat up to 82, and make sure your fish is comfortable in his environment in case he's in pain.
  7. BriggsWell Known MemberMember

    I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm sure you did everything you could to help him, and it sounds like you gave him a pretty good life while he was with you.

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