Betta Ripping Fins Help

  1. fogfish Initiate Member

    Migrated him to a 5g tank about a month ago, with some hiding places, a filter, a heater, and a nice fake plant.

    He was fine until a few days ago when his tail started looking very ragged. I did a 20% water change and tested after I noticed the tail. I think the tank is cycled since the test was 0 ammonia / 0 nitrite / ~5ppm nitrate. The temperature goes between 78-80F.

    Since then, his tears seem worse and part of his top fin is almost completely ripped off. He is swimming around pretty agitated.

    The only other thing I notice that could be causing tears is the protective sponge cylinder on his filter. I just took that out tonight after I noticed his fin. You can sort of see it in this clip along with the tatters in his back fin. ( sorry the light isn't great.)

    [​IMG]


    What should I do? More frequent water changes? Put him temporarily in a 1 gallon tank with pure salt & water changes?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
     
  2. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    I wouldn't use salt, it's an irritant and isn't likely to have the desired effect. In this case I would start with increased water changes. How often do you do them now and how much do you change each time?

    Do you have any decorations in the tank?
     

  3. fogfish Initiate Member

    Hmm - animated gif movie did not work; here's a link to the video on giphy: http://gph.is/2tgV9No

    I had a silk plant, which I took out when it started. The other decorations are a coffee mug and the Zoo Med Ceramic Betta Log, which I felt around for rough spots before I put in (didn't feel any)
     
  4. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    What about the water change schedule?
     

  5. fogfish Initiate Member

    Since we moved him to the 5g tank, 20% change every week. I pour the water a day ahead of time into a bucket, mix it with water conditioner (API Stress Coat), let it sit for a day, warm it up to 78 and do the water change.
     
  6. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    Have you always used Stress Coat with him? In a 5 gallon I would be changing at least half the water each week. Do you know what the parameters are in your tap water and the tank?
     
  7. fogfish Initiate Member

    Oh wow, that's a lot more change that I thought - even in a filtered, cycled tank I should change half the water every week? Or do you just mean while he's healing?

    In terms of conditioner, I was using Betta H2O before and switched to Stress Coat in the big tank.

    By tap water / tank parameters, do you mean ammonia / nitrite / nitrate?

    Thanks!
     

  8. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    You mean you were buying his water from the store in those 2 litre bottles? Did you acclimate him slowly to your tap water?

    I would switch to Prime as your water conditioner. It neutralizes ammonia and nitrites as well.

    And yes, that's what I mean by parameters.
     
  9. fogfish Initiate Member

    Oh ok. No I have been using tap water the whole time, I just switched conditioners from H2 Betta to Stress Coat recently.

    Last tank params (3 days ago) were 0 ammonia / 0 nitrite / 5 ppm nitrate
     
  10. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    Ah, I see. Have you been testing the tap water occasionally to see if anything has changed there? Any storms recently or work done on the water pipes?
     

  11. fogfish Initiate Member

    Hmm - good question. I have not been testing the tap water. Nothing has really changed there. The water itself can be pretty high pH, up to 8.5 or 9, but the current params (just tested again) are:

    7.4 pH / 0 ammonia / 0 nitrite / 5ppm nitrate
     
  12. fogfish Initiate Member

    Wow, interesting - just tested the tap water ammonia and it was .5 PPM !
     
  13. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    Weird. I would find out why your pH is so different between tap and tank. Swings during water changes could be causing him stress.
     
  14. fogfish Initiate Member

    Weird - I'll test more, I may misremember the 9. One of my test tubes broke so I have been lazy about testing pH :)

    In terms of the current fin tearing and agitated swimming, it doesn't seem to be fin rot or any of the other diseases, just tears (from what I can tell)

    I added a background picture to the back of the tank to hopefully lower reflections, add some interest, and lower the light levels to chill him out.

    Any other suggestions? It seems to look bad but be a 'typical betta problem'.
     
  15. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    Some bettas are just more prone to this problem. When I have cases like this I've always found that increased water changes are the answer.
     
  16. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    Some bettas are just more prone to this problem. When I have cases like this I've always found that increased water changes are the answer.