Help Can Fin Rot Heal Itself?

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Hello, I am new to this forum. I have a Male betta fish named Ruffles. Yesterday I've noticed his tail and find look jagged and I was completely horrified. I looked online and I think he has run rot. I cleaned his tank and changed the water. He swims around his tank and hides behind his decor just like he always does, and he eats his food like normal too. But I'm worried about if this fin rot will get worse. I can't really tell how bad it is either. Can someone give me some tips?
 

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Hi!

I came here for the same reason - finrot. It was likely because I wasnt taking care of his tank correctly. your profile says you dont know about the nitrogen cycle - I didnt either, 2 weeks ago. Ive learned a LOT here.

After a lot of advice, Im doing a fish-in cycle with daily testing and water changes, and my guy has gotten a LOT better (I'll put pics at the bottom). Do you have a picture of Ruffles?

Do you have anything that could cause a run in pantyhose in your tank? if so, anything like that can hurt betta fins (plastic plants are apparently a common problem).

Can you fill out the fish emergency template? Ive copied it below; just copy and paste and fill in the answers. I know all the experts will definitely want all the info.

Here's my little guy:
day1.jpg day14.jpg
 

MamaLlama76

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Treat him in a net every 2 days with Melafix on a Q-tip on both sides of his body on all his fins, for about 10 days (this is like first aid treatment, unconventional, but it's worked for me on new fish with issues for years), you can treat the tank with it as well, follow the directions for your size tank...if it's one of those little 1 to 3 gal betta tanks, use an eye dropper/pipette to add the medication (I believe the directions say 1 tsp (5 mL) per 10 gal, so little tanks are easier to dose by the drop (most eye droppers are 5 mL and you can test how many drops are in it with plain dechlorinated water). If it's 5 gal or larger, you can use a measuring spoon you have in your kitchen, as long as it is thoroughly clean and doesn't have soap residue on it (soap and detergents are toxic to fish. You can clean the spoon in un-iodized salt water in a small jar or something.) Melafix is my go-to medication for bacterial/fungal infection, I like it because many fish you buy in stores have been kept medicated all or most of their lives and I've seen a lot of medication resistant fin rot and fungal infection, and it is basically a weak solution of tea tree oil in distilled water...tea tree is an excellent herbal treatment for bacterial and fungal infections. When I was in college and Melafix had just come on the market, I had my chemistry prof. help me figure out the dilution rate on it, so I could make more (I don't remember it now and I am bad at math)...it was in a very small bottle then and quite expensive...in the last decade it has gotten more commonplace and less expensive.
Just finished treating a mama platy who got fin nipped and had a really resistant case of fin rot. I treated her topically for a week with another med (sulfa based) and treated the water with that and quick cure and got nowhere (there were some other things going on with other fish in my QT tank that had a parasite...thus the quick cure). When that failed to treat fin rot, I moved the other fish which were by then okay, did a 33% water change and started treating her and the QT tank with Melafix for a week, then did 25% water change and did another week of treatment. Now the nipped areas are growing back. I am going to add water this afternoon and I put the charcoal containing filer pad back in, as water evaporated some, but otherwise I am leaving her tank alone, beyond feeding her for the next week, because she's due to have fry soon.
 
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Hi!

I came here for the same reason - finrot. It was likely because I wasnt taking care of his tank correctly. your profile says you dont know about the nitrogen cycle - I didnt either, 2 weeks ago. Ive learned a LOT here.

After a lot of advice, Im doing a fish-in cycle with daily testing and water changes, and my guy has gotten a LOT better (I'll put pics at the bottom). Do you have a picture of Ruffles?

Do you have anything that could cause a run in pantyhose in your tank? if so, anything like that can hurt betta fins (plastic plants are apparently a common problem).

Can you fill out the fish emergency template? Ive copied it below; just copy and paste and fill in the answers. I know all the experts will definitely want all the info.

Tank

What is the water volume of the tank?
How long has the tank been running?
Does it have a filter?
Does it have a heater?
What is the water temperature?
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)

Maintenance
How often do you change the water?
How much of the water do you change?
What do you use to treat your water?
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water?

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish?
What do you use to test the water?
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish?
How much do you feed your fish?
What brand of food do you feed your fish?
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods?

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish?
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms?
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms?
Have you started any treatment for the illness?
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase?
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all?

Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)



Here's my little guy:
View attachment 558429 View attachment 558430
Tank

What is the water volume of the tank? 1 gallon
How long has the tank been running? December 19, 2018
Does it have a filter? No
Does it have a heater? No
What is the water temperature? I dont know, but he swims around normally
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) Just Ruffles (Male betta)

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? Once or twice a month
How much of the water do you change? 100%
What do you use to treat your water? Topfin betta water conditioner
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? I dont vacuum anything

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish?
What do you use to test the water?
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? Twice a day
How much do you feed your fish? I feed him one spoonful of his food. (His food came with this really tiny spoon to scoop it)
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Dial-a-treat
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? Freeze dried

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? 6 months
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? Yesterday
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? His fins look jagged
Have you started any treatment for the illness? I changed his water and cleaned his tank. I also got rid of my moss plant
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? No
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? No

Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now) I first noticed his fins looked jagged last night. His tank was dirty, so I cleaned it and changed his water. He swims a lot better in the clean tank, and he eats his food normally. His behavior is perfectly fine. His fins and tail just look really bad. His tail used to be big and flowy. Now it looks like it has split in two, and his fins dont look as spread out anymore. He still has his colors as before, but his fins and tail dont look fine.
Also, yes I have a plastic decor plant in there that he likes to hide behind.
This is when I first got him
20181219_193820.jpg
This was March 31 of this year
20190331_000121.jpg

This is Ruffles today
20190520_092741.jpg
 
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PomegranateSeeds

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Treat him in a net every 2 days with Melafix on a Q-tip on both sides of his body on all his fins, for about 10 days (this is like first aid treatment, unconventional, but it's worked for me on new fish with issues for years), you can treat the tank with it as well, follow the directions for your size tank...if it's one of those little 1 to 3 gal betta tanks, use an eye dropper/pipette to add the medication (I believe the directions say 1 tsp (5 mL) per 10 gal, so little tanks are easier to dose by the drop (most eye droppers are 5 mL and you can test how many drops are in it with plain dechlorinated water). If it's 5 gal or larger, you can use a measuring spoon you have in your kitchen, as long as it is thoroughly clean and doesn't have soap residue on it (soap and detergents are toxic to fish. You can clean the spoon in un-iodized salt water in a small jar or something.) Melafix is my go-to medication for bacterial/fungal infection, I like it because many fish you buy in stores have been kept medicated all or most of their lives and I've seen a lot of medication resistant fin rot and fungal infection, and it is basically a weak solution of tea tree oil in distilled water...tea tree is an excellent herbal treatment for bacterial and fungal infections. When I was in college and Melafix had just come on the market, I had my chemistry prof. help me figure out the dilution rate on it, so I could make more (I don't remember it now and I am bad at math)...it was in a very small bottle then and quite expensive...in the last decade it has gotten more commonplace and less expensive.
Just finished treating a mama platy who got fin nipped and had a really resistant case of fin rot. I treated her topically for a week with another med (sulfa based) and treated the water with that and quick cure and got nowhere (there were some other things going on with other fish in my QT tank that had a parasite...thus the quick cure). When that failed to treat fin rot, I moved the other fish which were by then okay, did a 33% water change and started treating her and the QT tank with Melafix for a week, then did 25% water change and did another week of treatment. Now the nipped areas are growing back. I am going to add water this afternoon and I put the charcoal containing filer pad back in, as water evaporated some, but otherwise I am leaving her tank alone, beyond feeding her for the next week, because she's due to have fry soon.
I'll definitely be getting him some medicine for this. Thank you

Hi!

I came here for the same reason - finrot. It was likely because I wasnt taking care of his tank correctly. your profile says you dont know about the nitrogen cycle - I didnt either, 2 weeks ago. Ive learned a LOT here.

After a lot of advice, Im doing a fish-in cycle with daily testing and water changes, and my guy has gotten a LOT better (I'll put pics at the bottom). Do you have a picture of Ruffles?

Do you have anything that could cause a run in pantyhose in your tank? if so, anything like that can hurt betta fins (plastic plants are apparently a common problem).

Can you fill out the fish emergency template? Ive copied it below; just copy and paste and fill in the answers. I know all the experts will definitely want all the info.

Tank

What is the water volume of the tank?
How long has the tank been running?
Does it have a filter?
Does it have a heater?
What is the water temperature?
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)

Maintenance
How often do you change the water?
How much of the water do you change?
What do you use to treat your water?
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water?

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish?
What do you use to test the water?
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish?
How much do you feed your fish?
What brand of food do you feed your fish?
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods?

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish?
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms?
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms?
Have you started any treatment for the illness?
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase?
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all?

Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)



Here's my little guy:
View attachment 558429 View attachment 558430
I don't really know much about a lot of things I'm only a beginner. All I really knew how to do was keep his tank clean, feed him, and make sure he gets enough light and dark.
 

Starflyr3

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I don't really know much about a lot of things I'm only a beginner. All I really knew how to do was keep his tank clean, feed him, and make sure he gets enough light and dark.
Trust me, I get it.

Ok, first things first:

You're doing some things right; there are some more things that you need to do.

1. Read up on the Nitrogen Cycle. https://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm

Basically, when a fish eats, it poops. Poop and uneaten food break down and release ammonia into the water. Ammonia is toxic to fish. High levels can weaken their immune system and even give them burns on their fins and body.

Ammonia builds up really fast - the smaller the tank, the faster it builds up. The fish experts here say that new fish people think a small aquarium is easier, but it's actually way harder than a bigger aquarium and is best left to experienced fish people.

If you cant get a bigger aquarium to put him in, at least get a filter for his 1 gallon bowl. That will (eventually) help with the ammonia.

Basically, over time, in a filter, the presence of ammonia in the water encourages bacteria to live there that convert ammonia into nitrite (also toxic to fish).
Once the nitrite has been there, another type of bacteria develop that convert nitrIte to nitrAte (less harmful). If you dont have a filter, the gravel might have some of the bacteria, but the ammonia will build up a LOT in 2 weeks.

Also, unless you keep your house tropically warm (78+), you need a heater. Bettas like warm water, and if it is too cold it can also weaken their immune system.

You wont know what your pH (bettas like it around 7ish), ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels are unless you test them. They make test strips, but they arent all that accurate. Most here recommend the API master test kit that has you put tank water in test tubes, and add various chemicals to see what the levels are.

If you get a filter, the box will probably tell you to change the filter "cartridge" every week - doing that, or even rinsing it in untreated tap water - will kill any beneficial bacterial you've started building, so people here recommend just swishing it around in used tank water if it gets gunky so you dont have to start all over with the bacteria building. Apparently, it takes at least 6 weeks to fully cycle an aquarium (I'm on day 15, so Im taking everybody's word for it). A fully cycled aquarium should have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and you should change the water to keep nitrates under 20.

If you can do daily water changes, while you figure out what to do for filter/heater/testing, etc. that will probably start helping him feel better, but probably wont be enough by itself.



My guy was in a 2.5 gallon aquarium when I noticed his fin rot. I thought I was doing things right - had a filter and such, but I wasn't testing, doing on purpose water changes (his old tank leaked a LOT), etc, which is why he got his fin rot in the first place. Now that he's in a 10 gallon tank, I'm testing daily, and doing at 25-50% water change every day, he's getting loads better. Hopefully my tank will cycle soon so I can stop every day testing and water changes, but I'm patient.

I hope that helps? Im truly not criticizing, since I was exactly where you are 15 days ago.

oh, and Ive been seeing over and over on here that tea tree oil/melaluca (melafix, bettafix) can hurt bettas because they breathe air from the surface using a "labyrinth organ" in addtion to their gills. the tea tree oil can apparently mess it up so it doesnt work and the fish can drown.

From what I saw, I think that you need to address the water issues and if you do that, you may not even need medication.
 
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PomegranateSeeds

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Trust me, I get it.

Ok, first things first:

You're doing some things right; there are some more things that you need to do.

1. Read up on the Nitrogen Cycle. https://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm

Basically, when a fish eats, it poops. Poop and uneaten food break down and release ammonia into the water. Ammonia is toxic to fish. High levels can weaken their immune system and even give them burns on their fins and body.

Ammonia builds up really fast - the smaller the tank, the faster it builds up. The fish experts here say that new fish people think a small aquarium is easier, but it's actually way harder than a bigger aquarium and is best left to experienced fish people.

If you cant get a bigger aquarium to put him in, at least get a filter for his 1 gallon bowl. That will (eventually) help with the ammonia.

Basically, over time, in a filter, the presence of ammonia in the water encourages bacteria to live there that convert ammonia into nitrite (also toxic to fish).
Once the nitrite has been there, another type of bacteria develop that convert nitrIte to nitrAte (less harmful). If you dont have a filter, the gravel might have some of the bacteria, but the ammonia will build up a LOT in 2 weeks.

Also, unless you keep your house tropically warm (78+), you need a heater. Bettas like warm water, and if it is too cold it can also weaken their immune system.

You wont know what your pH (bettas like it around 7ish), ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels are unless you test them. They make test strips, but they arent all that accurate. Most here recommend the API master test kit that has you put tank water in test tubes, and add various chemicals to see what the levels are.

If you get a filter, the box will probably tell you to change the filter "cartridge" every week - doing that, or even rinsing it in untreated tap water - will kill any beneficial bacterial you've started building, so people here recommend just swishing it around in used tank water if it gets gunky so you dont have to start all over with the bacteria building. Apparently, it takes at least 6 weeks to fully cycle an aquarium (I'm on day 15, so Im taking everybody's word for it). A fully cycled aquarium should have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and you should change the water to keep nitrates under 20.

If you can do daily water changes, while you figure out what to do for filter/heater/testing, etc. that will probably start helping him feel better, but probably wont be enough by itself.



My guy was in a 2.5 gallon aquarium when I noticed his fin rot. I thought I was doing things right - had a filter and such, but I wasn't testing, doing on purpose water changes (his old tank leaked a LOT), etc, which is why he got his fin rot in the first place. Now that he's in a 10 gallon tank, I'm testing daily, and doing at 25-50% water change every day, he's getting loads better. Hopefully my tank will cycle soon so I can stop every day testing and water changes, but I'm patient.

I hope that helps? Im truly not criticizing, since I was exactly where you are 15 days ago.
Thank you so much! You've been so helpful thank you for sharing this with me. I dont think I'll be able to do daily water changes but maybe I can do it every other day. Will that help? That's really all i can do for now until this weekend. That's when I'll most likely take a trip to Petco. But for now he seems fine. I haven't noticed any different behavior with him at all, so I guess that's a good thing?
Your tips were extremely helpful too! But do you know how I could tell if the fin rot is getting worse? Should the bacteria be gone since I cleaned his tank and decor?
 

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Thank you so much! You've been so helpful thank you for sharing this with me. I dont think I'll be able to do daily water changes but maybe I can do it every other day. Will that help? That's really all i can do for now until this weekend. That's when I'll most likely take a trip to Petco. But for now he seems fine. I haven't noticed any different behavior with him at all, so I guess that's a good thing?
Your tips were extremely helpful too! But do you know how I could tell if the fin rot is getting worse? Should the bacteria be gone since I cleaned his tank and decor?
The fins will get worse looking. It's why Ive been taking multiple pictures of my betta every day for the last 2 weeks. He comes and poses for me now . if you rinsed everything in chlorinated water, yes any bacteria you had will be gone.

As for water changes, could you use a measuring cup or similar? Honestly, I used a 2 quart (fish water only) pitcher until I got a siphon. I still use it to pour tap water in to treat it, and then take it into my daughter's room to pour it in the tank. With testing, siphoning, and making/carrying/pouring 10 pitchers of water, it takes maybe 15 minutes (and most of that is testing) It couldn't take *that* long with a 1 gallon tank. 2-4 (12.5-25%) cups of water wouldn't take very long, I think. Heck, with a 1 gallon, you could just about pour some water out, and refill/treat at the tap.

oh, and Amazon delivers some (most) of the fish stuff same day or overnight.
 
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PomegranateSeeds

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Yes I understand that, but I have school I wont be able to really have the kind of time to monitor him because I'm not home with him all day.

But you're saying a 25% water change should do it? And then fill it back up with tap water? I should still add in his water conditioner, right? How long should I do this for?
 

Starflyr3

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Hey, I’m a pediatrician with 3 kids and 2 grandkids (oldest and youngest kids are 18 years apart, grandkids are 2 and 7 months, but the oldest and her family live across town). I also cook, clean, and take care of 2 guinea pigs and 2 cats.

My first patient appt is at 7 am and I’m often not home until after 5, then have to cook and spend quality time with my kids before their bedtime. And the fish tank is in my youngest’s room, so I squeeze in water changes between dinner and story time (bed is at 8).

You dont need to watch him all day; but a daily small water change should help him feel better.

Good luck!
 
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Wow that sounds tiring, I'm sorry. But thank you. I just dont feel at ease changing his water without being able to make sure he's fine
 

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Water changes are top priority for a sick or injured fish. You really need to make an effort to stay on top of that...please get declor for your water too
 

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You’ve gotten some good info so far! May I recommend upgrading your tank size so that waste concentration builds up more slowly? This will make your job in keeping the tank clean easier.

Water changes will be incredibly important! I recommend getting an aquarium vacuum or siphoning water into a bucket. It’s a bit faster than using a cup and also gets waste out of the bottom of the tank.
 

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Wow that sounds tiring, I'm sorry. But thank you. I just dont feel at ease changing his water without being able to make sure he's fine

I totally get that. Sadly, it’s no time possible to be everywhere all the time (I WISH it was...).

Leaving him in the water without changing some of it it every day is much more likely to hurt or kill him than not monitoring after changing water.

Can you change the water right before you do homework and do your work near the tank?

Good luck!
 
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PomegranateSeeds

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Water changes are top priority for a sick or injured fish. You really need to make an effort to stay on top of that...please get declor for your water too
Oh I do! I use the Topfin conditioner

I totally get that. Sadly, it’s no time possible to be everywhere all the time (I WISH it was...).

Leaving him in the water without changing some of it it every day is much more likely to hurt or kill him than not monitoring after changing water.

Can you change the water right before you do homework and do your work near the tank?

Good luck!
Yes sure! I can do it right after I get home, I shouldn't get homework this week. But that depends because I have to get my little sister from the school bus. So depending on when she gets home I'll change his water before or after I get her. But I'll most definitely look into 25% water changes starting tomorrow!

You’ve gotten some good info so far! May I recommend upgrading your tank size so that waste concentration builds up more slowly? This will make your job in keeping the tank clean easier.

Water changes will be incredibly important! I recommend getting an aquarium vacuum or siphoning water into a bucket. It’s a bit faster than using a cup and also gets waste out of the bottom of the tank.
Yes I totally know he needs a bigger tank. Dont worry, I'm going to get one. But for now we just have to work with what we've got. He seems content, I'll definitely monitor his behavior

Water changes are top priority for a sick or injured fish. You really need to make an effort to stay on top of that...please get declor for your water too
I use the Topfin betta water conditioner
 

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Larger tank (min 5 gallons), heater, filter, daily water changes with water conditioner, melafix (until you see new fin growth), api master test kit, api quick start. Once you see the fins stop receding and new fin growth occurs add activated carbon to your filter to remove medication from water. The set up you have is the sad trend of betta fish being treated as puddle fish. They are beautiful and full of character and deserve to be treated like every other fish. If you do not have the money or time to properly take care of a pet you don't need the pet. Your fish is going to die, if it hasn't already, if you don't take the proper steps to caring for a fish. Do some research before buying ANY pet. Good luck.
 
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