Cycling questions with Betta fish that has developed fin rot

Kleezak

Member
Hello, I'm stumped by my newer tank setup and need advice.
First post, so my profile is not letting me update much as it is not considering me an “active member” yet.

Background info:
-Started tank Nov 10, 2016

-5.2 gal acrylic tank with two silk plants, and aquarium gravel (not rough)

-Mini-might filter (came with tank) – uses Tetra size small cartridges with carbon

-Aqueon preset 50watt heater – holds steady at 76 degrees

-Digital thermometer – exterior stick on type place on opposite side of tank from heater
-Air pump with 5 inch bubble stone (set pretty low as filter is strong)

-API water test kits for pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate (used testing strips for the first few weeks before receiving my order for the liquid tests).

-1 male betta (purchased Nov 11)




-Before placing fish, I filled tank with Spring Water (our tap's Kh is very very low and wouldn't hold a stable ph with previous try to set up tank, so switched to using only bottled gallons of Spring Water).
-Added Aquasafe water conditioner, waited 24 hours
- pH was 7.4, kH 80 (moderate), GH 75 (soft), temp 76, all other values were 0.

  • bought male Betta fish (from Petco), acclimated him placing his bag into the tank, added full bottle of TTS+ (the small size), waiting 30 min, then added a little bit of tank water every 15 min till the water doubled in amount in the bag, then using net, placed fish into tank discarding water from bag.
I knew to wait the full two weeks before testing and to not do water changes during this time for TSS+ to work, but the betta's ventral fins turned from blue/black to bright red on day 9, I tested and ammonia was 0, nitrate was 0, and nitrate was 20, so performed a 20% water change by siphoning part of the gravel, rinsed the filter in discarded tank water (it was pretty dirty), added Aquasafe, then 24 hrs later added 5mL more TSS+ per directions on the bottle for adding after water changes, since the full two weeks were not up. Next day the Nitrates were still showing to be 20 at this point with ammonia, and nitrite being 0, so assumed it was cycled and PWW was successful. However, the betta's other fins began looking ragged and disappearing on the ends starting that day, with pink fleshy areas where the tail was disappearing.



I've continued doing PWC – 25% every other day, and switched to using Stress Coat+ and discontinued adding TTS+ as I believed the tank was cycled. I also rinsed the filter in discarded tank water with each change.



I believe our fish is dealing with Fin Rot, so have purchased Jungle lifeguard All in one Treatment, and tomorrow Mardel Maracyn 2 is arriving to have on hand in case the lifeguard doesn't work. I have a QT critter tank I can use for treatment.


Problem I have now is that I just retested the tank water parameters now that I have all liquid tests (that arrived yesterday) and I'm baffled. The ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are all reading 0. (pH is still about 7.6). Did not adding more TSS+ cause the cycle to crash, or perhaps I rinsed the filter too well and lost all the good bacteria?

I'll try to attach pictures of the tests, as well as the fish.


Here are my questions:
Do I wait and try to cycle the tank before treating the fish to see if that's the problem?
I have an adjustable heater also on the way, should I try warming the water to see if that helps first as well?
If I do cycle the tank again before trying meds, I know that keeping pristine water is important, so should I place Betta in a QT tank with daily water changes and try a fishless cycle with a product that will do so (I know TSS+ is not the best for fishless cycles, so would love a recommendation for one that will!).
Or- should I use the QT tank and go ahead and treat the fin rot while doing a fishless cycle in the tank?
Thank you for your help
 
  • Thread Starter

Kleezak

Member
Photo Nov 29, 6 52 17 PM.jpg
There's a glare in the second fish photo, but can see the fins spread out better. These are from last week, it's progressed a bit more now.
 

Aquaphobia

Member
I don't see fin rot at all. Is it just the red ventral fins that you're concerned about? I've found that when bettas are taken out of their tiny cups and allowed to settle into better surroundings that their colours change and brighten and on blue fish I've often found that the ventral turn bright red

Oh, and welcome to the forum!
 
  • Thread Starter

Kleezak

Member
HI Aquaphobia! Thank you for your reply! Here is a pic from just now, with the progression showing. The above pics are not really showing the pink and ragged areas as well (tough to get a good pic of the little guy, named, Sapphire by our 8 yr old!). From this pic, do you see fin rot, esp when comparing it to how the fins looked in the last pic from last week?
Thank you for your time! I know my post was super long trying to get all the details in!
Photo Nov 29, 10 14 41 PM.jpg
 
  • Thread Starter

Kleezak

Member
OK, finally uploaded all the pics on my phone. Here is one from Nov 14th - the 2nd day we had him, to see how his fins used to look before what I am suspecting is fin rot: So this is day 2:
Photo Nov 29, 10 29 13 PM.jpg
 

Aquaphobia

Member
Hmm, tough call. I think the pinkish background is throwing me off. It could be fin rot, or it could be that his fins are actually torn or bitten. Have you noticed anything in the tank that he drags his fins across that might tear his fins? Spiky plants or hard decor? Can you post a picture of his whole tank setup?
 
  • Thread Starter

Kleezak

Member
So I took another pic, that maybe will help, but I can try to get more tomorrow if needed! Noticed for the first time that the dorsal fin has a hole in it now (it's usually bent over, so not sure if it's brand new, or just didn't see it before). I don't see him near the bottom of the tank much, and it doesn't seem sharp at all. He did stay right around the heater for several days, wrapping his tail around it while he swam circles around it, would that cause the fins to disintegrate? The areas where the fins are lessening are pink/white, and the overall fins seem to have little black spots throughout instead of being the solid blue they used to be. Really looks ill to me. Also, in the first message, I noted that all the tests for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are at 0, where the nitrate had been at 20, with the rest of the values at 0...could this "cycle crash" be causing these issues? Thank you for all your replies and doing your best to help me out! I really appreciate it!
 
  • Thread Starter

Kleezak

Member
Photo Nov 29, 11 16 41 PM.jpg
 
  • Thread Starter

Kleezak

Member
Photo Nov 29, 11 06 01 PM copy.jpg
 

Aquaphobia

Member
I see it now! I'm not sure what that is but it doesn't look like finrot to me.

As for the numbers, you mean that you used to have 20ppm nitrate and now it's at 0? Did you do a water change recently or do any filter maintenance?

And now I see why the background seemed pink
 
  • Thread Starter

Kleezak

Member
I started with Tetra Safe Start Plus for a fish-in cycle, and on day 9 noticed the ventral fins turned bright red, so I scooped the fish into a large container, did a 25% water change, put the filter pad into a solo cup with some of the tank water and swished it around a bunch, and then replaced it into the filter, added in Spring Water & Aquasafe for dechlorination, 20 min later added the fish back in, then 24 hrs later added 5mL of Tetra Safe Start+ since I had not made it the full two weeks yet. After that I kept up a Partial water change of 20% every two days, but switched to Stress Coat + for dechlorination. I must have shook off too much of the media. Wasn't sure what else to do for the hurting fins at the time. Didn't want him sitting in water that wasn't as clean as it should be. Hmmmm
 

Aquaphobia

Member
Oh, yeah, that could have crashed your cycle. Until they've really adhered the bacteria are vulnerable to being washed off.

The ventral fins turning red is perfectly normal though and a sign that he was settling in well.

I would keep going as you are. I think you're seeing a cycle bump rather than a complete crash since you're still showing zero ammonia, but keep an eye on it.
 
  • Thread Starter

Kleezak

Member
OK, so continue 20% water changes every other day and keep testing till the Nitrates return, or ammonia increases, and then see what to do at that point?
Few more questions:
Should I do anything if whatever is going on with the fins seems to worsen? Each day has been worse than the last so far. Still eating, swimming around, interested in what I'm doing. Do you think a cycle bump would cause fin issues? What about warming the tank up more -the preset one in there now is holding it steady at 76 degrees. I have one coming in a few days that is adjustable one. Thanks again!
 

Aquaphobia

Member
A warmer temperature increases the fish's metabolism and boosts its immune system, but if the problem is bacterial a higher temperature may actually increase the speed at which it progresses. Try the increased water changes first and if the fins are still getting shorter then take another picture in a clear container and we'll try to figure out what's going on and what medication might help.

You might consider adding more decorations for him to explore and hide in as well. You can get fake floating plants that he might enjoy lurking under
 
  • Thread Starter

Kleezak

Member
Thank you! Will give it a try! We had four more plastic plants when we started, but removed them to see if he was tearing his fins on them, will add in more floating and silk plants with continued water changes and see what happens!
 

CindiL

Member
Hi, welcome to the forum

His fins do appear to have gotten worse to me and the pink fleshy part of the tail is a bit concerning though I don't know exactly what it is unless like you said he damaged them by wrapping himself around the heater. I'd maybe turn up the heat a little so he doesn't feel the need to seek out more warmth. I would treat him when your Lifeguard product comes in. I normally recommend other treatments but that doesn't mean that one won't work so let us know how he does with it.

The fact that you had 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites and 20 nitrates indicates you were cycled, you might just have done enough water changes that they are lower now, I wouldn't worry about that but make sure to keep testing daily for awhile to see if you have any ammonia or nitrites.
 
  • Thread Starter

Kleezak

Member
Thank you CindiL!!! I will do what you have suggested! I really appreciate you chiming in!
The Meracyn 2 meds have also arrived now, so I have the option of using either that or the Jungle lifeguard. Would you suggest one over the other since I've not begun treatment yet?
Would you recommend using a quarantine tank (I have a critter keeper plastic one that I can set up with a heater, and small bubbler, but I do not have an extra filter, but could do water changes if it would not mess up the medicine schedule.
thank you again! I appreciate all the great advice I've been getting on this forum! You all rock!
 

CindiL

Member
Its ok to treat him in his tank. I can't say for the Lifeguard since I've never used it but Maracyn 2 is a good antibiotic and worth using
 
  • Thread Starter

Kleezak

Member
Wonderful! I will try with that first and then update on how it goes! Thank you!
 
Top Bottom