Deterioration of Betta's caudal and analfins

  • #1
'nother newbie

Uisce has been in a new 5Gal tank 5 weeks and started showing deterioration of his caudal and analfins. He also abandoned his bubble nest at this time and developed white-looking translucent patches on his blue fins. Fins don't have dark edges, but caudal fin appears to not fan out as well on top or something.
There is no apparent velvet, ich, speckling or spotting, though before the fin issue his color appeared faded or masked, briefly.
He's an aggressive boy and this too suffered, briefly, but he will now engage and attack a finger.

There's no apparent cycling issues. I remove and replace 1 Liter per week, nitrates/nitrites/ammonia are all zero (using API five-in-1 and a seachem ammonia alert that's 8 months old.
Ph is 7
hardness is GH 30 or less, KH 40

Tank is bare bottomed, with bridge and boat furniture, a heater - 78-80 degrees, and I use an improvised siphon vac to remove feces and precipitates with the 1L refresh, though this week i've done an extra 3.5 L replacement.

No filtration. I suspect there might be contamination from the gravity filter I use for dechlorinating tap (activated charcoal) as this became the primary water source about 4 weeks ago. There is also dark flecks precipitating out on the floor now, in addition to his poop. it gets peppered over the course of a week.
  • #2
Welcome to FishLore!!
Is it possible to post a picture?
Members might be able to ID what's going on with a visual.

It might be a good idea to get a liquid kit. They tend to be more accurate than the strips.
  • Thread Starter
  • #3


Here he is. I've added a moneywort plant (trying to improve his surroundings/reduce stress) and two Fizz Tabs (Jungle Fish Care) in case it might help. I also use aquarium salts 1tsp/5gal concentration. I had let that slide over the last few weeks water replacements, but started again. I'm trying to replace ~5% of his water daily (1Liter) with spring water.
  • #4
Do 50% daily water changes. Don't add "stuff" to the tank. Sometimes, one remedy will cancel another out.

I agree that the test strips are worthless, invest in the API master kit (less than $20 on-line).
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Okay. Thanks for your help. I'll simplify things and amp up the water changes.

But 2.5 gal is a lot of water to move every day. Should I try a smaller quarantine tank? How big? Would that just stress him more?

Thanks again.
  • #6
A 50% water change in my 75 gallon is a lot of water, a 50% water change in a 5 gallon is not. Man up!

Leave the fish in this tank, it's stressed enough and there's no real reason to move it.
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  • #7
Thanks -Day 3 of 50% changes and spots are getting bigger, now a third. I got the API Freshwater master kit and the only things out of idea are ammonia - <.25ppm; Nitrate ~4ppm and Ph 6.6. (Temp is 83-84)

I am thinking after today's water change I will medicate. I have Maracyn, Maracyn2 and API Fungus cure on hand. Any preferences/suggestions?

  • #8
Hi, your tank isn't cycled, which could be adding to the problem. I would suggest using Prime to dechlore you water. It helps to eliminate chlorine and chloramides and it makes ammonia, and nitrites less harmful for your fish. It's not that expensive and a little goes a looooong way. Keep doing the water changes with prime first and see how that goes.
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  • #9
I don't have prime. I've been using fizz tabs from Jungle and spring water, not tap. Should I put in a filter?
  • #10
I believe most people feel that fizz tabs are not effective. And yes, your betta needs a filter And a heater too, if he doesn't have one. Can you get Prime? Or Amquel+? Both of these will neutralize harmful substances such as ammonia in the water. Since your tank isn't cycled, it's good that you're keeping up with water changes, but poor water quality lowers fishes' immune systems, which may be why he contracted whatever it is that he has. (I may be restating things that others have said, my apologies...)
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  • #11
No, you've been really helpful.

I'd like to report that Uisce is getting better. Two of the spots have regained most of their color and the third is starting to fill in (even though I missed a day yesterday). I used API Betta Water Conditioner and that seems to be helping (I couldn't find Prime in my petsmart).

I'm going to put the filter in and get a picture up when I can.

Again, thanks everybody here for helping. I've grown so much with this guy and this issue, and this forum has been really great and responsive.

  • #12
That's great he's getting better! It's also strange your PerSmart doesn't have Prime, that's where I get mine. Maybe they were just out? I know PetCo carries it as well.
  • #13
There are many places online if you are interested where you can buy things you need for a low price but you still have to play shipping. That's generally if it doesn't have prime. Best of luck and glad your fish is getting better.
  • #14
If your adding a filter you will be needing some tetra safe start to safely cycle it fish in. I wouldn't have added the filter yet but at risk of starting a war, ill say go with it. Heater is a must though. you'll be wanting to add TSS to help keep ammonia levels safe during the cycle.
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  • #15
I got prime and started using it, created a small bottle, diluted so I can easily measure it for 2.5 gallon treatments, and some vitachem, fresh formula.

I'm getting ammonia readings around .1 to .15 ppm and Nitrates around 3 to 4 ppm (Nitrites 0, pH 7.2-7.4). His tail has regrown 1/4 inch and starting to get some color/patterns. Should I continue the water changes till everything zeros out or is that even possible.
  • #16
Yes, continue changing the water until ammonia and nitrites 0 out. Unless you have a ton of plants you will have a reading of nitrates around 5-20ppm. This is not bad, as nitrates are less toxic then the other two.

I'm glad your fish is doing better!
  • #17
Hello and welcome to FishLore!

You're getting some great advice. I would add that you might as well skip the salt. Bettas don't need it, and salt irritates their scales.

If you keep your water as clean as possible with daily water changes, using Prime, you should see improvement.

By the way, what do you mean when you say, "I got prime and started using it, created a small bottle, diluted so I can easily measure it for 2.5 gallon treatments, and some vitachem, fresh formula"? You should not dilute Prime. That's part of its worth as a superb conditioner ... it's concentrated.
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
Yes, but trying to cut a quarter mL is really hard for 2.5 gallons. The bottle is something like 1 mL per 10 gallons. I have a 5 gal tank, so I found it's just easier to create a solution where I can use 1-5 mLs - otherwise I need a syringe or pipette.

I cut it with de-chlorinated, filtered water, but next time I think I'll use distilled.

(stopped using salt when I started using water conditioners and doing all these changes - I'll continue not using it then. Thanks.)

Also, does a pH of 7.6 require any intervention? I have API pH Down, but am hesitant to use it.
  • #19
Do not change your pH. Your betta is surely used to it by now. When you add new fish, just be sure to acclimate very slowly; fish are very capable of adapting to a different pH. It will be MUCH more stressful to your fish to keep adding pH Down and pH Up (when you most likely overshoot) and trying to chase a number, than just leaving it alone.

What I did for the Prime was put a threaded cap with a dropper hole on it. Oddy enough, the cap from my old water conditioner (most likely Top Fin) was the same diameter and thread size, so I just put that on there. It turns out it's 15 drops per 10 gallons, but obviously if you use a different dropper method, the drop size will be different. (I filled the original Prime cap to the first thread using the dropper cap to measure how many drops per 10 gallon dose.) If you overdose by a little, it is not harmful to the fish at all. I always way overdose on my 2.5 gallon tank, because that's 3.25 drops, but I add the water in two pitchers, and I don't want to ad 1.675 (if I did my mental math correctly) drops per pitcher. Even if it's the right dose, it feels like it's too small to do anything, so I usually put in about four drops per half-gallon pitcher.

Another idea would be (if you have other pets and take them to a vet) to ask your vet for a TB syringe - they're only 1mL but you can measure up to 0.01mLs, so you could be very accurate that way if you wish. I think you might be able to buy syringes at stores like Walgreens; I think it's just the needles you need a prescription for.
  • Thread Starter
  • #20

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