Fin Rot? Please Help, Beginner Here

Discussion in 'Betta Fish' started by Rami, Jul 20, 2017.

  1. RamiNew MemberMember

    I recently got into keeping fish, with no experience at all before this. Two weeks ago I purchased Larry, who was 9 weeks old at the time. He appeared very healthy initially, with bright beautiful fins as seen in the second picture. He was shy at first, but ate and flared normally, but over time he became more comfortable with me and is able to jump higher and higher to feed off my finger. However, as you can see, he's been developing what I think is fin rot, and it seems to be getting worse every hour. Here's some background info to help diagnose and lead me to the right steps:

    • I initially had no knowledge at all of the nitrogen cycle. I put him in an uncycled, unfiltered, and unheated 5 gallon tank I had lying around in my house from god knows how many years ago. Had him there for roughly a week, during which I was researching and realizing my mistakes.
    • I now have him in a 5 gallon heated, filtered tank, and doing 20% water changes every 2 days to hopefully offset the ammonia. I haven't done a water test yet, but I'll be taking a sample to the pet store tomorrow to check (I can update with the numbers if it helps).
    • Water temperature is currently sitting at 24 degrees C. Not happy at all with the heater I got (Marina C25 compact heater). It's supposed to automatically adjust to 26 degrees but it's stubborn at 24. Will be returning that and buying a new one hopefully.
    • He seemed to get worse after I introduced the heater, thermometer and some Marimo moss, which arrived a few days late from Amazon. Not sure if it's related or coincidental.
    • I used some bacteria cycle starter for the first 3 days in his new tank, in hopes that it would kickstart the Nitrogen cycle.
    • Feeding him 3 flakes twice daily, seems to be happy with that.
    • He recently started to get a little lazy, resting on various objects and hiding in his cave. But when he sees people, he comes out to greet them and swims around energetically and appears fine.
    So to summarize, his health appears decent in terms of activity and human interaction. His fins, on the other hand, indicate otherwise.

    Thank you for your help in advance!
  2. hh01441

    hh01441Valued MemberMember

    I don't have a lot of experience, but I would test the amonia. My Betts is acti g similar bc my amonia is very high so I'm having an emergency at the moment too.
  3. Aster

    AsterWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to the forum :)

    Sounds like you've taken the right steps! I agree, test the water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. Poor water quality is a big cause of finrot. I would invest in an API Freshwater Master Test Kit, it's an invaluable tool to test your own water and more accurate than test strips. Meanwhile, increase WCs to 50% daily. It'll help both with keeping ammonia and nitrites down during the cycling process and healing his finrot.

    The Aqueon Pro is a reliable adjustable heater. It's a bit pricey, but worth the cost.

    Bettas can be pretty lazy, especially one with larger finnage. If he's responding to people and eating well, I wouldn't worry too much.

    What bacteria starter did you use? Some use terrestrial strains of bacteria that will eventually die underwater.
  4. OP

    RamiNew MemberMember

    Thanks Aster!

    I just went to the store to get the water tested. Turns out my ammonia wasn't too high, at 0.5 ppm. Nitrites were 0.5-1.0 ppm roughly, and nitrates were in the 10-20 range. I'll be doing a water change later today to be safe, but it seems like water quality isn't terrible.

    Is a 50W heater too much for a 5 gallon tank? Will it heat too quickly/overheat?

    Good to hear about the laziness. Response is fine, so hopefully it's just stress from the new tank environment. I was recommended the API BettaFix at the pet store, have you had any experience with that? I've already spent more than I would've liked on my fish so I don't want to buy anything else unless I know they work.

    I'm forgot what bacteria starter I used; I'll check when I get back from work and let you know.
  5. Aster

    AsterWell Known MemberMember

    Any amount of ammonia and nitrites is dangerous, so I'd do water changes to get them down.

    A good heater turns off when the temperature is reached, more wattage just means it has the capacity to heat it to higher temperatures or larger volumes of water.

    Bettafix is pretty useless and a diluted version of Melafix, which is controversial in that it could harm the labyrinth organ. I would start with just water changes and if that doesn't do the trick, you'll need antibiotics.
  6. AllieSten

    AllieStenFishlore VIPMember

    Welcome to Fishlore!

    Hopefully we can get your guy fixed up. The number one thing you have to do is get that tank cycled. So you do need to work on that. You will need to add most bottled bacteria everyday for 7-14 days to get it to take root. Unless you are using Tetra Safe Start. That is the only one that works differently.

    If you aren't using an ammonia locking product, anything over 0.25ppm of ammonia is toxic to your fish. 0.5ppm is double that. So it is doing some harm. This is what I recommend you do. Get some Seachem Prime and Seachem Stability. Prime is a dechlorinator and it also detoxifies Ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. It works up to 1ppm, for 24-48 hours. It also adds a stress coat. Best product to use while cycling your tank with a fish in their. Stability is bottled bacteria made to be used with Prime. They work well together. I agree with the API Freshwater Master Test kit also. You will need to monitor your Ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, pH. The kit is the easiest way to do it. Tetra 6 in 1 test strips are the most accurate strips, but you will need to add an ammonia test to it.

    The best thing for fin health is water changes. I would do a greater volume of water changes per day. Between 40-50% per day would be better.

    I would also change his diet a bit. Add higher protein and fats will help heal. Frozen foods are better than dried. I would go with frozen Brine shrimp and dried blood worms. Not everyday, but a couple times a week will help.

    If you need help getting the tank cycled, we can certainly do that.
  7. Abbs12

    Abbs12Valued MemberMember

    We just went through a very similar ordeal, we bought a betta and only used one dose of instant bacteria and had him in his tank a day later. We have a 5 gallon tank and just did a fish in cycle with our betta. His fins are looking much much better. We used seachem prime and stability as directed and I also have the API freshwater Master test kit and I was testing everyday. We also ordered some Indian Almond Leaves which helped tremendously with our Betta's fin healing.

    For the first week of him being in the tank I was doing daily water changes of about 50% and testing the water daily. During water changes I would add about 5-10 drops of prime into my new water and the directed amount of stability. I also made sure not to over feed Hei Hei (our betta).

    Going into the second week until we were cycled, I did every other day water changes of about 50%, tested water daily, and and kept up with my prime and stability dosing during water changes. I was also feeding Hei Hei frozen blood worms twice a week and then omega one betta buffet pellets during other meals.

    We would see ammonia hit around .25 (I never let it get any higher) for the first couple of weeks. Then we started to see nitrites around .25 also, for the next three weeks (the nitrite phase was pretty long) and just last week we have officially become cycled (0-ammonia, 0-nitrites, and 20-40 nitrates) and I now do twice weekly water changes. Ideally you want your nitrates to be around 5-10 but ours are higher due to our tap water and we are working on that.

    You just want to make sure that you are testing your water so if your ammonia or nitrites get a bit high you can do a water change/water changes until you get them down to 0.

    Also make sure any decorations are betta safe and that he can't snag his fins on anything. This is what caused all of our issues. Now all of our plants are real and I made sure to purchase a safe and smooth hiding spot for him. Here is his before and after pictures!


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