Fin Rot/sick? Or Fin Nipping/tearing? Help!

lauren busta

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Hello, I need help with my fish.. I got him almost a year ago and since then he has grown and his tail has flourished, although he still has slightly cloudy eyes. At first, he was in a 2.5 gallon tank without a filter. I had a heater and would do a 100% water change about every two weeks (I am hesitant about frequent water changes/ frequently transporting my fish in and out of his tank to do so). When cleaning his tank, I would scrub all the decorations with an aquarium sponge under hot water, run the rocks under hot water in a pasta strainer, and rinse the live plants. After deep cleaning his tank I would add everything back in, put sink water in, and condition it with Top Fin betta aquarium conditioner. After turning on the heater, I would wait a few hours before I set my fish (in his cup) into the water to adjust- then after an hour or so I would put him back into the tank with some of his old water. - Around this time, my fish had a "spunky" personality- he was very active and would immediately eat the food that I dropped into his tank. I fed (and still feed) him Aqueon Betta food. Sometimes I even drop in a couple of freeze dried blood worms.

Note: I never would test the water, nor pay attention to any sort of levels

Fast forward to August of 2018, I bought him a 5.5 gallon tank because he was growing and I know bettas like their space. I got a Top Fin tank that came with a filter, lighting, etc. I set it up and this time I used the filter- however this altered my water changing habits, I would do a 100% change every 3-4 weeks. For the most part everything was the same- my fish was doing great, except he wouldn't eat the same but I think that was due to the filter flow which was on the lowest setting.. he would eventually find all the food pellets within the rocks and eat them. However, I started to use a water softener pad in the filter since LA has hard water. I finally purchased testing strips but I don't think that they were the most accurate- But I noticed that the water was very hard.. hence the softener pad. Anyways my fish was still doing great.

Side note- I turn my fish's light on when I wake up, then feed him around 5-7 pellets and he eats all of them... then when the sun goes down I feed him again and turn the light off.

Fast forward to two weeks ago, I noticed that his fins were all messed up. Two Fridays ago I decided to clean his tank. I put him in his little cup, cleaned all the decorations, but instead I vacuumed the rocks, rinsed them with more water, then vacuumed again. I also wiped down the walls of his tank with a special aquarium cleanser that is safe for fish (second time using this- nothing happened the first time). After cleaning everything and putting it back, I filled the tank with pre-made and conditioned water (third time doing this). I also rinsed his filter cartridge and recharged his water softening pad in an aquarium salt/ water mixture. After turning the filter and heater on I waited a while before doing his adjustment routine. Mind you, I tested the water and his Ph is usually high, but I never did anything about it... I just recently purchased Ph lowering tablets but have yet to use them. Anyways, the next morning I turned on his light and noticed that a big chunk of his middle fin was pretty much gone and was in shock! At first I thought it was fin rot but it didn't make sense for that much fin to disappear overnight. So, I tried to convince myself that he was nipping at his fin due to stress from the water change, or that his heavy fins were bothering him when he swam? I kept an eye on him and can't really tell if more has disappeared but some areas on his healthy fins look suspicious to me.. Im going to do another water change tomorrow and bought API fin and body cure treatment but I want to know if my fish has fin rot first. I would say that he is still pretty active but he does like to lounge on his plants or in his cave, however he seems a little more lethargic. He recently developed a bubble on his eye as well. I pay attention to the heat of the aquarium as well as the levels of everything so when I do my next water change I will add my Ph lowering tablet. Please let me know if he looks like he has fin rot or if he just bit or tore his fin so I can start treatment or leave him alone.

Last thing.. one of his plants started growing black dots a while ago.. should I throw it away?

.. I will try to attach pictures in a different post
 

Repolie

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Can we get a picture of his tank? If it happened that fast and that much of fins dissapeared, then it's usually from something in the tank. It's safe to assume your tank isn't cycled with you scrubbing and rinsing everything in tap water. You should read about the nitrogen cycle because that's what prevents your fish from being poisoned to death with ammonia that builds up. 100% water changes aren't recommended for fish because it's super stressful and you can shock them from a difference in pH or temperature. So it's best to do small 25-50% water changes every few days and you should be changing it more frequently to keep the ammonia levels down. You also shouldn't be messing around with the pH unless you're using natural means to do it because you're changing the pH way too fast which can cause pH shock and it fluctuates too much. Fish can adapt to the pH if it stays at a constant and stable level. 5-7 pellets is a lot and should be split into 2 meals because that amount of food is a good way to give digestive problems to your fish. Also make sure to rehydrate any dry food so they don't expand while inside him and also cause digestive problems. Long term aquarium salt isn't good for fish. Don't start treating with medications when there's better alternatives because medications stress out fish and can cause antibiotic resistance. Clean water will heal them up just fine. Sorry for this being super long.
 
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lauren busta

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ok I will give smaller more frequent water changes a try without the scrubbing. Can I keep my fish in its tank while changing the water or is 5.5 gal too small for that.. I also hear different advice on feeding my betta but I'll give him less food throughout the day.. Thank you!
 

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Repolie

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ok I will give smaller more frequent water changes a try without the scrubbing. Can I keep my fish in its tank while changing the water or is 5.5 gal too small for that.. I also hear different advice on feeding my betta but I'll give him less food throughout the day.. Thank you!
Sorry for taking a while. I didn't see that you replied. Yes you can keep him in there while you change the water, it's large enough. People use siphons for easier cleaning, so you may want to look into that. I think he's tearing his fins on something because of the jagged edges, look over all decorations with the pantyhose test to make sure he doesn't rip his fins again. Also make sure to research about the nitrogen cycle.
 

AmStatic

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ok I will give smaller more frequent water changes a try without the scrubbing. Can I keep my fish in its tank while changing the water or is 5.5 gal too small for that.. I also hear different advice on feeding my betta but I'll give him less food throughout the day.. Thank you!
Is the rock decoration on the right hand rough or sharp?
 
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