Help!! Does my fish have fin rot??

VerdeTheButterflyBetta

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I just bought a Butterfly Betta at Pet Smart. I thought he looked healthy but now I am worried about fin rot. Can someone more experienced than me confirm or deny my suspicion? This little guy already means a lot to me so I appreciate your help! Thanks!!

I just need help for my new Butterfly Betta. I'm not experienced with bettas, this is my first one since I was child. I didn't notice anything wrong with him at Pet Smart, he moved around fine and looked healthy. However now that I am looking at him a day later, I am noticing that I don't think his fins are as full as they should be. Does he have fish rot or are these signs of fin biting? They could be tears growing back but I want someone more experienced than me to look at him and give me advice. I love this little guy and I want to treat him as soon as possible if I need to. Thank you so much!!
 

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Bettayonce

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Hello!

Fortunately, your gorgeous fish doesn’t have fin rot. However, it is fin-nipping, which is personally worse in my opinion. The reason why I think this is worse is because, first, the reason behind this is unknown in a sense that there are too many reasons to identify which. Second, this is a habit of betta fish that is very hard to remove from them once it starts. My advice is to adjust decorations in his tank, try moving, removing, adding, etc.

A lot of people think that bettas prefer heavily planted/decorated tank. But from my experience of owning a lot of bettas, I could say that this is not always the case. Every betta is different, and I feel like it’s always trial and error to get to know your fish, and what it likes.

I would also maintain the water twice as much because being the nipped fins be open wounds, this could turn into fin rot if the water is dirty. I would also add a little bit of aquarium salt. (1/2 teaspoon per gallon)

Hope this helped!

Looking back at the picture, the big slice in his tail could also be due to plastic/rough decorations that could have torn his fins, so it would probably be best to remove those decorations if you have. If that’s the case, the slice will heal in about 2-3 days or earlier.
 
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VerdeTheButterflyBetta

VerdeTheButterflyBetta

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Bettayonce said:
Hello!

Fortunately, your gorgeous fish doesn’t have fin rot. However, it is fin-nipping, which is personally worse in my opinion. The reason why I think this is worse is because, first, the reason behind this is unknown in a sense that there are too many reasons to identify which. Second, this is a habit of betta fish that is very hard to remove from them once it starts. My advice is to adjust decorations in his tank, try moving, removing, adding, etc.

A lot of people think that bettas prefer heavily planted/decorated tank. But from my experience of owning a lot of bettas, I could say that this is not always the case. Every betta is different, and I feel like it’s always trial and error to get to know your fish, and what it likes.

I would also maintain the water twice as much because being the nipped fins be open wounds, this could turn into fin rot if the water is dirty. I would also add a little bit of aquarium salt. (1/2 teaspoon per gallon)

Hope this helped!

Looking back at the picture, the big slice in his tail could also be due to plastic/rough decorations that could have torn his fins, so it would probably be best to remove those decorations if you have. If that’s the case, the slice will heal in about 2-3 days or earlier.
I purchased my fish from Pet Smart this last Tuesday and sadly like most pet store bettas he was kept in a small cup. I don't think he's ever lived in an environment with anything he could snag his tail on, but he has only been in my tank for two days.

My tank has smooth stones, a marimo moss ball, and a few plants. It's pretty plain at the moment but I would like to get him more plants and a betta log. As of now, he couldn't have torn his fin on anything in there. If he is fin biting, it would have probably been due to stress of living in a cup.

Do you think now that he has a brand new clean environment he'll stop the habit? I don't know of any ways to get him out of the habit. I am relieved that it's not fin rot though. Thank you so much for your help! ( I attached another picture of him just because)
 

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Are there any chunks taken out of his tail? I only see a small slit which IMO, doesn't look like fin nipping.

If it is the start of fin rot, its very mild. Is his tank cycled?
If it is, super clean water should heal him. I'd suggest a partial water change every day to keep the water pristine.
 
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VerdeTheButterflyBetta

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I admit his tank is not cycled because I didn't know about the process at all until after I bought him. The bettas and fish I kept as a child lived many years without it, and I had no reason to assume that my parents had been keeping their fish incorrectly.

I did do research before I bought the fish and I got him the treated water, a light, a heater, a filter, and some live plants including a marimo moss ball which should help remove the nitrates. I do feel horrible about only now learning about the cycle and I will start to do frequent water changes and try to cycle the tank through, even know it's not ideal.

His tail just looks rough on the edges and it looks like it's not as full as it should be. I wasn't sure if he is growing more fins or if he has tail rot. He doesn't look super sick to me, but he does look like hes not quite at his best. He may just have some healing tears.

My water should be new and super clean right now though as I just got the tank but I will start the cycling process immediately. My next bettas will have an already cycled tank! How much is my betta at risk if he doesn't have a cycled tank? Like I said my family was completely oblivious to this and they kept bettas (in bowls sadly) without any kind of cycling but they lived for many years. Do you think my betta is in great danger? Thank you for your help!
 

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VerdeTheButterflyBetta said:
I admit his tank is not cycled because I didn't know about the process at all until after I bought him. The bettas and fish I kept as a child lived many years without it, and I had no reason to assume that my parents had been keeping their fish incorrectly.

I did do research before I bought the fish and I got him the treated water, a light, a heater, a filter, and some live plants including a marimo moss ball which should help remove the nitrates. I do feel horrible about only now learning about the cycle and I will start to do frequent water changes and try to cycle the tank through, even know it's not ideal.

My water should be new and super clean right now though as I just got the tank but I will start the cycling process immediately. My next bettas will have an already cycled tank! How much is my betta at risk if he doesn't have a cycled tank? Like I said my family was completely oblivious to this and they kept bettas (in bowls sadly) without any kind of cycling but they lived for many years. Do you think my betta is in great danger? Thank you for your help!
When I was younger, my parents didnt know about cycling either. We used to keep a black moor and pleco in a 10 gallon.. the pleco died but the moor lived for several years (died bc of another reason), so I understand. I didnt know about cycling until I did my own extensive research. Now that you know better, you can do better!

Do you have a test kit? If not, since his tank isn't cycled, I suggest you get one as soon as possible.

You should do daily water changes until it is cycled. His fin rot will get worse in an uncycled tank if you do not keep your parameters in check. With daily water changes (or as often as needed) he should be just fine once cycled. You tank is cycling now since you have a fish and an ammonia source. You just have to keep the ammonia and nitrites down as low as possible (of course 0 is what you want) with water changes.
 
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VerdeTheButterflyBetta

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Cantchooseone said:
When I was younger, my parents didnt know about cycling either. We used to keep a black moor and pleco in a 10 gallon.. the pleco died but the moor lived for several years (died bc of another reason), so I understand. I didnt know about cycling until I did my own extensive research. Now that you know better, you can do better!

Do you have a test kit? If not, since his tank isn't cycled, I suggest you get one as soon as possible.

You should do daily water changes until it is cycled. His fin rot will get worse in an uncycled tank if you do not keep your parameters in check. With daily water changes (or as often as needed) he should be just fine once cycled. You tank is cycling now since you have a fish and an ammonia source. You just have to keep the ammonia and nitrites down as low as possible (of course 0 is what you want) with water changes.
I won't be able to start changing the water until next Tuesday (I live in a dorm but go home on the weekends to work and we will have a four day weekend this week). I'm definitely going to get a ph testing kit this weekend. I am a little confused on how to cycle with a fish. So if the cycle has already started do I just need to monitor ph levels and let it cycle or do I need to take a more active role and add things?

I definitely now know better and I will do better for my future fish. I love this little guy so much that now I plan to buy more bettas for my room at home. But for now, starting Tuesday I will change his water out everyday and do anything I can to help him out. His tail may not be up to its full potential but my goal was to rescue a pet store fish from its cup and put it in a happy environment.

Honestly I don't care if his tail shape is "'the prettiest" as long as he is happy and healthy. That is my goal so thank you for your help in getting me there! If you have anymore tips or any other knowledge on fish care that I may not know I (and Verde) would appreciate it greatly!
 

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VerdeTheButterflyBetta said:
I won't be able to start changing the water until next Tuesday (I live in a dorm but go home on the weekends to work and we will have a four day weekend this week). I'm definitely going to get a ph testing kit this weekend. I am a little confused on how to cycle with a fish. So if the cycle has already started do I just need to monitor ph levels and let it cycle or do I need to take a more active role and add things?

I definitely now know better and I will do better for my future fish. I love this little guy so much that now I plan to buy more bettas for my room at home. But for now, starting Tuesday I will change his water out everyday and do anything I can to help him out. His tail may not be up to its full potential but my goal was to rescue a pet store fish from its cup and put it in a happy environment.

Honestly I don't care if his tail shape is "'the prettiest" as long as he is happy and healthy. That is my goal so thank you for your help in getting me there! If you have anymore tips or any other knowledge on fish care that I may not know I (and Verde) would appreciate it greatly!
So, you need more than just a Ph kit. You need to test for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates also. You can buy the strips or the API master test kit (which is cheaper than buying more strips- petsmart will price match amazon, walmart, chewy and you can get the kit for around $20) The ammonia and nitrites is what could hurt your fish if you do not do water changes to keep them as close to 0 as possible.

You can google and read up on the nitrogen cycle and fish in cycling. That is the most important thing you need to know right now if you want your fish happy and healthy.

His tail is beautiful right now and may be even prettier once your tank is cycled and his tail is healed!

Good luck and post any other questions you have.
 
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VerdeTheButterflyBetta

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Cantchooseone said:
So, you need more than just a Ph kit. You need to test for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates also. You can buy the strips or the API master test kit (which is cheaper than buying more strips- petsmart will price match amazon, walmart, chewy and you can get the kit for around $20) The ammonia and nitrites is what could hurt your fish if you do not do water changes to keep them as close to 0 as possible.

You can google and read up on the nitrogen cycle and fish in cycling. That is the most important thing you need to know right now if you want your fish happy and healthy.

His tail is beautiful right now and may be even prettier once your tank is cycled and his tail is healed!

Good luck and post any other questions you have.
Alrighty I will do all or that ASAP. If I come across any other concerns or questions that I can't find answers to I'll come back here and ask. Again, thank you for your help!
 

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VerdeTheButterflyBetta said:
Alrighty I will do all or that ASAP. If I come across any other concerns or questions that I can't find answers to I'll come back here and ask. Again, thank you for your help!
Anytime! Good luck!
 
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VerdeTheButterflyBetta

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Cantchooseone said:
Anytime! Good luck!
HI again! I just changed my fish's gravel to a finer one for the plants and I added a new plant in. I also performed a partial water change. But since he has been erratically swimming in the same spot. He will swim around for a few moments and then suddenly dive at the ground.

He doesn't go to his usual spot in the corner anymore , this is where is new plant sort of is. It's been a night and he is still swimming at the ground erratically every so often. He still eats, though. I tested his water and everything is ideal, except his water might be slightly acidic, but not enough to hurt him. He seemed content before and I regret disturbing him like this. I don't know what's causing his fits. Does he hate the plant that much?
 

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VerdeTheButterflyBetta said:
HI again! I just changed my fish's gravel to a finer one for the plants and I added a new plant in. I also performed a partial water change. But since he has been erratically swimming in the same spot. He will swim around for a few moments and then suddenly dive at the ground.

He doesn't go to his usual spot in the corner anymore , this is where is new plant sort of is. It's been a night and he is still swimming at the ground erratically every so often. He still eats, though. I tested his water and everything is ideal, except his water might be slightly acidic, but not enough to hurt him. He seemed content before and I regret disturbing him like this. I don't know what's causing his fits. Does he hate the plant that much?
How long ago did you make these changes? If recently, it could be stress until he gets used to everything.

I know you said you tested and everything is ideal but could you post you parameters in numbers for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate? also ph? I'd like to rule that out as a factor. Also, what size is his tank?
 
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VerdeTheButterflyBetta

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I'm on my way to class right now and I can't remember the numbers I'll have to give them to you at the dorm. But the strips for the nitrate, nitride and ammonia showed that they were at zero.
The tank is a regrettable 2.5 gallons which I now know isn't great, but he seemed perfectly fine with it until this water change. I did it last night so maybe he is still getting used to the changes?
 

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VerdeTheButterflyBetta said:
I'm on my way to class right now and I can't remember the numbers I'll have to give them to you at the dorm. But the strips for the nitrate, nitride and ammonia showed that they were at zero.
The tank is a regrettable 2.5 gallons which I now know isn't great, but he seemed perfectly fine with it until this water change. I did it last night so maybe he is still getting used to the changes?
Perhaps. If you can rule out water quality, then I would assume he just needs to get used to his new surroundings.
 
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VerdeTheButterflyBetta

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Cantchooseone said:
Perhaps. If you can rule out water quality, then I would assume he just needs to get used to his new surroundings.
When I get back I'll test his water again just to make sure. I'm worried I didn't accumulate him properly when I put him back in the water. There was a temperature difference in his tank and the container I had him in. I put some of his tank water in with him to get him used to it but maybe it wasn't enough.
My sister owns this fish too, we are figuring this out together. She couldn't catch him in the net and she was afraid of hurting him so she slowly poured him back into his tank but he came out much quicker than expected. I'd like to think that he didn't hit the water hard enough to injure him but maybe he got a bit shaken up.
Maybe he is just a sensitive fish and he doesn't like his new environment. I'm hoping he warms up to it soon, I hate to see the little guy stressed out.
 

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VerdeTheButterflyBetta said:
When I get back I'll test his water again just to make sure. I'm worried I didn't accumulate him properly when I put him back in the water. There was a temperature difference in his tank and the container I had him in. I put some of his tank water in with him to get him used to it but maybe it wasn't enough.
My sister owns this fish too, we are figuring this out together. She couldn't catch him in the net and she was afraid of hurting him so she slowly poured him back into his tank but he came out much quicker than expected. I'd like to think that he didn't hit the water hard enough to injure him but maybe he got a bit shaken up.
Maybe he is just a sensitive fish and he doesn't like his new environment. I'm hoping he warms up to it soon, I hate to see the little guy stressed out.
How much water was changed when you re-did his tank last night? If you changed most of it, then you could be right. He wasn't acclimated to the new water (especially if the ph & temp is different with the new water vs the cup water) and he could of been shocked with the sudden change.

And yes, when you get back, please re-test and post your parameters.
 
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Cantchooseone said:
How much water was changed when you re-did his tank last night? If you changed most of it, then you could be right. He wasn't acclimated to the new water (especially if the ph & temp is different with the new water vs the cup water) and he could of been shocked with the sudden change.

And yes, when you get back, please re-test and post your parameters.
I tried to do a 25% water change and took less than half the water out. If he is in shock hopefully he can recover? I tested his water before the change yesterday and it read about the same.
 

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VerdeTheButterflyBetta said:
I tried to do a 25% water change and took less than half the water out. If he is in shock hopefully he can recover? I tested his water before the change yesterday and it read about the same.
Most likely he will! I would just keep his tank light off for a while.
What are you using to test his water? Strips?
 
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VerdeTheButterflyBetta

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Cantchooseone said:
Most likely he will! I would just keep his tank light off for a while.
What are you using to test his water? Strips?
Strips were what I could buy as quickly as possible. They were what the store had and I didn't want to order online and wait because I wanted to test his water ASAP.
 

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VerdeTheButterflyBetta said:
Strips were what I could buy as quickly as possible. They were what the store had and I didn't want to order online and wait because I wanted to test his water ASAP.
Sure! I get it.. they are fine to get a general idea of what's going on, they just usually don't include the ammonia test and make you buy a whole new strip.

Another thing, is that he is probably stressed out from being taken out of his tank and moved while you were re-decorating his tank.. (So, again, as soon as you are able to, post the parameters so we can rule that out) and if that all looks good, its most likely from stress. Removing them is not ideal, just try to work around him next time.. I know its a pretty small tank so it may be tight, but it's less stressful for him.
 

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