Major Tom's Fin Rot Help Thread

bcsay720

Hello, everyone. Since my betta's fin rot is apparently an ongoing problem now, I figured I make a thread to compile everything into and get advice in one place.

Betta History:
Name - Major Tom
Purchased - December 2020 from LFS (great fish store, but still have bettas in cups)
Type - Veiltail (not that you can tell)
History
- Originally in a cycled, fully planted 10g tank with 7 glowlight tetras and a few mystery snails (he was the last addition). They were all young fish, and my male tetras were particularly belligerent (nipping others in the school and causing fungus). They would purposefully go into his "space" to bother them. He would chase them, but no one got hurt. Separation occurred when Tom started getting his fins caught in the filter intake. This was his first tim with fin rot. The increased stress made him more aggressive, and I separated the tetras out into a different tank. The filter intake was covered with pantyhose. I increased water changes, added tannins through botannicals, and the fin rot healed well.
- He lived alone for about a month and a half with a nerite before I got two peppered cories. He immeiately fell in love with them. They tried to teach him how to school (he was bad at it and still is), and he followed them around and mimicked their behavior to entertain himself. Only issues was the ocassional tail rip or missing scale from trying to fit into small places like the catfish. FIn rot would SOMETIMES pop up, but after a few days of water changes, he was fine.
- Tom got bored a few weeks ago and tried out tail biting. Turns out it hurt, and he gave himself fin rot. I did the ol' increased water changes, and it went away... only to come back two day after I stopped. Started that back up again. I skipped feeding him for a day (that didn't last. He got jealous of the cories being allowed to eat and started chasing them. This behavior stopped as soon as I fed him again). Fin rot wouldn't go away.
- I invested in a 29g a few days later so I could combine all my fish now that they're all full grown. Tank got set up. I moved everyone over last weekend and moved Tom into a cycled 1.5 QT tank for a salt treatment. He loved his tiny tank for about 3 hours. Then I went to dinner and came back to find his fins clamped and him breathing heavier. I moved him to the 29 g where he immediately found his cories (now there's 3) and got happier. No fighting. He and the tetras show no interest in each other anymore, even after the lights go out. He seems really happy
-I've been doing frequent 25% water changes, and he's shown signs of healing but...

Current Problem: Tom bit off a huge chunk of his tail last night while I was working late for parent-teacher conferences (as you may have gathered, he's very social, and my boyfriend doesn't talk to him like I do). The rot came back (of course). It's always only been concentrated to the outside of his fins, but that big bite mark is now only about an inch away from his body. I really don't want that to rot, because I do not want him to get body rot. His behavior has not changed the entire time he's had fin rot (except for the day I didn't feed him and when I isolated him). He still eats fine and swims and has his nap schedule. I just know that if he gets body rot, all of that can change really fast.

What I'm considering: I'm considering doing a salt bath and have read up a lot on them, but I'm so worried about him passing out and/or getting more stressed out. What is your advice here?

Tank Info:
29 g, HOB filter (sponges on intake), 2 heaters (one on either side of the filter), 76 degree F, Prime to condition, API Freshwater Master Test Kit (liquid)

Ammonia - 0 ppm
Nitrite - 0 ppm
Nitrate - 5 ppm
pH - 7.4

Stocking:
1 betta, 1 nerite, 7 glowlight tetras, 3 peppered cories (5 more are in QT to be added in a few weeks)
Fully planted with 2 pieces of driftwood and alder cones
 

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BigManAquatics

We talking about aquarium salt baths? That could help. Limit the time maybe to like 15-20 mins per bath ? I don't know how long they would need to be for effectiveness, though.
 
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bcsay720

Yes. I have a 1.5 g I can use for the bath and API aquarium salt. I could do a dip, which would be more intense and shorter . But as I said, I don't want him to pass out. Even the 4 hours in quarantine with a regular salt dosage did him well for a few days. That's why he has regrowth.
 
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BigManAquatics

Yes. I have a 1.5 g I can use for the bath and API aquarium salt. I could do a dip, which would be more intense and shorter . But as I said, I don't want him to pass out. Even the 4 hours in quarantine with a regular salt dosage did him well for a few days. That's why he has regrowth.
Well, that could be a plan then, especially if you had some success before! At least a starting point. Hope it goes well, i know you have posted about this fin rot a lot for him.
 
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bcsay720

Salt bath #1 is complete. I went a bit lighter on the salt than suggested. No passing out. He didn't a good job and didn't panic when getting netted. Hopefully I'll see an improvement tomorrow, or I'll give him another one.
 
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bcsay720

Update:
The fin rot is getting worse. He's flaring a lot at himself in the glass and even flared at a catfish, which he loves. Highly considering moving the 5 cories out of quarantine (way too early) and putting him in the 5g alone in the dark and trying a salt treatment again. Not sure what else to do. If it gets to his body and becomes body rot, I already have a plan for euthanizing if it doesn't improve within a week. I'm so sick of having perpetually unhealthy bettas.
 
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bcsay720

Not yet. He's got a half dose of salt in the QT tank I just moved him back to. His color is already so much better. Filter is covered and I put in so many alder cones for a 1.5 g (I don't mind if it gets really dark since there's only fake plants). If he doesn't respond to the salt in a few days, I'll pick up a medicine. Do you recommend maracyn? I saw that kanaplex can be used, too.

I know he can regrow his fins, since he's doing that on the bottom half of his tail and his analfin. He just keeps biting the upper part of his tail, and it just keeps rotting. It's only about 3/4 of an inch from his body up there. I went a little heavy on the decor in the 1.5 g in hopes that he can't access his tail as easily for biting. I don't like thinking about worst case scenarios, but I'm trying to come up with a plan because my 3 bettas last year all died within 6 months of buying them (only one of them was my fault. He got bloated and never recovered.... for 3 entire months), and I want to be realistic about the possibility happening again so I'm not devastated this time. I really hope it doesn't come to that, but he's doing a number on himself.
 
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BigManAquatics

I have actually never had to do anything other than frequent wayer changes with fin rot, so don't really know what works best as far as meds.

Tail biting is quite frustrating. Can take forever to even figure out what exactly is the trigger(s).
 
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bcsay720

And it started randomly when he was in his 10g that he had been in for 5 months and had been running for 7 months. No changes had happened except me taking out a bunch of bladder snails, but he never paid attention to them. Hoping I'll see some good changes in the small tank. When my tetras had recurring fungus after I got them, I could never heal them in the main tank, only the smaller tanks. Lights out and not a lot of places to go (plus no reflection because it's plastic), I'm hoping to see some recovery soon.
 
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bcsay720

Pretty boy is very happy in his 1.5 g. He's starting to show decent regrowth. The parts he bit off are slow-growing, but all of the rotted spots have grown back, as well as that scale he knocked off a few days ago. The bites on his dorsal and tail will take some time. I'm just glad he's happy and healthy again.
 
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BigManAquatics

Pretty boy is very happy in his 1.5 g. He's starting to show decent regrowth. The parts he bit off are slow-growing, but all of the rotted spots have grown back, as well as that scale he knocked off a few days ago. The bites on his dorsal and tail will take some time. I'm just glad he's happy and healthy again.
Really sounds like he makimg good progress!
 
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