My betta's fin suddenly looking bad

Discussion in 'Betta Fish' started by Mitzi, Jul 4, 2016.

  1. Mitzi

    MitziNew MemberMember

    Informations about my tank:
    Size: 5 gallons
    Filter: Aqua tech 5-15
    Tetra 50 watts
    Yes, fishless cycled for 2 months
    0 ppm
    0 ppm
    30 ppm
    7.6 (the maximum of the color chart)I added my betta 2 weeks ago. Here's a picture of when I got him:
    View attachment 199408

    During his first week, I watched the parameters closely and everything was fine. At the end of the week, he looked like this:

    View attachment 199409

    But now, he looks like this:


    All the plants inside the tank are kind of plastics, but I checked everyone of them to make sure they didn't have anything sharp and they bended well. I'm scared it might be that, he he's been hiding in them since the very first day and it appeared only today, 2 weeks later...

    I am thinking that it is either the plants, fin rot, or the sudden heat we had in my area. I unplugged his heater when I got him because it was already 30'C in the appartment, and a few times during the first week it went up to 33'C in the tank! I tried using a frozen water bottle, but I think all these temperature changes might have caused stress... The bottle could lower the temperature of one or 2 degrees at a time only. It was hard to control as it was also 36'C in the appartment at those moments. I think it could be the filter's strenght, I always make sure it is at the lowest but sometimes just a little hit is enough to lower the tube quite a bit. I still haven't found a solution to this.

    What do you guys think? Should I buy a product or should I wait and see if it heals or get worse?
  2. PrinceOfPride

    PrinceOfPrideNew MemberMember

    (For some reason I can't see the before pictures). Have you tried using a baffle for the filter? I think sometimes for some bettas even the lowest setting of the filter can be a bit too strong. Did you also use the pantyhose test for the plastic plants when you were checking them?

    From what the other more experienced betta owners have told me, it may be best to let it heal naturally by keeping the water clean and removing any suspect fake plants, rather than relying on any medications. As for the temperature, I don't know if I can be of much help there as I have the same problem in my apartment right now. :( To keep the apartment temperature stable, if you haven't already done this try keeping the curtains/blinds closed to let as little sunlight in as possible during the day, which may help if running the air conditioning/cooler is too costly. That tends to help with my apartment.
  3. OP

    MitziNew MemberMember

    The before pictures:

    No I don't think I made a pantyhose test specifically. Will removing suspect plants stress him because he has less hiding space? I'm thinking I could remove them one at a time, and in between each see if he heals or get worse.

    Yeah I'll try that trick with the curtains. I actually didn't have curtains in two rooms until this week-end. I also bought an air conditioner but I found out the plug I wanted to use is defectuous and keep turning it off every 5 minutes :( the only other plug near is the one I currently use for the filter so I'm looking into moving the fish tank.

    For the baffle, I looked into it on google image (english isn't my first language) and found this picture, which is exactly the filter I have :

    It looks like he took a regular cradrige, stripped off the plastic part and put it there. Could it work with any other type of filter cardridge? I have a box here that isn't compatible with anything I have lol

  4. PrinceOfPride

    PrinceOfPrideNew MemberMember

    If you're worried about stressing him out, maybe as your taking out the plastic plants, replace them with either silk or live plants. That way he still has hiding spaces, the live and silk plants are less likely to damage his fins.

    For the filter baffle, there's different ways of doing that. I've seen a lot of people use plastic water bottles. Here's a video from some other betta owner on how to do this:

    I also found a forum on fishlore, where it looks like one of the posters used both a plastic bottle and wrapped a sponge around the intake: What I did for my betta was buy a Fluval sponge and stuck it into the outtake of the filter. Hopefully this helps!
  5. OP

    MitziNew MemberMember

    I found the thread where the picture on google was posted

    I thought that maybe it was indeed the intake that would do that. So I cut a filter bag and used the lower half to put the intake inside. I'll add the other half as a way to lower the filtration.

    I bought silk plant at wal mart, but the "sticks" holding it felt more sharp than my plastic ones... So I might have to buy new ones, but I don't think I'll be able to go to the pet shop before two weeks :(

  6. GuppyKeeper007

    GuppyKeeper007Valued MemberMember

    My go to medicine for whenever my bettas have a fin issue is bettafix. Works for me. One of my bettas had a fungus coming out of its gills. It cleared up
  7. Flowingfins

    FlowingfinsFishlore VIPMember

    I would be doing daily 50% water changes. Take out any suspected plants and baffle the filter.
    What are your water parameters?
    Please don't use bettafix, it irritates the swim bladder causing it to expand, which will suffocate your fish.
  8. OP

    MitziNew MemberMember

    My parameters are in the OP

    Should I still do 50% water change despite these parameters? I'm thinking now it might be the dechlorinator... It says 5 ml for 5 gallons of water, and my water bucket for water changes are only 25% of my 5 gallons... and I add 2.5 ml, maybe it's too much?

    Also I baffled the filter earlier with an empty filter bag.

    Should I take out one plant at a time to identify which one is the culprit?
  9. OP

    MitziNew MemberMember

    A little update:
    I just removed the biggest plastic plants in there, which I think he might like to sleep in. I'm letting it dry so I can do the pantyhose test.

    Meanwhile, I did the pantyhose test on another plant I had bought and didn't use yet. It's silk but it didn't pass the test! It like pull strings out of the pantyhose... So I guess it isn't safe either? It is a PP-185 from Marina.
    I don't know what to trust anymore lol
  10. vivelafish

    vivelafishValued MemberMember

    Could you try providing live plants for him instead? They're much safer than plastic plants and some of them are really easy to care for and will do well in low light conditions. My betta loves resting and exploring his plants. Driftwood is also a good option for them as well. Both of these things provide safe cover. Also, is your filter intake too strong? Perhaps his fins are getting caught?
  11. OP

    MitziNew MemberMember

    Yeah as I said earlier I took care of both the intake and the flow with a cut filter bag!

    Also, my plastic plant dried and ironicaly does well with the pantyhose, contrary to the silk one oO so maybe it's not my plastic plant?

    I had thought about live plants, but I don't know if I can keep one in a 5 gallons, and wouldn't that require a specific substrate?
  12. vivelafish

    vivelafishValued MemberMember

    Oh sorry! I missed the intake part.

    Not all plants require a specific substrate. A lot of root-feeding plants that would enjoy a nutrient-rich substrate can also do well with root tabs. They're easy to care for. Other plants don't require any specific substrate at all because they feed on the water column. Some easy low-light ones that feed on the water column and grow fast include anacharis (which you can get for cheap in a bunch at any pet store) and frogbit, which float at the top and reproduce quickly. Bettas enjoy both. Anubia is also a popular choice. They feed on the water column and bettas like resting on their big leaves.

    For root feeders, I enjoy keeping crypts. They do well for me and multiply quickly with root tabs, which you can get for a really reasonable price via Peabody's Paradise. And score! Right now they're having a sale for fishlore peeps :)

    Fin rot is a possibility but it seems like your water parameters are okay... hm.
  13. OP

    MitziNew MemberMember

    You don't have to be sorry ^_^ Happened to me a lot as well.

    Do Anacharis grow big? Also will the betta want to lie on the Frogbit? Same questions about Anubia lol

    So fin rot doesn't happen in good water? I thought it was a disease that could happen in any conditions as long as the bacteria is present or something.
  14. PrinceOfPride

    PrinceOfPrideNew MemberMember

    I believe diseases like fin rot can occur in even well kept tanks if something stresses the fish out and as a result weakens the immune system. But since your first post said it was sudden, I figured it had to do with the filter or plants. If it is fin rot due to stress, keeping the water parameters good should let it heal over time. But yeah silk plants are usually softer, but some of them can come with stiff plastic stems which doesn't work too well.

    Also, for live plants I recommend Anubias. They're pretty hardy plants that don't require special care. I keep a few in my tanks, and I use basic gravel. Just weigh down or tie the roots to some driftwood or rocks, or you can even just let them float. My Betts loves resting on the leaves.
  15. vivelafish

    vivelafishValued MemberMember

    Well, my understanding is that the bacteria is inherent in tanks, but is not always harmful as long as you do regular water changes and keep the water clean, which I assume you've been doing because your water parameters look okay and you've mentioned that you've been keeping an eye on them. In my experience, fin rot occurs MOST often (but not always) when your water conditions are poor. If you're worried, you can do regular partial daily water changes to see if you notice any difference in his fins. Fin rot can also occur if the betta is stressed due to injury or being cramped. If none of these things sound like they're likely in your situation, then it could just be another factor (filter intake, plants, etc).

    Anacharis look like this:
    They can grow to be quite tall and stretch over the surface of your tank, but the good news is that you can just trim it but pinching it off or with scissors and replant them and they'll grow. You can leave them floating as well. I find my betta loves weaving through them. People jokingly say that anacharis are SO easy to plant and grow that you could leave them in your toilet and they'd still grow (obviously dont do this haha but that's just how easy they are. Great for beginners).

    Frog Bit looks like this

    I personally love Frog Bit. They multiply FAST so I don't feel bad about taking a handful and tossing them every now and then to let more light into the aquarium. I also think they look beautiful in aquariums. My betta loves to play with the roots too. He'll move them around with his head. It's adorable.

    Anubias are probably your best bet when it comes to leaves bettas like resting in. Unlike the two I mentioned above, they grow very slowly, but they're easy to care for. It's commonly mistaken that they need to be buried into the sand-- but actually, they do better when exposed to the water column. I find mine grow best when you tie them to a rock or piece of wood. You can find them easily at any pet store!

    Last one is java fern:
    Like anubia, they like to be exposed to the water column so they do best tied to something (usually driftwood, but you can do a lava rock or something as well). They don't grow as readily in low light, but bettas like resting in between the leaves. At least... in the past, mine have.

    Another huge pro when it comes to live plants is that they really keep the nitrate levels down and help naturally cycle the tank and keep the water parameters steady. Just remember that if you do buy plants, that you just isolate them first and make sure there are no pests on them before you toss them in your tank with the betta (trust me, pond snails are NOT fun). There are a few ways you can do this, but just a reminder to do so after your buy them!

    Hope this helps!
  16. OP

    MitziNew MemberMember

    Yeah looking at the receipt the silk plant costed me almost nothing while the plastic one was pretty expensive. I'm thinking maybe that's why the silk one is bad with pantyhose while the plastic one made it ok.

    I was actually thinking that if it happened suddenly it couldn't be plants, since he's been with those plants for two weeks and was fine until now. I had seen him a few time hang around them. I was really thinking that something stressed him such as the high heat from last week. But I guess if he started to sleep more often in the plants...

    Also I have a floating log but he doesn't seem to want to sleep inside. He always sleep on the top side when it's touching one of the wall. Now I'm trying to make it touch a wall the same way but it keeps going away.

    Also thanks Vivelafish for all your advices on plants, and PrinceOfPride too. I'll look into it in two weeks when I'll go to the pet store. I can't go before then :(
  17. Flowingfins

    FlowingfinsFishlore VIPMember

    Sorry I missed the parameters:)
    Finrot is an opportunistic disease, usually popping up when bad water parameters are present, and also when fins are ripped. The best treatment is clean water, I think large 50% water changes daily would be perfect for your fish. Many people will advise you to treat him with aquarium salt and bettafix, but both will do more harm than good.
    I second the live plants idea, java fern, anubias, and most mosses are great low light plants that need to be tied to rocks, driftwood, or decorations. Plants that do well planted are cryptocorne wendtii, vallisneria, and amazon sword. Hornwort and anachris are in between plants, they can be both planted and floated, while duckweed, red root floaters and frogbit do best floating.
  18. OP

    MitziNew MemberMember

    The 50% water changes are done to remove the fin rot bacteria? I'm afraid those many frequent changes will stress the fish and disturb my cycle since my tank is only 5 gallons
  19. Flowingfins

    FlowingfinsFishlore VIPMember

    The water changes will not affect your cycle, there is very little bacteria in the water. It is all(99% of it) in your filter media.
    The water changes won't stress him out, clean water is very beneficial for them. If you are really worried, syphoning it out and slowly pouring the new water back in with a cup will create very little flow.
    The water changes are to remove any waste or trace amounts of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate produced each day. This helps combat the bacteria and heals the fins.
  20. Aquaphobia

    AquaphobiaFishlore LegendMember

    Agree with Flowingfins. Larger water changes are very beneficial to Bettas, especially ones who are sensitive to their water conditions. The fact that your nitrate reading is 30ppm leads me to suspect that your current water change schedule isn't aggressive enough.

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