Now fin rot... Great.

  • #1
HELP! Now fin rot... Great.

Hey guys! Some of you may know I had to divide my 5 gallon tank TEMPORALLY to house two betta while I get my 10 gallon.. the problem is, I just realized Martini, who was originally living in this tank by himself, has fin rot!!!!! I'm assuming it may be due to the stress of his home being cut to half its original size because his tank is cycled, heated filtered and perfect water conditions... There's no fish meds here, only bettafix so I'll have to go with that one and I will buy it first thing tomorrow and keep up on my daily water changes

The thing is... Remember there's another betta in the tank right now... Is fin rot contagious???!! What should I do now?!

Pleeeease help I'm so frustrated right now :'(
  • #2
It is contagious, but with good water quality, keeping up with water changes (daily is good), and reducing stress on both bettas will do wonders. This will help cure and heal your sick betta and keep the other betta from getting the fin rot. I do recommend an antibacterial, which bettafix is, but if this doesn't do the trick, try using something a little stronger; since bettafix is watered down Melafix, you may have to give it a try if bettafix fails. Bettafix probably won't cure severe cases of fin rot. If all else fails and your betta is on the brink of death, you may have to operate on your betta. In this instance, you will have to remove the infected parts of the fins. Search the web and youtube for the procedures. Please use it as a last resort and use extreme caution.

I hope it clears up soon.
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Ughhh I'm panicking right now... I really don't want my new betta to get finrot too! But my boy MartinI has probably had it for some time now because I just realized and there's a HUGE hole on his tail wuite close to his body, and some of the edges are falling off too... I feel SO bad for not noticing before.

I'll get the bettafix first thing tomorrow, I just added one drop of methylene blue (I'm not sure if it helps at all but I think its worth giving a try).. What do you think about adding aquarium salt? I don't like to use it but at this point I'll do whatever I can to help my boys
  • #4
Yikes! Fin rot can def be scary. Yes its contagious but most fish are healthy enough to not catch it. Poor water conditions is the main cause, maybe up your routine water changes in the long run to prevent it from happening again. If its close to the body then you need to try to fix it asap because once it reaches the body then it can get pretty detrimental to the fish. They call that flesh rot. Aquarium salt could help. Its used widely as a preventative for a lot of fish ailments. I would add some asap, 1 rounded tablespoon for a 5 gallon. Maybe buy some Melafix. I use it on my bettas after they spawn to repair any nipped fins. It seems to work wonders. Normally repairs the fins in a few weeks, however that's just from spawning. Might be a little harder with fin rot.

Remember, bettas thrive in warmer water. I would keep the temp at least 78 deg even up to about 81 deg, esp while your little guy is sick. I would also suggest 50% water changes every other day. Add 1 rounded teaspoon of aquarium salt with every 50% water change and a half teaspoon of Melafix EVERYDAY for 7 days. Make sure you do another 50% watcher change on day 8. Also add one last 1/2 teaspoon of Melafix on day 8. Then its a waiting game. Hopefully you will see signs of improvement before day 8.

Keep in mind that when fin rot heals the new fin that is growing back will be colorless. That's normal. It may or may not get any color.

Heres a link to what Melafix looks like:

I hope that helps.
  • #6
50% water changes every day and a temp of 80. You don't need Betta fix- that actually doesn't help fins heal it helps them to regrow when they start coming back.
I had a case of fins falling out when I moved my Betta and I did nothing but clean water, Garlic in the food and Vitachem in the water- he healed within days.
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Thanks guys!!! I'll start on my water changes right away and I'm heading to my LFS right now to buy everything! I really hope he gets better

I'll definitely keep you posted.

Ken - I know the risk regarding bettafix but have actually found it working miracles for me too! Thanks for the link though The time I saw Martini's fins grow faster after I rescued him was when I used bettafix. As said on that link, the important thing is not to overdose it, so I always dose only half of what it says I should use I'm just bummed right now that after all the hard work, time and money I invested in my boy's fins getting better and after finally seeing some results he now gets finrot and his fins fall off... again.

  • #8
Keep in mind that Bettafix is Melafix reduced to 1/10th the concentration. So do NOT use a full teaspoon of Melafix in a 5 gallon tank! That would be overdosing's 1 teaspoon for a 10gal. I would do 1/4th a teaspoon at most for 7 days, with 50% water changes.
do that for a week--the finrot should have stopped and you should see regrowth. It did wonders for my boy!
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
I went to three different LFS today and didn't find bettafix at ANY! :'( Tomorrow I will go to a different store where I'm mostly sure they'll have it, I still did a very big water change today and my water had a weird smell... Not as in dirty water or anything like that, it was actually very similar to the smell of bettafix, and a very strong smell and I haven't put anything new into my tank. My boy has a really big hole in his fin extremely close to his body!

At one LFS the owner said there was a vet that went there once a week and is an expert with fish, and he told me that doctor uses an antibiotic meant for humans to treat his fish for fin rot and it works MIRACLES for him. He just dilutes the pill in water and dumps it into the water. The guy told me to go back tomorrow (the doctor wasn't there today) so he would give me a recipe but I'm scared of treating my fish with something that's actually meant for humans. What do you think?
  • #10
take your fish to an aquatic vet when it gets serious. If you run out of options, do NOT operate yourself!
  • #11
I think if your other boy is still healthy, he should be ok as finrot mainly strikes those with a weaker immune system, so don't stress too much!

That said, garlic guard, vitachem, garlic soaked bloodworm (yummy ) and water changes should work fine to keep it at bay. Remember, healing can take quite a while, so don't panic if it doesn't seem to be getting better right away!

Methylene blue is actually an excellent chem as a general antibiotic and it is quite safe if you don't get the dose quite right, much more so than any other meds. I've done some very good reading on it and I always stock it in my med cabinet now. I try not to use them, but it is an excellent first point of call for illness and infection such as this.

Be paitent and keep an eye on it. As long as the progression of disease is slowing or stopping, it means it's on its way to healing . If you trust your vet, then go with him if it progesses or starts to rapidly get worse. I'm sure if he's an actual fish vet he will have the best answer for you

Fingers crossed for your boys!
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Thanks Lea, and thanks everyone else for your help.. Sadly, I just had to sacrifice him.. his finrot quickly reached his body and it was so horrible he was actually bleeding in lots of places of his body.. I tried everything, antibiotics, bettafix, water changes, garlic guard, vita chem... Nothing worked... He was suffering so much and he couldn't swim or eat anymore, even his mouth had flesh rot... I'm so sad right now. I feel like a failure with this little boy, I tried to rescue him from a store and I never got him to recover completely and now I ended up killing him.

He was a sweetheart.. Never messed with my ottos, always got happy when he saw me, begged me for food and ate it out of my hand... I'm really gonna miss this little guy. I never thought I'd get so upset or even cry over a fishy, but he was my spoiled baby and my first betta

RIP Martini.


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  • #13
:'( oh poor Martini. your not a failure you tried everything you could to make him better, he was lucky that you rescued him because at lest he has a good home for before he passed.

R.I.P MartinI your gorgeous colors and calm attitude will be missed by many
  • #14
Awe I'm sorry sweetheart.
  • #15
I'm so sorry - i've never heard of finrot being so aggressive, how unfortunate.

You did a fantastic job and the best anyone could possible do in your situation. Well done for giving him a better life than her ever could have had otherwise :console:

And yes it is odd we can bond so well to these fish. I love fish, but when my first boy died of old age I was surprised just how much I missed him. I could never regard these animals as 'just a fish', which is why i'm so burned up when they get so commonly mistreated.

All the best with any future rescues, any other betta you rescue in future will be extremely lucky to have you
  • #16
I'm sorry that you lost your Martini..... as with humans, stress can have a really negative impact on fish health.
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
Thanks everyone for all your kind words.. Its great to know I can find so much help and support in this forum

  • #18
So Sorry for your loss
  • #19
So sorry for your loss.
  • #20
It may not have just been fin rot if there was bleeding. Fin rot is also a secondary illness caused by more serious infections. These more serious illnesses can occur from high stress levels, rough handling, fighting, recent importation and parasite infections.

Maybe your new guy had something that MartinI wasn't used to, or when his territory was halved he got really stressed and became open to bacteria and/or parasites that were already in the tank. Was he on the side of the tank with the water flowing more heavily from the filter?

On a side note, I am sorry about Martini, but at least he isn't suffering anymore. I am sorry that you had to put your fish down.
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  • #21
When his tank was undivided I saw a little "nip" on his analfin but thought nothing of it since his tail was in the process of healing so maybe I had never realized that little hole was there.. Then I saw another one and I thought maybe my ottos were nipping at him? it sounded crazy but just to be safe I took them out.. And then I had to divide my tank and it clearly got worse, so I guess stress was a big factor here to make it worse

I really keep my water very clean, I have a cycled 5gal and do water changes with gravel vacuums twice a week so I never really thought it was fin rot and I'm guessing I also started treating it a bit late when I finally realized what it was
  • #22
You did what you could which is important. Stress and other factors affect different fish in different ways just like people. Some deal with stress and changes much better than others. One tiny thing can be a death sentence for one fish and just and irritant to another. Good job on keeping up with water changes and cleaning your substrate. It is a learning process. I am still learning new things every day.

My favorite fish health, water chemistry, disease information, and treatment and prevention guide that goes into great detail and is easy to locate a specific piece of information is Manual of Fish Health: Everything You Need to Know About Aquarium Fish, Their Environment and Disease Prevention. It even has a section that you can begin with symptoms and then the book will take you to causes and illnesses associated with those symptoms along with treatment. It is easier to answer a fish health question with the book than the internet.

You can get the book on amazon at

I really recommend this book. You might be able to find it cheaper elsewhere. You can try the used link for cheaper prices.

Best wishes!!!
  • Thread Starter
  • #23
Thanks Scotty!! It looks great I just looked for it on Google and I'm probably gonna tell my mom to get it for me when she goes to the U.S Thanks everyone for your great advice and kind words
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  • #24
I seriously cannot believe this.... My other betta has fin rot now. Guys I seriously think I'm missing something, I just don't get it. Since MartinI died I've been doing 50% water changes DAILY, using stress coat as conditioner and soaking his food in garlic for a long time. WHAT is going on??!! I'm so frustrated please help me.. Am I doing anything wrong??? He has the tank to himself no stress factors or anything he is by himself in the 5gal.

This morning his fins were perfectly fine, I've been constantly monitoring him.. But right now in the evening I checked on him again and they were ALL SHREDDED!! I'm starting to think fish keeping is not for me I invest SO much time and money on my fish and I'm still getting it wrong. Please help me save my boy
  • #25
Since you've been doing daily water changes with Stress Coat and it doesn't seem to be getting better I suggest medication - Maracyn-Two + Maracyn. Fin rot can be difficult to get rid of from my own experience with Angelfish and their long soft fins. Keeping substrate clean is important too.

Other products to try would be VitaChem, Fresh Trace Elements and Fish Protector.

Sorry you lost your other Betta.
  • Thread Starter
  • #26
I've never seen any of those meds here in Venezuela!!! :'( But I'm definitely gonna look for them tomorrow. The only med I've seen here is bettafix, do you think it will help?? I was thinking of adding some salt as well but I don't want to do anything before receiving some advice
  • #27
Oh no. I'm so sorry - I hope it resolves soon for you. Keep at fish keeping - you're very good at it and are doing everything so well. This is just a pile of poor luck :console:

Methylene blue may help - its fairly safe even if you OD a little. It's a great antibiotic and can work as an anti-fungal. Give him a bath in it as follows I these excellent fish med sites and it may really help. Methylene blue is available most everywhere I think, which is why I suggest it.

These sites below are really excellent at explaining med function in detail, I hope it's helpful to you!


  • Thread Starter
  • #28
'Thanks Lea!! That's actually a very helpful website, I bookmarked it It will definitely help me for this and future occasions
  • #29
Yes I bookmarked it when I found it too!

ScottyGunz: I may have to order that book too for future reference.

Good luck andrea, your fingers are crossed for you.
  • #30
I agree that you should keep up with fish keeping. If you like, you can pm me any time.

Lea: Thank you for the sites, I bookmarked them as well. I was just browsing at a book store in the on sale section. I just happened across the book!
  • Thread Starter
  • #31
Thanks guys!! Today I went to buy some meds but everything was closed because its holiday here but monday I'll go first thing in the morning tomorrow they will be closed as well :'( His fins are a bit more shredded today but not THAT much, I'll try to most a pic in a while.. I haven't been able to do his water change today because we had a VERY long day, but I'm finally home so I'll get started right now
  • #32
If you are unable to get any medications, there are things that you can do in the mean time. I should have posted this earlier but I have been doing some self debate about the amount of salt to use for different aquarium needs.

The best salt to use is pure sea salt since it is all natural. Aquarium salt is ok but it lacks some minerals that are beneficial to both fresh and salt water fish.

For now this is what I am going with.

In instances that salt is being used for the treatment of sick freshwater fish, I recommend 1 tablespoon salt per 5 gallons at 80 to 85 degrees with 25% or greater water changes daily (try 80 degrees first; if you see no signs of improvement, gradually increase the temperature). Do this for 5 days. You should see improvement in 3 days, but it is not definitive. After 5 days, reduce salt to 1 teaspoon salt per 10 gallons and continue the temperature and water changes.

For regular use, the 1 teaspoon salt per 10 gallons is a good ratio to go with. Freshwater is considered salt free (hence the label freshwater), however, naturally occurring freshwater is not completely salt free due to the trace amounts of salt absorbed in the water. Small amounts of salt is beneficial to freshwater fish in my opinion. There is a lot of debate about its beneficial and not so beneficial properties and the amount to use in aquariums. I believe a small amount of salt is good because of the fact that trace amounts are naturally occurring in the fishes natural environment, but there is also the argument that today's bettas have been breed in captivity long enough to be used to water without salt.

It is up to you to use salt or not. I suggest doing a bit of research on the topic and decide what is best for you.
  • Thread Starter
  • #33
Sure thing Scotty, I think I'm gonna go ahead and do it since I'm really scared of it getting worse, I'm quite scared of finrot after what happened to MartinI so I'll do anything I can.. I just added two drops of Methylene blue and I'll slowly start adding salt starting from right now, I only have aquarium salt though but I'll look for more on Monday when the stores open up.

I have used salt on bettas before and have never had problems with it, actually my problems started when I stopped adding it! Just did about 75% change and will keep on doing daily until I see improvement. I added some extra stress coat to his water as well Keep your fingers crossed!
  • Thread Starter
  • #34
Guys... I'm starting to think he may be a tail biter.. He was inside his little cave swimming in circles I didn't get to see exactly what he was doing in there.. Should I feed him more so he's not hungry? I have some pics I just took.. Tell me what you think

If you think he is actually biting his tail how can I make him stop??

EDIT: I just put a sponge on the filter intake just in case


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  • #35
He is gorgeous! Tail biting is usually indicative of a health issue, not hunger.
  • Thread Starter
  • #36
Thank you Scotty!! I'm not 100% sure he was biting his tail because he was inside his cave.. but he swam in circles for a long time, and I'm not sure this looks like fin rot.. That's not what Martini's finrot looked like!

I'm so sorry I feel like I'm getting annoying already
  • #37
I found this article on nippyfish.

"On occasion, ratty and mangled fins are the result of a Betta biting his own tail rather than outside causes. It is suspected that in most cases, the ragged fins are a result of poor water quality or injury from tank decor or other fish. Too often people believe their betta is biting his own fins when the problem is environmental but in some cases the damage is self-induced. First, Betta owners should rule out other factors like poor water quality, sharp rocks, pointy plants, heavy filter suction or aggressive tankmates. I then recommend observing the fish closely to see if he can be caught in the act.

The reasons Bettas bite their own fins are unknown. Some say it’s stress, others say boredom and still others think it could be hunger, pent up aggression or even hereditary. The truth is, we just don’t know. There are a few things you can do to help him along. First, continue to keep your water very clean to avoid infection. Some Betta keepers have successfully broken the habit by changing the aquarium decor around or by adding more silk or live plants. Moving the tank to a new location or the fish to a new tank may help. Adjusting the light levels may be useful too reduce reflections which may fuel your Bettas aggression. If your aquarium is large enough, you may find adding a few peaceful community fish will keep your Betta occupied.

In addition to clean water, you can also add Pimafix, Bettafix or half strength Melafix to the tank to help regenerate fin growth. If your betta reacts to the medication negatively, discontinue use."
  • #38
I am very sorry to read this but I agree with lea, you did the most you could. you really worked hard and helped me with my own problem which I appreciate and Brolly too, since he is recovering thanks to your advises..

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