Help Persistent fin rot worse after treatment

lilcatgod

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Tank

What is the water volume of the tank? currently 20L hospital tank
How long has the tank been running? ~1 month, main tank 6 months
Does it have a filter? yes
Does it have a heater? yes
What is the water temperature? 29C
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) 1 betta, 1 endler (in the hospital tank) ; in main tank has nerite snails + cherry shrimp

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? every day in hospital tank , was every week in main tank (40L)
How much of the water do you change? 75% in hospital tank , before was doing 40% in main tank - initially in the hospital tank I was doing 75% every other day instead of every day - there was one day where I accidentally left it for 3 days. I believe he's likely had ammonia poisoning as was getting ammonia readings on that day and was getting trace when doing every other day (which is why I've gone to doing every day but might be too late!)
What do you use to treat your water? natural rapport all-in-one water conditioner + natural rapport gravel cleaner , used some API stress coat in hospital tank as concerned about natural rapport water conditioner interfering with medication
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? this is what I think may have caused the problem in the main aquarium - I was not properly vacuuming the substrate in the due to my vacuum having a shrimp guard / not wanting to kill shrimp and would just softly do it. The tank is planted up with live plants so I thought they would help.

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? In the main tank - yes, in the hospital tank - no as did not have the time -
What do you use to test the water? API master test kit
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Currently in the hospital tank:
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: 8

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? 1-2 times a day (for the past week has been 3-4 times a day as trying to get the betta to gain weight as I believe I've been underfeeding him - which may have also caused this problem in the first place)
How much do you feed your fish? 2-4 shrimp "chunks" or pellets and some flakes on top
What brand of food do you feed your fish? tetra betta flakes with crustaceans
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? unfortunately not - I am tempted to get some freeze-dried bloodworm to help him put on fat.

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? I've had the betta for 4-5 months
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? ~ 1 month ago when he developed a tear in his tail fin.
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? started out with fin rot on his tail with a split, which continued to develop and other nicks appeared. Is black edging around the tears (he's a mustard gas colouration). In the last few days (during the end of his myxazin treatment) he has started clamping and sitting at the bottom of the aquarium but still has an appetite / will become active. Both him and the endler look a bit irritated sometimes when swimming. The betta also looks like he has some black ulcerations / missing scales along his side and on top of his head and like he is more see-through down his lateral line and on his caudal peduncle. He also seems to have a little black bit above his mouth which i'm not sure what it is that has been there for a couple weeks now - wondering if perhaps columnaris?
I should note that prior to his fin splitting and all this treatment, I lost 2 endlers very suddenly within 24 hours of each other - both were swimming erratically and seemed to have swim bladder problems / getting 'pushed' around by the filter. One was emancipated once dead and the other was bloated. I responded to that by giving the betta and remaining endlers a quick bath in paraguard as that was the most appropriate treatment I had available at the time. It was approx 1 week after this that the betta started getting his fin split.
Have you started any treatment for the illness? did two rounds of ESHA 2000 initially to no success, then carboned out + gave a break and started waterlife myxazin treatment with API aquarium salt (two teaspoons to 20L)
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? No, he was very healthy - we've totally ruined him. He was from a high quality non-chain local fish shop.
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? He has become more pale.

Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)
Betta in hospital tank with suspected ammonia poisoning + fin rot + potentially columnaris. The ammonia poisoning due to my own stupidity - he is not breathing ultra rapidly or excessively gasping for air, however.
Fin rot has become increasingly worse since treatment (two rounds of ESHA 2000, one round of myxazin with API aquarium salt - currently on day 7 of myxazin + salt) and he now has a split in his analfin as well as a very ragged tail fin at this point. The fins have black edging that doesn't seem to want to budge.
He has some ulcerations on his head and his lateral line looks a bit raw, he also has a little black fuzzy thing above his lip that doesn't seem to be changing.
Behaviourally he has gone from very perky + acting totally normal to in the last few days sitting mostly at the bottom of the tank and appearing a lot weaker - however he does still have an appetite and comes up for food and will say hi. He still has some colour to him but he has definitely paled a bit.
He is not the best with water changes and gets stress stripes every time even though I ensure to match all parameters - his stress stripes quickly disappear though and think he just doesn't like the vacuum.

As I've done so many rounds of treatment I don't know what to do next as he's just getting worse. I'm tempted to move him back to the main tank where it's more stable and try and do another round of myxazin in there. I can't think of what to do next and feel so bad for the guy.

Any advice or help much appreciated with what I can do next to try and help him - can provide pics if needed.
 
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Desi

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Put him back in his main tank since you said the parameters are more stable there.. Id stop All medications since Bettas are extremely sensitive to them and it’s probably making his situation worse. For fin rot I'd do frequent water changes and add stress coat to his tank. Clean water is one of the best cures.
Could you also post a picture of him please?
 
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lilcatgod

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Desi said:
Put him back in his main tank since you said the parameters are more stable there.. Id stop All medications since Bettas are extremely sensitive to them and it’s probably making his situation worse. For fin rot I'd do frequent water changes and add stress coat to his tank. Clean water is one of the best cures.
Could you also post a picture of him please?
Thankyou - I fear I should have just never moved him to the hospital tank or tried to treat him - but I also wasn't sure at the time if there was something in the main tank that was causing his fins to rip. I was told esha 2000 and myxazin are okay for bettas :/

Here are some pics - sorry they're not the best camera was struggling to focus through the warped plastic. For some of the pics where he's more reflective I was shining my phone light on him

Gonna do a water change now to start phasing out the meds - should I also phase out the salt too in prep for him to go back to the main tank in a couple of days after phasing everything out?
P1100398.JPG

in this pic u can see the little black mark on his upper lip
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P1100401.JPG
P1100402.JPG
P1100403.JPG
P1100406.JPG
P1100407.JPG

can see where his lateral line is damaged in some way and can see a vein in his caudal peduncle where he is very thin / see-through
P1100412.JPG
P1100416.JPG
P1100408.JPG
 

MomeWrath

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I'm no betta breeder, but that fish does not look sick to me. I can see the vein in the caudal peduncle on all of my light colored fish. Yes his tail is a little ragged but those membranes are so delicate, sometimes it just happens. If you throw your fish in a hospital tank and start medicating it every time there's a tiny tear he will die from stress before the fin rot ever gets him.
-Stability
-quality food (and not too much! feeding a betta a high quality food once a day and even fasting once a week are fine)
- clean water
-low current...as low as you can get it. Think of a flag in high wind. The current grabs the edges of that long thin mebrane and makes teeny tears in it...every time he swims through a current more teeny tears...infection is sure to follow if those little tears get constantly re-torn. It's a sad thing but an adult veiltail with perfect fin edges is not very common in our commonly available bettas.

Also the black mark on his lip is just that, black coloring. He's going to change color, probably darker, through the first year of his life and beyond that. More iridescence will show up, and the ends of the fins may change color as well. Light blue fish often turn very dark as they mature. My daughter had one that went from completely white to dark blue almost black in the space of a couple months.

Good luck and let us know how he does.
 
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lilcatgod

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MomeWrath said:
I'm no betta breeder, but that fish does not look sick to me. I can see the vein in the caudal peduncle on all of my light colored fish. Yes his tail is a little ragged but those membranes are so delicate, sometimes it just happens. If you throw your fish in a hospital tank and start medicating it every time there's a tiny tear he will die from stress before the fin rot ever gets him.
-Stability
-quality food (and not too much! feeding a betta a high quality food once a day and even fasting once a week are fine)
- clean water
-low current...as low as you can get it. Think of a flag in high wind. The current grabs the edges of that long thin mebrane and makes teeny tears in it...every time he swims through a current more teeny tears...infection is sure to follow if those little tears get constantly re-torn. It's a sad thing but an adult veiltail with perfect fin edges is not very common in our commonly available bettas.

Also the black mark on his lip is just that, black coloring. He's going to change color, probably darker, through the first year of his life and beyond that. More iridescence will show up, and the ends of the fins may change color as well. Light blue fish often turn very dark as they mature. My daughter had one that went from completely white to dark blue almost black in the space of a couple months.

Good luck and let us know how he does.
Thanks for your advice. The dark edging round his fins definitely looks like fin rot, and the way that it was progressing certainly did too which is why I went on to try and treat him as it seemed just clean water wasn't working and I wasn't sure if the driftwood in his main tank was snagging him. He's also definitely clamped now.

I'm very careful to minimise the current and he has very soft flow in both his tanks.

The thing with the vein in the caudal peduncle though is he is actually a dark coloured fish. His skin is black and his scales are blue, when I first bought him his peduncle was dark blue and fleshy, not skinny and pale and veiny. I really think I've been so scared of overfeeding that I've been underfeeding him.

That's comforting about the lip thankyou. I think I am just going to phase out his salt / medication over the next day or two then get him back in the main tank and see how he does in there with just clean water again even though he's worse now :/.. feel very bad for the guy just been trying everything I can to help and seems maybe I've been trying too much!.. maybe if he keeps getting worse in the main tank with clean water I could do a half-dose run of myxazin to try and beat it? Unfortunately I can't use salt in the main tank as I have live plants - so also worried about that as salt seems to be very good even though I've had no luck with it.

I've ordered some fluval bug bites as I've heard they are good quality.
 

Desi

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lilcatgod said:
Thankyou - I fear I should have just never moved him to the hospital tank or tried to treat him - but I also wasn't sure at the time if there was something in the main tank that was causing his fins to rip. I was told esha 2000 and myxazin are okay for bettas :/

Here are some pics - sorry they're not the best camera was struggling to focus through the warped plastic. For some of the pics where he's more reflective I was shining my phone light on him

Gonna do a water change now to start phasing out the meds - should I also phase out the salt too in prep for him to go back to the main tank in a couple of days after phasing everything out?
P1100398.JPG

in this pic u can see the little black mark on his upper lip
P1100400.JPG
P1100401.JPG
P1100402.JPG
P1100403.JPG
P1100406.JPG
P1100407.JPG

can see where his lateral line is damaged in some way and can see a vein in his caudal peduncle where he is very thin / see-through
P1100412.JPG
P1100416.JPG
P1100408.JPG
Yes you can fade out the salt. His fins don't look as bad as I thought they would, so that's a good thing. Do you have any fake plants or sharp decor that could cause fin damage? Yes, definitely start the water changes and like I said stress coat is great and also indian almond leaves are great for betta health as well.

Desi said:
Yes you can fade out the salt. His fins don't look as bad as I thought they would, so that's a good thing. Do you have any fake plants or sharp decor that could cause fin damage? Yes, definitely start the water changes and like I said stress coat is great and also indian almond leaves are great for betta health.
As far as the black on his lip, it's really hard to see much to me it looks like his coloring?
 
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lilcatgod

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Desi said:
Yes you can fade out the salt. His fins don't look as bad as I thought they would, so that's a good thing. Do you have any fake plants or sharp decor that could cause fin damage? Yes, definitely start the water changes and like I said stress coat is great and also indian almond leaves are great for betta health as well.
Ah yes I forgot to mention I've had catappa leaves in his tanks the whole time.

In his main tank he has some lava rock and some driftwood which I've fully inspected (sanded down a lot of the driftwood) - there is a chance the initial tear could have come from that as it did have some sharp bits. That's why I first moved him to the hospital tank to isolate the cause but didn't put enough thought into how unstable the water would be in that circumstance. Since then, more tears have appeared which couldn't have been from anything other than fin rot as his hospital tank is just a plastic tub with some moss in (+filter+heater+airstone).

Thankyou!
 

MomeWrath

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I read your other post about the stress and I got the impression you were not as aware of bettas' special needs as you are, so I do apologize for my assumptions. I still recommend putting him back in his home tank where he feels safe and comfortable to lower his stress level, but you are smart to have the catappa leaves and it sounds like you are taking good care of him.
Just food for thought, a lot of these new types of bettas, with unusual coloration or X fin mutation are selectively bred from recessive genes. Dominant genes are dominant because they are more successful across a population. This is just my theory on bettas but the new breeds don't seem to be as resilient as they were when all you could get was a red, or occasionally blue, veiltail.
 
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lilcatgod

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MomeWrath said:
I read your other post about the stress and I got the impression you were not as aware of bettas' special needs as you are, so I do apologize for my assumptions. I still recommend putting him back in his home tank where he feels safe and comfortable to lower his stress level, but you are smart to have the catappa leaves and it sounds like you are taking good care of him.
Just food for thought, a lot of these new types of bettas, with unusual coloration or X fin mutation are selectively bred from recessive genes. Dominant genes are dominant because they are more successful across a population. This is just my theory on bettas but the new breeds don't seem to be as resilient as they were when all you could get was a red, or occasionally blue, veiltail.
Thanks for that! Have also been wondering the same about genetics - similar situation with endlers also it seems!

Do you think not being able to siphon the gravel well enough because of not wanting to harm shrimp may have contributed to it despite doing frequent water changes?

As i'm a new fish keeper it is very hard to gauge how much to feed - does he look skinny to you? How much do you recommend feeding bettas?

Also after moving him to the main tank - how long should I wait until I should see signs of improvement? / if it continues to degenerate how long would you recommend I wait until trying myxazin again? (seems myxazin is fine for inverts)

sorry for all the questions! Thank you
 

MomeWrath

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lilcatgod said:
Thanks for that! Have also been wondering the same about genetics - similar situation with endlers also it seems!

Do you think not being able to siphon the gravel well enough because of not wanting to harm shrimp may have contributed to it despite doing frequent water changes?

As i'm a new fish keeper it is very hard to gauge how much to feed - does he look skinny to you? How much do you recommend feeding bettas?

Also after moving him to the main tank - how long should I wait until I should see signs of improvement? / if it continues to degenerate how long would you recommend I wait until trying myxazin again? (seems myxazin is fine for inverts)

sorry for all the questions! Thank you
Siphoning gravel is one of those things that changes depending on who you ask. I personally only do it about once a month and never anywhere near my plants' roots. I would not think it is a major factor here. Especially if you have shrimp constantly vacuuming up food and algae.
I feed my bettas 5-6 pellets once a day. I use New Life Spectrum pellets and they seem to love it. I throw a couple bloodworms in there every so often just as a treat. Again though I won't tell anyone else what to feed their fish. It sounds like you have a good quality food. Yours doesn't look too skinny, but maybe you could break his portions up into a couple or three pellets two or three times a day. Maybe he will digest them better? Just a guess.
My opinion is that the hospital tank is more stressful than it is helpful in a lot of cases. I have used one for medicated baths before (methylene blue to treat a betta with ich) but I have never kept a fish in one for longer than a bath.
Most importantly (and this has nothing to do with the actual fish), don't beat yourself up and don't panic. It took time for him to get sick and it will take time for him to get better. Only bad things happen fast in aquariums.
 
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lilcatgod

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MomeWrath said:
Siphoning gravel is one of those things that changes depending on who you ask. I personally only do it about once a month and never anywhere near my plants' roots. I would not think it is a major factor here. Especially if you have shrimp constantly vacuuming up food and algae.
I feed my bettas 5-6 pellets once a day. I use New Life Spectrum pellets and they seem to love it. I throw a couple bloodworms in there every so often just as a treat. Again though I won't tell anyone else what to feed their fish. It sounds like you have a good quality food. Yours doesn't look too skinny, but maybe you could break his portions up into a couple or three pellets two or three times a day. Maybe he will digest them better? Just a guess.
My opinion is that the hospital tank is more stressful than it is helpful in a lot of cases. I have used one for medicated baths before (methylene blue to treat a betta with ich) but I have never kept a fish in one for longer than a bath.
Most importantly (and this has nothing to do with the actual fish), don't beat yourself up and don't panic. It took time for him to get sick and it will take time for him to get better. Only bad things happen fast in aquariums.
Thank you - I really hope he makes a recovery.
 
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lilcatgod

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**update**

He seems a bit perkier than this morning / yesterday however his fins have become noticeably worse I think even since this morning - they look very ragged at the edges, and now look red and bloody and like there's bits trailing behind

i really hope just clean water will be enough..
 

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