Please help my betta's fins

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Wren, Jun 16, 2016.

  1. WrenNew MemberMember

    Hi, I'm a novice to fish keeper who decided to buy her first betta tank a month ago. My mother use to keep fresh water tropical fish when she was a girl and I had been toying with the idea for a while and on the advise of my mother decided to start with betta.

    on the 24th of May I purchases my tank from 'Pets at home' which is a large pet store here in the uk. The equipment and decorations I purchased where on the advise of the girl serving there.

    The tank itself is a split 20 lt with heater and filter and a simple led lamp on top. I decorated this with gravel, pebbles and silk plants all brought from the store. I have recently purchased a perspex tube which I cut in half and have been using to form a sort of cave with the pebbles. This however is a very recent addition after the start of my woes :(


    After 8 days of running the tank with treated water I purchases my first betta (Iccy) from a breeder. I added the quick start and everything was going fine. 5 days after I purchased my second betta (Carl) from the same breeder and places him in the second half of the tank.

    On the advise of the breeder I also added 1 level tsp of aquarium salt (dissolved) and half an Indian almond leaf to the tank.

    All was well for a further 4 days then I decided to do a 25% water change using 2 2lt bottles of treated water I was keeping to the side.

    The day after I noticed tears in Iccy's fins and could not find the cause of. I asked a friend who also keeps fish as well as the pet shop expert who both seemed to agree it looked like they had been nipped. Odd for a fish who was alone in his half of the tank.

    I could not work out what had changed since the water change but assumed that maybe I had increased the water level in the tank and my other betta, Carl, was somehow nipping Iccy's fins through the slits in the top the the tank.

    But even after reducing the water level, Iccy's fins just seem to be getting worse.
    Here is picture of Iccy. On the left was when I got him, the middle was the day after the water change and the third is how his fins looked today.


    Carl on the other hand looks just the same as ever (left when he arrives, right was taken today):

    I took both fish out of the tank and gave it a complete clean before added them again (the water didn't seem to be too bad when I tested it but I thought this would be the safest thing to do. However the following day his fins seem to have gotten worse!

    I have today removed Iccy from the tank and made a make-shift tank for him out of a large, clean, preserves jar and a mini heater with fresh treated water:

    I have also added some of the following to the water:  

    This is how the water tested today thought I doubt there would have been anything wrong as the tank had just been cleaned and will need cycling again:

    Someone thought the problem may be the gravel in the tank which seems quite course. I have purchases some large gravel to replace it if this seems advisable:


    Products I've also been using:

    I feed these boys on daily live white mosquito larvae. The flakes I started with but they were not really eating it (spoilt boys!) and the freeze dried blood worms I only give them now and then like after their water change (I felt so guilty!).

    If any of you have any advise of how I can help my poor Iccy I would really appreciate it! Despite his troubles he is still really lively and as greedy as ever.

    Could someone also let me know if I will ever get his fins back to their past glamour?

    Thanks for reading.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  2. Aquaphobia

    AquaphobiaFishlore LegendMember

    Hi and welcome!

    Do you have all the parameters? Ammonia, nitrites and nitrates? It seems that you know the nitrogen cycle so that's good. However, no water changes should be done within 2 weeks of adding Safe Start so that may have screwed up the first cycle. If you use it again don't use it within 24 hours of using water conditioner and leave the tank alone for 2 whole weeks, not water changes or testing at all!

    I would also forget about using the salt, you have conditioner so the salt is just not needed.

    Welcome to the forum!
  3. OP

    WrenNew MemberMember

    I have to confess the 100% clean was a knee-jerk reaction to what was happening to Iccy so I probably did that before the cycle completed. I wasn't sure of the Ammonia levels as I only just got the tester kit but the Nitrates were climbing to between 25-50ppm on the strip. Nitrites was up to 1ppm.

    I have a small piece of filter sponge in the outlet of my filter as the current it produces is very strong. I was wondering if that was effecting it's ability to filter. Also note that Iccy is not on the half of the tank with the inlet.

    Thank you for the wlecome ^^

  4. Aquaphobia

    AquaphobiaFishlore LegendMember

    I understand about knee-jerk reactions. It's ok, I don't think you did any real harm, at least nothing your Iccy can't quickly heal from:)

    Before the 100% clean though just doing an ordinary water change is not supposed to be done because it may interrupt the cycling process with Safe Start. The tests may also be untrustworthy.

    If you want to try with a bacterial additive again, Seachem Stability is slightly different in that you can do all your regular water changes;)
  5. OP

    WrenNew MemberMember

    Ok, I'll keep away from my tank's water for 2 weeks.

    So my only concern now is what to do with Iccy. I don't know if putting him back in the tank yet is a good idea as he fins were visibly worsening, even in the clean water.

    If I was to keep him in the jar how long would you recommend for and how/when should I change the water?

    I still have Carl in the tank to help it cycle.

    Thank you for all your help by the way.
  6. Aquaphobia

    AquaphobiaFishlore LegendMember

    Great. I would recommend adding another bottle of Safe Start if that's the route you wish to take. Alternatively you can do daily testing and dosing with Prime, doing water changes if necessary.

    Iccy will benefit from frequent water changes so if you use Safe Start I would leave him out. If you choose the other way though I would say put him back. With Prime it is possible to get a fish through the cycling process:)
  7. happygolucky

    happygoluckyWell Known MemberMember

    Well in one of my bettas, his fins just deteriorated with age. As he grew older, his fins slowly fell away until he barely had any left. I fed him well, no sharp objects, weekly water changes in a 10g. I think some fish are just weaker from inbreeding and can have bad genetics.

    Yours may just be ripping his (hopefully), and the gravel wouldn't be the problem. First things first, cycle your tank. You don't want his fins to get infected. After it cycles (with the SafeStart, Stability, or whatever), do a bunch of water changes for a couple of weeks. How rough is that green fake plant with the lily pad on top? If plastic, those could beat up a betta pretty bad as he swims through them.
  8. KyleMarie

    KyleMarieValued MemberMember


    I've never had a male Betta, and I've also never had any of my girls do this, but I've heard that Bettas bite their own fins. Maybe your guy isn't actually sick and hes doing that. I figured it might just be something to consider.
  9. OP

    WrenNew MemberMember

    I think I'll leave him out for now just in case it still might be something in his tank ripping his fins (I might pulls some bits out and make some changes) I'll change his water ever other day then and add him back after 2 weeks. Should I keep up with his treatment or just leave it out after the first water change?

    They are all silk plants that I currently have in there. I originally purchased plastic but read up on their fins and quickly discarded them for these. The tendrils coming down from the lily are quite soft and both fish love lounging on them. When I created the perspex tunnels I also sanded and rounded the edges so they wouldn't catch. My only worry really is the leafy silk plan as it has little flowers at the base whose petals might be slightly sharp. I may take that one out of Iccy's side and find something softer.

    I thought this after the first bit of damage I noticed on his back, but I haven't seen him acting strangely and some of the new damage on his fins I can't see him reaching. So not sure.
  10. Aquaphobia

    AquaphobiaFishlore LegendMember

    A trick I've heard of using to check whether decor is fin-safe is to take a piece of nylon stocking and drag it across the surface you're concerned about. If it snags it's not safe;)

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