Tail Rot Or Self-mutilation?

  1. Megan Laubhan Initiate Member

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    Hello everyone!

    I have a beautiful betta named Alpha who I've had for about 3.5 months now. When I bought him, his tail was very full and beautiful, but over the past 3 weeks or so, his tail appears to be receding and has a tattered appearance (before and after pictures attached). Alpha is a very active fish and has shown no other signs of duress or illness. His fins are also just fine, it seems to be just his tail that is receding.

    He lives in a 5 gallon tank with a heater and filter and plenty of hiding spots and foliage. He also has two "betta Buddy" plants. I perform strip tests roughly once every two weeks and have never seen any alarming readings. I do a 25% water change 1-2 times a week and use a turkey baster as a pseudo-gravel vacuum to clean up waste.

    I'm trying to figure out whether or not my little guy has tail rot or is maybe just biting his tail...and how to treat him to make his tail healthy again.

    Thank you!
  2. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    Hi and welcome to the forum!

    It looks like self mutilation to me but there could be other causes. What kind of filter do you have? Did anything change just before the damage started? What are your strip test results?

  3. Megan Laubhan Initiate Member

    I can't think of anything that has changed as far as his tank goes. i did add a silk plant to his tank, but I only did that after I saw signs of a depleting tail and it was recommended to add silk foliage as the plastic ones may have been damaging his tail. The test strips have always been right in line with the "optimal" parameters.

    The filter I use is an Aqueon QuietFlow 10 power filter. We change the cartridges regularly, however for a while I did not realize you were supposed to change the filter pads as well as the cartridge so the water quality may not have been optimal for a while, but I did finally change it and have been alongside the cartridge at the appropriate time.
  4. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    You actually should not change those filter pads and when you change the cartridges you are supposed to save the floss to seed the new cartridge with bacteria. Without those bacteria your water quality will have got worse rather than better.

    What are the exact results of the tests?

  5. tunafax Well Known Member Member

    That's quite a difference. I would say he got anxious one day and feasted on his delicious tail, then fin rot took it from there.

    What is your treatment regiment?
  6. Megan Laubhan Initiate Member

    Right now, I've just been doing 25% water changes more frequently. I've been hesitant to start a "treatment" simply because of all the conflicting information I've been given. The pet store swore that BettaFix would cure him right up. I bought it but read some awful things on the internet so I haven't used it. I've just been focusing on keeping his water clean and all of his vital tank readings where they need to be.
  7. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    But what are your tank readings?

  8. Megan Laubhan Initiate Member

    Temperature is at 78 currently and hasn't fluctuated more than 77-80 since we got the tank.

    NO3: 20
    NO2: 0
    pH: between 7.5 and 8.0
    KH: 180
    GH: 180

    Sorry for my delay on the readings, I just got home and was able to check.
  9. twilysparklez Well Known Member Member

    Does he ever seem to struggle in the flow of the filter?
  10. Megan Laubhan Initiate Member

    I haven't personally seen him struggle with it, though it doesn't mean he hasn't at all. He is extremely active in his swimming and utilizes a good majority of his tank swimming "laps". So something tells me that the filter isn't disturbing him enough to keep him away from that side of the tank.

  11. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    Have you tried the "pantyhose test" on his decor? Basically you drag a piece of hosiery over the artificial plants and anything else in his tank and if it snags it's safe to say that it won't be safe for a betta's delicate fins either.
  12. Megan Laubhan Initiate Member

    Ooh no, but that's a really good idea. Do you think that's the problem?
  13. KnownToSome Initiate Member

    I must say, that is very sever damage and I also feel far too much to be purely mechanical, there is just so much fin ray showing

    I would suggest a treatment of Kanamyacin(aka:kanaplex) and furanol (Aka: bifuran, furan-2) together, in 3o minute baths at double dose if possible.
  14. Megan Laubhan Initiate Member

    I'm a little hesitant to put chemicals in his water. Is this something I can treat with aquarium salt?
  15. Sarah73 Fishlore VIP Member

    What kind of plants do you have? plastic ones will rip up his fins like that. Also test strips aren't the best to use. Maybe think about buying API Master test kit?
  16. Megan Laubhan Initiate Member

    I have one small plastic plant that is attached to his little hiding rock. The rest of my foliage are silk and I have two little natural betta Buddy plants.
  17. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    Salt is an irritant and Bettas are especially sensitive to it. It also requires a huge amount of salt to kill the bacteria responsible for fin rot, so much that it would kill your Betta. If frequent water changes don't help then choose real medications.
  18. Sarah73 Fishlore VIP Member

    That maybe the problem. I would try and remove the plastic plant, then see if his tail improves.