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Old 11-04-2012, 07:37 AM   #1
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Very recently adopted a tail biting betta - never owned a tail biter before...

Hi all,

I have very recently adopted a betta who is a known tail biter.

I have not had any fish for quite a few years now - and the only ones I've ever owned were betta's. None of my betta's ever ate their own tails though. So I have been obsessively searching the info to update my care knowledge and also read up on this self inflicted tail damage problem.

Hoping some of the very knowledgeable people here will be able to keep me on the right track with this little guy. I have learnt from other posters the importance of keeping photo logs to track progress so am doing this also.

He was originally purchased by his previous owner as a beautiful half-moon but his owner tells me that he quickly became a consistent tail biter and in the 10 months since she bought him he has routinely eaten more than half the length of his tail off. She tells me it does start to grow back but despite her best efforts he just always chomps it back down again (she had concluded that perhaps it is just too heavy for him and he likes it shorter).

I am keen to troubleshoot this problem behaviour and help this little guy to be happy and healthy if I can, hopefully breaking the tail biting habit and grow back his fins to their gorgeous natural size. But I am definitely not a betta/fish expert. I have owned numerous Betta's in the past and none of them ever bit their own tail.

I am using the Seachem Prime Water Conditioner (as was his previous owner) and I was wondering if I could also start using the Seachem Stress Coat as part of his everyday water content and if that would help the growing process for his tail? Also looking for clarity about whether this product is used WITH the prime water conditioner, or instead of, or only ever meant to be used in a treatment/hospital tank to encourage repair of visible wounds instead of as an always included product after water changes.

His previous owner assures me that although he has been a tail biter since his day one with her - that he has never suffered fin rot as a result.

I have been shown the photos of how he looked when he was younger and she had just purchased him and at that time he had zero tail damage – his tail was full and beautiful so I know the behaviour started once he made the move.

Since I agreed to adopt him - I have been researching like crazy about ways people find work with their tail biters to break the habit and repair the tail.

Poor little guy.

What I know of his history:
He was purchased in Asia and then transported in a suitcase.
Since then he has been living in a glass bowl that is about 3 gallons (for about 9 months now).
No filter.
No heater.
At least once or twice a week 100% water changes.
Owner’s feeding routine was giving him 4 Hikari baby pellets a day for food (usually given at four spaced out / different times of the day, so one pellet each feeding time) – on one day of the week though he was getting frozen blood worms.
He has had the 3 gallon bowl all to himself but I believe his glass tank was sitting next to another glass betta bowl in his previous home.
I have taken him in and purchased the bowl he has been living in from his previous owner.

I am just about to place an order for completely new decorations such as plants / floating log / mirror etc to just experiment and gradually swap out one by one all of the decorations he currently has and has always had in his bowl and see if perhaps one of the objects in his environment has been the tail biting trigger.

I've also read that sometimes just moving the position of the tank or the lighting in the room etc can be enough to break the cycle (depending on why the fish is doing it) and so will wait a week before changing decorations to see if he is happier just from being in his new location inside my home.

Very keen to help this little guy repair his beautiful tail because the photos of him are truly stunning before he ate his fins back to kind of delta size but also because this behaviour doesn’t seem to be an indication of a happy, stable, content little fish.

From all my research, and in trying to pin point the WHY he is doing it - he does not fit the criteria of a 'highly aggressive' or 'skittish/neurotic' fish...so I'm leaning toward he may have always been too bored, too hungry or it is a hereditary bad habit. He seems like a happy guy, doesn’t act sluggish, or scared and is always eager to come straight up to the surface to greet me for food. Spends most of the day just calmly swimming all around this bowl.

I have read about the possible solution of getting him some companion fish to see if that keeps him more occupied and less interested in his tail but as he has never ever had tank mates before I would like to try all the more subtle changes first. If it gets to this point; How many companion fish would you say is a happy and safe mix in a 3 gallon tank with just one betta? (and which companion fish would be most recommended).

So any other advice you can offer regarding successfully repairing his fins – but most importantly stopping the biting would be appreciated.

I am also interested to hear from Betta owners who swear by or swear off the Moss balls (both the Marimo live Balls and the Fluval imitations – and the pro’s and con’s of live v’s artificial in an uncycled tank).

Lastly, is anyone able to tell me if you have ever heard or seen any info regarding whether dried blood worms are known to cause constipation / digestive problems with betta’s. As compared with using the frozen blood worm cubes?

His previous owner loved him very very very very much and I’m sure she took very good care of him and all her other betta’s (he was the only tail biter she had) – She had tried many things to break his bad habit and is knowledgeable about betta’s but I still have my fingers crossed he may be able to be helped.

He has been with me a few days now and I have not actually caught him in the tail biting act – but I am preparing myself because I have been shown pictures by his previous owner of him with part of his tail still hanging out of his mouth!!!

Thank you very much for any help you can offer and also for sharing your time.

Kind regards,
Onbu.
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Old 11-04-2012, 01:09 PM   #2
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to AA! Hopefully you'll figure out how to solve your issue with your betta. I've never had a problem like that before and wouldn't know where to start. Good luck
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Old 11-04-2012, 01:57 PM   #3
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Welcome my dear!

Perhaps the betta would THRIVE in a small (10g) tank? Maybe a heater, a filter, and plenty of clean water will help his tail heal.
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Old 11-08-2012, 02:39 AM   #4
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So far so good....

8.11.12

Dear members,

Just wanted to touch base and let you know this little betta seems okay since moving in with me.

I’ve copied the observation notes below that I have been keeping (if you’re interested)


1) Does anyone know a reliable/trusted supplier online who will ship me the food products mentioned in the notes at a reasonable price and who accepts pay pal?

2) Can anyone tell me if it is safe to use an artificial ‘Fluval Moss Ball’ (the fake version of the live Marimo Balls) inside a 3 gallon tank? I am asking because the product specs on the Fluval Ball say it treats tanks from 10-20 gallons, so am wondering if it would be ‘too strong’ in however it is supposed to work or harmful at all to put it inside a 3 gallon tank. (Just looking at it for entertainment purposes really – but if it does help with the water then that is a bonus).

3) Can anyone suggest the most likely reason for the sudden change of ‘frantic/aggressive’ personality I saw on the night of Wednesday 7.11.12 – Could it have had something to do with the Seachem Stress liquid I added to his bowl – and from your experience, can you tell me if it does actually sound like it was a negative or positive behaviour change?


Behaviour/General Observation notes::

*This betta came into my home on Friday 2nd of Nov 2012.
* He had been living with his previous owner since January 2012.
* She had purchased him as a beautiful half moon betta with zero tail damage, in Asia and brought him back packed inside her suitcase.
*After he moved into her home, he has routinely chomped off over half his natural tail length. Owner reports that his tail does try to grow back, but once it does he always eats it back down to his ‘preferred size’.

Fri 2.11.12 owner brought him over to my house so this is the first day with me. Bowl, products, food, bowl decorations all exactly the same as he has always had. We set up his bowl together and I learned all I could from her about her ‘routine’ with him. Previous owner says he looks very calm, doesn’t seem stressed by move – eating normally – enthusiastic to greet us at waters surface when we move near his tank.

Tuesday 6.11.12 My lounge room now reporting at 26 degrees. This is the first day of blood worm feeding with me – seems like he absolutely loves them. Grabs them at the surface and even swims down to get them as they start to sink. Then later this night was his first water change with me. Used the Seachem Prime from his old owner, and did not put his green elephant house back into his bowl because the space inside it is really small and I have read about tail biters who do it when they are inside their ‘cave’ or ‘house’ and removing that object can stop the tail biting trigger. I am going to buy him another house but one that has a much bigger space inside so perhaps his fins feel less squashed or irritated when he tries to sleep inside it. After I changed the water I put him back into his bowl and he seems very happy and calm.

Wednesday 7.11.12 Today I added some Seachem Stress Coat to his bowl (because my order for it arrived today). He didn’t really react at all after I added it BUT later in the evening when I went over to talk to him he flared at me – which his owner says he never does and which I had never seen him do to us. So I watched him for a while from a distance. He actually seemed agitated. He was swimming all around, up and down, but his swimming seemed a bit frantic, not his usual cruising calmly swimming around. I was quite worried but did not know if perhaps this was him ‘at his best’, or not feeling hungry, or maybe with warmer water than he was use to so just acting ‘natural’….not sure if it was a good thing or bad thing….worried he was reacting negatively to the Seachem Stress I had added to his water earlier because I know that product has never been used with him in the past. Later on he did seem to settled down a little and go to rest/sleep on the bottom of his bowl like he usually does when the lights are turned off.

Thurs 8.11.12 He came up for his breakfast pellet, did not flare when he saw me and ate the pellet normally. He seems calm again today. His water is reporting colder this morning though as the sun is not coming through the window properly yet and the room is reporting at 25 degrees. Seems to be hanging out just kind of staying near the surface of the water. I am staying home today so will keep a close eye on him, The good news is – Since he arrived here on Friday – I have not seem any damage to his tail, nor have I caught him attacking or even being interested in his tail. But that could change because his owner said he only eats it once it starts to grow back past the length ‘he likes’…and at the moment, the tail is short and I can not actually see any ‘new growth’ or transparent ends that look like it is growing back, so, fingers crossed IF it tries to grow he will just leave it alone now.
Delivery information for his new decorations that I ordered online looks like they will arrive on Monday which is great.
Bad news is I can not locally source either of the food pellets that were recommended (Omega One Betta Pellets & New Life Spectrum Betta Pellets) – and Amazon suppliers will not ship either of them to my location. Planning to have a look for a different source online that I can order and have them delivered from.

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Old 11-08-2012, 08:41 AM   #5
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My daughters betta will occasionally flare at me. He always has. He never flares at my husband or our daughter. Just me. It could be something you're wearing that he doesn't like, or he could have caught his reflection in the glass. Since he was acting overly agitated, I'm going to say either he was catching his reflection, or something was off in the water parameters.
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Old 11-11-2012, 05:08 AM   #6
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Perhaps we have found the trigger!

Saturday 10/11/12:
Amazon fish related order arrived this morning.
Completed 100% water change with Seachem Prime and Stress Coat.
Added 2 x new silk plants (one looks like a penny wort replica the other has tall long fern type leaves) and also added a small zoo-med betta floating log with feeding hole.
Put fish back into his tank with the newtoys – he was calm, seemed happy, floated around calmly-looked to be exploring his new decorations but did not seem stressed by any of it nor did he seem to be avoiding any of the pieces. Within 5 minutes of being put into his bowl he was even swimming straight through the floating betta log, inside, outside, all around – took a pellet through the feeding hole - he even used the bulb of wood on the outside to rest his nose on and seemed very happy with it.
Probably about an hour later I was watching him from the couch – he swan inside his log and then the next minute he was thrashing round in circles like Ive never seen him do before anywhere in his tank.
I moved from the couch and sat by his tank, watching and my hubby sat watching from the other end. After another few minutes he swam back inside the floating betta log – it looked like once he was inside he then relaxed and tried to settle down inside it – his fins floated/expanded/branched out – and he immediately then started thrashing round and round in circles, like he was trying to attack his fins – perhaps because they hit the inside of the log and he thought he was being attacked by something or…?
I took the floating betta log straight out if his tank.
Then put in a new floating lily pad instead. (almost exactly the same as the one he has always had in there)
It looks like there is new damage now to the longest part of his back fin and also a chunk out of his tail fin – but it is really hard to know for sure because I have not seen new damage before and his tail is pretty ragged already from past abuse).
I plan to watch him carefully over the next week – now that I have seen this new frenzied tail attack behaviour, it seems quite feasible that his little house that he had always had but that I did take out of his tank a few days after he moved in with me, was the tail biting trigger. I had removed that little house and never saw him showing any interest in his tail until I gave him the floating betta log – which once inside that it I could clearly see what was happening.
I am slightly concerned now that his new silk plants that branch out through his bowl…which I had hoped would give him new ‘hiding’ and playing and exploring stimulation could in fact trigger the same behaviour – as he swims by the leaves they could touch his fins and set him off on the circling tail attacks – but I have not seen that reaction caused by the leaves yet and he has been swimming in between them and all around the bowl today – something to watch out for though.
At present it appears the behaviour is only triggered when his fins are touched inside a ‘confined space’.
Hubby is concerned that now he does not have a ‘house’ or ‘cave/log’ he can go into whenever he wants that will not be able to get enough ‘dark time’ to sleep properly or enough when he needs to. Hubby has suggested that if he does has this specific confined space tail biting trigger and that is the reason he attacks it all the time/never lets it grow back properly – that perhaps we need to start covering his bowl with a towel/sheet or something to make it dark for him…in place of giving him a ‘cave’ to go inside. I want to do more research to see if that is necessary.

Any thoughts or suggestions from members are welcome!

Thank you

PS: I have Attisons betta pellets being shipped from the IBC. Still yet to find supplier who will ship here and has Omega One or New Life Spectrum pellets tho.
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:03 AM   #7
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Okay. You are doing a good job! I am not an expert, I have had my Betta only 3 months but some experience with a few topics you touched on.

Flaring is good! My Betta didn't flare for a few weeks but as his condition improved he did it more and more. Now he flares at least once a week, sometimes a bunch in one day. I even saw him flare at nothing like he was putting on a show after making a bubble nest.

My bf's young betta ate freeze dried blood worms and did develop swim bladder disease and dropsy soon after, subsequently death. The problem was likely that they were fed to his fish unsoaked in tank water, which is recommended. He also was fed too many at once, although that was what the directions indicated. I personally won't feel okay with any freeze dried foods again, period. Poor fish, I still feel bad. Miss him. His name was Harris.

Okay the next thing is the tail biting, my fish Marshall bit his tail severely before I brought him home, I just didn't know it at the time but 2/3 of his fins were missing! Since I've had him he has grown a great deal of finnage back but also attacked it twice. Each time I felt either the current was too strong or he was stressed over changes, for example his tank leaked and I moved him to a new tank abruptly.

I decided to give my fish as natural of a habitat as possible full of plants and shade and tannins in his water. He lives in a huge 29 gallon with only snails and 15+ plants, a floating log like the one you have, floating plants to sleep in, Mopani driftwood that colors the water like tea, and a very very slow small filter, a whisper10i technically meant for a tank 1/3 the size I've got it in.

Also have a real Marimo moss ball, love it but mostly cuz it's cute. My fish loves the floating Brazilian pennywort the best. He likes the log to hang out or watch us from. He needs the plants to keep a bubble nest in otherwise the current breaks them up.

I think that the tail biting is not something to worry too much about only because you can drive yourself nuts! The reason they most likely do it is that we have bred these unnaturally long fins into the breed and they feel constricted. They have free will to alter their bodies, and I see it as an effort to be rebellious! Like a teenager with tattoos and a spikey mohawk, they reject the system and tell their parents to get bent okay time for bed lol I'm getting silly

Good luck friend!

Ps- agree w hubby they feel more secure with "places" to rest. Test the log out a few more times if possible, mine uses the log more than anything on the bottom surface. Provide a dynamic space somehow.

Pps: photos of his tail over the months
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Old 11-26-2012, 03:16 AM   #8
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So how's the betta doing? Has he still been biting his tail?
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:16 AM   #9
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Exclamation Emergency: Pls help if you can, something has gone very wrong

Dear members:

26/11/12 Monday TODAY = What a stressful few days it has been in my house!!!
I have no idea what happened, everything was going so well with my little adopted fish – even my known tail biter was seeming okay and then everything took a turn for the worst.

If you do not have time to read through all the observation notes I have been keeping – or have not read any of my other posts regarding these little guys coming into my home (first notes start from 2/11/12 when the tail biter came into my home) then please just skip down to the part in this new post starting with the section headed **EMERGENCY TIME!!! 23/11/12 ONWARDS.

*********************************

Saturday 10/11/12:
Amazon fish related order arrived this morning.
Completed 100% water change with Seachem Prime and Stress Coat.
Added 2 x new silk plants (one looks like a penny wort replica the other has tall long fern type leaves) and also added a small zoo-med betta floating log with feeding hole.
Put fish back into his tank with the newtoys – he was calm, seemed happy, floated around calmly-looked to be exploring his new decorations but did not seem stressed by any of it nor did he seem to be avoiding any of the pieces. Within 5 minutes of being put into his bowl he was even swimming straight through the floating betta log, inside, outside, all around – took a pellet through the feeding hole - he even used the bulb of wood on the outside to rest his nose on and seemed very happy with it.
Probably about an hour later I was watching him from the couch – he swan inside his log and then the next minute he was thrashing round in circles like Ive never seen him do before anywhere in his tank.
I moved from the couch and sat by his tank, watching and my hubby sat watching from the other end. After another few minutes he swam back inside the floating betta log – it looked like once he was inside he then relaxed and tried to settle down inside it – his fins floated/expanded/branched out – and he immediately then started thrashing round and round in circles, like he was trying to attack his fins – perhaps because they hit the inside of the log and he thought he was being attacked by something or…?
I took the floating betta log straight out if his tank.
Then put in a new floating lily pad instead. (almost exactly the same as the one he has always had in there)
It looks like there is new damage now to the longest part of his back fin and also a chunk out of his tail fin – but it is really hard to know for sure because I have not seen new damage before and his tail is pretty ragged already from past abuse).
I plan to watch him carefully over the next week – now that I have seen this new frenzied tail attack behaviour, it seems quite feasible that his little house that he had always had but that I did take out of his tank a few days after he moved in with me, was the tail biting trigger. I had removed that little house and never saw him showing any interest in his tail until I gave him the floating betta log – which once inside that it I could clearly see what was happening.
I am slightly concerned now that his new silk plants that branch out through his bowl…which I had hoped would give him new ‘hiding’ and playing and exploring stimulation could in fact trigger the same behaviour – as he swims by the leaves they could touch his fins and set him off on the circling tail attacks – but I have not seen that reaction caused by the leaves yet and he has been swimming in between them and all around the bowl today – something to watch out for though.
At present it appears the behaviour is only triggered when his fins are touched inside a ‘confined space’.
Hubby is concerned that now he does not have a ‘house’ or ‘cave/log’ he can go into whenever he wants that will not be able to get enough ‘dark time’ to sleep properly or enough when he needs to. Hubby has suggested that if he does has this specific confined space tail biting trigger and that is the reason he attacks it all the time/never lets it grow back properly – that perhaps we need to start covering his bowl with a towel/sheet or something to make it dark for him…in place of giving him a ‘cave’ to go inside. I want to do more research to see if that is necessary.
I have Attisons betta pellets being shipped from the IBC. Still yet to find supplier who will ship here and has Omega One or New Life Spectrum pellets tho.

Sunday 11/11/12
Added one more silk plant to his bowl today. (3 in total now plus floating lily pad)
He appears so much more confident and brave when it comes to the silk plants today. I have been watching him try different and new routes of getting around and between the plants – have seen him seem to be resting on/squished between the bunched leaves of the pennywort.
Have not yet seen with my own eyes him spin in tail attack circles any time the leaves have touched his fins.

Saturday 17th Nov 2012
Second fish was delivered to my apartment.
Previous owner purchased this little guy in October 2011 from Malaysia. He is a half moon very dark midnight blue betta with red pectoral fins and some red lines through his tail – in most light and photos he looks completely black though. His fins are very long and look heavy for him – owner told me he needs resting points near the water height because he finds it hard to swim up to the top of the tank from the bottom because his fins are so heavy for him. Looks like he does not really swim fast or very much at all – just floats around slowly. Doesn’t really explore or adventure around his tank like the tail biting little guy does.

Sunday 18th Nov 2012
My door bell rang this morning and it was a parcel delivery: along with the treasures inside were the bigher/taller silk plants I had ordered and they are great - very wide and very soft silk leaves, they are almost as high as the water level which is what I was hoping for. I've been watching the heavy finned new guy closely today to make sure that he is feeling alright after his move; He has happily eaten his food every meal time without hesitation. He has calmed down heaps as far as flaring at the tail biter is concerned (I did move the bowls slightly further apart). He seems to be a very laid back little guy - just floats around slowly unless he is actually showing off/flaring. He does seem to like to rest right on the bottom of his tank.
My tail biter on the other hand - is as active as ever. He is very happy with his new tall and wide silk leaf hiding and resting points and he has even taken straight away to the taller 'upside down glass' resting ledge that I gave them both today.

Tuesday 20th Nov 2012
Water change for both fish - First ever water change with new heavy finned fish.
Added both the seachem prime and seachem stress to his new water like I have been doing for Tail biter.
Took out all the floating lily pads because they were making it hard to feed them/observe them properly.
Attison betta pellet food delivery arrived this morning along with the indian almond leaves from the Betta Congress International association. Attison Pellets are really tiny and instructions say feed up to 7 pellets in a feeding session twice a day. Both fish ate them no problem, no spitting them out. Tail biter much more active/alert than heavy fin guy when it comes to finding food. Heavy finned guy will not eat anything that is not floating on the water – he will not chase slowly sinking blood worms for example, and he misses or doesn’t see or isn’t interested in the pellets unless they are put right in front of him – even then he seems to wait for them to float towards him instead of him swimming toward them to eat them.

Wednesday 21st Nov 2012.
My husband left me a note before leaving for work saying that both fish seemed very agreesive/agitated this morning. He said they were flaring around but he didn’t know if it was at each other or simply at their own reflections in the bowl. Tail biter specifically was swimming up and down repeatedly from top to bottom of tank and hubby said it seemed he was using the side of the bowl to try and catch his tail to bite it. Ive watched them all morning, and for the first few hours I was awake I did not see any signs of this but I’m pretty sure I have since seen my tail biter doing what hubby saw.
I have now cut two squares of indian almond leaves I received yesterday and added them to his tank after washing them, also giving a piece to the heavy fin fish tank – am doing this in another attempt to try and make the tail biter happier and more calm to kill off this tail biting habit. I have also taken out the upside down tall glass that was in his tank to give him more swimming space – now he just has the two tall silk plants. Funnily enough, I was reading about a tail biter this morning who only bites his tail when the plants in his tank are too densely planted – argh – some say he needs more plants/hiding spots/playing areas and some say he needs less. Am pretty convinced now that tail biter would benefit from a much larger tank.
Heavy finned guy does seem a little more active today – I am thinking that could be due to the fact that this is his first day since I added the seachem stress to his water, or the new food or…I don’t really know 
1pm onwards – Tail biter is seriously agitated today, in an attempt to calm him down further I have placed a black tea towel around the back side of his bowl. The towel is now blocking the direct light coming in through the window, making his bowl seem a lot darker and completely blocking any view he might have had of the other fish.
While Ive been watching him I have noticed a spot on his bottom fin that looks dark but photographs the same as his greenish body colour, but he also has some black smudges on this bottom fin just under where it connects with his body – I don’t know if these marks have always been there – will check the previous photos – will also do a search online to see if this could be why he is irritated/itchy etc.

22/11/12 Thursday – everyone is happy today, both fish calm and acting normally AND we have two big bubble nests that each of them has been busy making under their new indian almond leaf pieces – yippee!!


****EMERGENCY TIME!!!


23/11/12 Friday: Heavy fin fish seems like he doesn’t want his food today, no idea why, First noticed today because he went to eat his breakfast but then spat it out multiple times - – then he just stopped trying to eat it anytime I tried again with pellets. Tried different pellet, same thing – he doesn’t want them. Both fish are getting an early 100% water change just to be safe. Seachem prime and seachem stress in new water as per usual. Both fish get given a new piece of the same indian almond leaf that was washed before putting it on their tanks.

24/11/12 Saturday: Heavy fin fish still refusing food and now he is laying on the bottom of his tank. Tail biter looks happy. Heavy fin fish that is not eating anymore and looks sick/lethargic also now has a clamped and ragged top fin – I honestly don’t know if this is how his fin looked when he arrived at my place, I didn’t inspect him close enough because he came as the ‘healthy’ fish with zero problems and I was so focused on the tail biter. He got worse and worse and I was really worried and had done hours more research – which has been non stop since I took them in. The only thing I had on hand was aquarium salt. Late this evening I made up a little half gallon bowl with seachem prime, seachem stress and half a teaspoon of dissolved aquarium salt. Moved the heavy fin fish into this solution and watched him. No change really. I left him there for a little while – the treatment I was going to follow said to leave him there for 24 hours, then give all new water and salt everyday for 7 days. But I had hesitations after he was in there for a while because I really didn’t feel confident in the science behind what I was doing to him so I took him out the salt after a little while and into his usual bowl. He sank to the bottom on the tank and laid there – I was certain he would be dead by the morning.

25/11/12 Sunday:
Sunday morning – heavy finned fish is alive and looking better than ever! What a relief! He is hungry and wanting food. Tail biter looks good too. Both fish get given a new piece of the same indian almond leaf that was washed before putting it on their tanks. Heavy fin fish has come back to life today and very keen to get back to his regular food routine. Heavy fin fish still has a noticely ragged top tail. Tail biter as happy as ever.

Sunday evening = I came home, went straight to the fish tanks for dinner feeding – heavy fin fish is happy and eating well but I cant see the tail biter, look for him and see he is lying flat on the bottom on his tank!!! Tap the tank, no response, move the bowl around, no response…completely lifeless except for a little movement of his gills – emergency time - I grabbed a little bowl, put seachem prime and stress into it and tried to move this little guy into – which was difficult because he was lifeless and I was so scared of hurting him trying to carefully put him in a cup for transfer. In the little new bowl he laid there, poor little thing! I realised even in the half gallon hospital bowl he could not get up all the way for air, so I took out half of the water and helped him up every couple of minutes by slightly tilting the bowl. When I put a pellet by his head as a test he eagerly grabs at it – no hesitation. Immediately I took the almond leaves out of both the normal tanks. Both tanks had been given a piece of the same leaf this morning – that was washed before putting in their tanks everyday – nothing else had changed – and a day later I had another almost dead fish. At this point the heavy fin fish who was still looking fine and eating well was given yet another 100% water change just to be safe, with seachem prime and stress and I did not give him another of the almond leaves.

26/11/12 Monday:
Monday morning = heavy fin fish still looks good and tail biter is still alive, just, laying on his side at the bottom of the little bowl I had him in for the night. Still wanting to eat though – struggling to get the top of the water for air so im still helping him by tilting the bowl slightly to lift him up. Now this morning my little tail biter seems to have some water cotton fluff around the edges of his bottom fin, and flowing off from the fin slightly…
So at 10:30am I put all new water into a half gallon hospital tank, Added, seachem prime, seachem stress, and seachem paraguard to the water and moved tail biter into it. He seemed to immediately pick up a little. An hour later he is now able to actually not just lay flat on his side and can hang properly just below the water line for a few minutes before laying back on the bottom.
After more hours of research I decide that the seachem paraguard could help the heavy finned guy with this mystery fin rot he seemed to get at the same time as he looked on the verge of the death the other day. So I put a bit of this into his tank as well.

I am completely baffled – nothing science based is explaining the last week of events for me.
I have been super careful since taking these two in.
Keeping their routine as similar as possible to what they were use to in their previous home to reduce shock and stress.
The introduction of Seachem Stress to their water was initially to help the little tail biter regrow his fin – no adverse reaction from either fish for this addition to their water with every water change.
Both fish always get 100% water change twice a week, hasn’t been a problem.
Both fish happily took to the introduction of the Attison Betta Pellets – which I imported because reading and advice told me they were superior to the Hikari Gold baby pellets these guys has always lived on.
The absolute and only factor which seems to have caused an adverse reaction – at different times for each fish – is the placement of a new piece of indian almond leaf.
But both fish show completely different symptons at each point there has been a sudden emergency.
Heavy fin guy – went off his food, top tail ragged and withdrawn, ended up lifeless after a couple of days of this off behavious.
Tail biter – never off his food, never looked lethargic, just suddenly laying on the bottom of his tank lifeless, the next day I can see the white cotton around the edge of his bottom tail and he is also still lifeless on the bottom of his tank.

Am I going crazy?
Is there any chance these leaves could have introduced a problem in the water?

To be honest, before my little tail biter was found on the bottom of his tank, I was certain that my heavy fin guy had taken a turn for the worse because he was stressed from the recent move to me, thus his immune system was compromised, resulting in one of the bacteria that is always present in the water being able to adversely affect him and take a hold.
But now that the tail biter fish suddenly got hit I am stumped – and am now convinced the almond leaves are the common link.
I can not find any information regarding negative side affects of the introduction of the leaves.
And I never would have gone to the trouble of importing them and including them in my boys tanks if I thought they could in any way react badly with them
In fact – both fish seem to loved them – they both built big nests underneath the leaves almost instantly – but then a day later they were almost dead 

I am confused and stressed – and I know that someone here will be able to help me out.

As you can see, I have gone with the seachem paraguard as a first point of meditated treatment.
Unfortunately I live somewhere that very little is known about animal care and also the stores here almost stock nothing that I know is recommended as far as medication options.

As well as the aqauarium salt, seachem stress guard, seachem prime, seachem paraguard – I also have here with me right now but have not opened =
Myxazin (by Waterlife – formaldehyde 0.12% w/w, Malachite green 0.085% w/w, acriflavine hydrochloride 0.055% w/w)
and also Jungle Anti-Parasite Medicated Fish food (metronidazole 1.0%, praziquantel 0.5%, levamisole 0.4%)


Please members, what else – if anything should I be doing?

Heavy fin fish looks fine now back in his original 3 gallon with fresh water plus prime, stress and paraguard – his fins are still ragged but his behaviour and appetite are good.

Little tail biter is still now sitting in his half gallon recovery bowl with prime, stress and paraguard.

(If you’ve read any of my previous posts – you’ll see all the background info of how these little guys came to me)

If you can offer me any support, treatment suggestions etc for my little tail biter today – I would really appreciate it.

Thank you very much for your time and help.

From a very tired and worried Onbu.
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:17 AM   #10
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How are the fish faring? I'm usually on the salty side, but am very interested in the project of yours. Any updates?
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