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Old 10-26-2014, 04:58 AM   #1
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Help! Betta scratches against things

Hi all,

I have a male half moon betta, Fishy, in a 3G Marineland crescent tank. I have a heater (constant around 81-83 F) and a filter. He has a cave and a plastic plant to play in, as well as a "betta hammock". I have had him for a little over 2 weeks now. I do 20-30% water changes weekly and use treated tap water (API QuickStart and API stress coat, some aquarium salt) and I use a gravel vac. I feed him Omega One betta flakes, a small pinch in the morning and another before bed, as well as omega one beta treats freeze dried bloodworms once in awhile.

He he seems very active with a good appetite, and likes to flare at me when I come see him. However, today I noticed he has a few reddish streaks on his fins and then I saw him swimming towards the gravel or the cave and rubbing against it. I don't see any signs of ich or velvet, and his scales look smooth. Could it be something internal? I tested water tonight and the PH is about 7-7.5 and the nitrites/nitrates are very very low. I just did a partial water change 2 days ago.

Please help me figure out why he is doing this, I don't want him injuring himself! I will include pictures of him and my tank below. (I took out the pink plant because I don't think he liked it and might have hurt his fins, but he is always in the green plant. My heater is in the back left corner, filter on back right corner, and inside thermometer in the right front.)

Also, I think his fins look at little ragged but I don't know if it's fin rot or if he's chewing his fins.

1) aquarium before filter and heater were added and pink plant removed
2) Fishy first day home
3) Fishy today

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Old 10-26-2014, 10:11 AM   #2
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your tank is not cycled. i would do those water changes every day. it is easy with a tank that size.

are you able to test for ammonia? what sort of test kit are you using? i would avoid the all in one test strips and purchase a liquid test kit. also, i would not do large cleanups at all...avoid cleaning large areas of the gravel. if any food is making it to the bottom uneaten, then you could be feeding too much.

do you know anybody with an established tank? if so, see if they will clip a little bit of their filter media and add it into yours. some smaller fish stores will do that for you as well. that is the best thing you can do for a new tank.
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Old 10-26-2014, 11:09 AM   #3
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I don't use plastic plants in with my betta as they can damage their fins. I use silk ones and also are the rocks sharp? Any thing that goes it his tank I rub all surfaces to make sure their are no sharp edges. I have noticed that a lot of the ornaments that you but feel okay on the outside but the inside where the fish can hide does have some sharp edges. Beautiful Betta by the way. Alison
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Old 10-26-2014, 12:44 PM   #4
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Thank you both for the reply, I don't really know of anyone with an established tank, but I will try to find a local fish store that may be able to help. I do have an all in one test strip test and one of those ammonia detecting patches that suction cups to the inside of the tank, petsmart did not have the API master test kit that I was hoping to get at the time I bought my tank supplies. I will check if they carry it now or maybe another place.

Also, the rocks edges are pretty rounded when I rub it but I didn't really think of checking the inside, oops :/ I will also look into other decorations. Is there a specific way I should change them out as to not stress Fishy?

Finally, are these things the possible causes for the issues I mentioned? Thanks again!


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Old 10-26-2014, 01:29 PM   #5
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yes, elevated levels of nitrites and ammonia can cause them to have irritations on their skin and gills and can lead to flashing, the scratching you described.

the all in one test strips are not very good. you will very likely need to do some water changes daily or at least every other day for the next few weeks to keep your levels of both ammonia and nitrites at a level that will not over stress your fish. without that, other problems could arise.

your tank looks really nice and well-cared for, as does your fish. just keep up with frequent water changes, and try to get a liquid master test kit. you may also try posting in your regional forum and perhaps somebody would help you with some seeded media, which will kick start your bacteria colony so they can process the ammonia and nitrites.

i doubt any of the big stores would do that. mom and pop places are better for real help, in my experience, as are other hobbyists.
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Old 10-26-2014, 01:34 PM   #6
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Ok, I just set my bucket out to treat new water so I'll start with the more frequent water changes tomorrow. Thanks for your help!


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Old 10-26-2014, 01:39 PM   #7
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i would also consider buying a bottle of seachem prime for treating your tap water. i have no experience with the quick start, but i know that the prime is very highly regarded. maybe somebody else can comment on the quick start.
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Old 10-26-2014, 01:40 PM   #8
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Oh another thought, if I'm not supposed to vacuum the gravel for awhile, how would I clean out the fish poop that goes to the bottom?


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Old 10-26-2014, 01:44 PM   #9
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when you gravel vac, if you hold the vac part just above the gravel, most of the poop should get sucked up. you could also do a slightly more thorough cleaning of small sections of gravel, but i wouldnt do thorough large scale gravel vacuuming, at least not until your tank has gotten established.

also, what are you doing with your filter media during cleanings? best to leave that alone for now, as well.
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Old 10-26-2014, 01:51 PM   #10
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Ok that makes sense. And I don't touch the filter, I just unplug it during the water changes. I have the tetra whisper micro filter that came with the aquarium on the lowest flow and I added a small aquarium sponge to the intake area to try to slow the flow a little more (it was moving Fishy quite a bit even on low without the sponge)


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Old 10-26-2014, 03:16 PM   #11
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The photos are appearing larger in this thread than the other. I'm 99% confident you have early fin rot happening. Such a coincidence I had a fish that looked the same.

Prime could be good briefly because it detoxes ammonia and stuff but I'd stick with quick start long term. It has aloe and there are studies that show it helps heal wounds. My experience is the same.

The stick on ammonia thing reads ammonia differently ... It's a long story but get the liquid kit when you can.

If you have any nitrates your tank is starting to cycle.


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Old 10-26-2014, 03:31 PM   #12
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i must admit i didnt look very closely at the photo, initially; my old eyes are bad. the fins do look tattered at the ends. i still stand by the advice i gave, but defer to others on treating fin damage etc. pristine water is always beneficial and increased water changes should make a difference.
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Old 10-26-2014, 03:36 PM   #13
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All very helpful advice, thank you everyone! I'll keep you guys posted


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Old 10-26-2014, 03:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
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i must admit i didnt look very closely at the photo, initially; my old eyes are bad. the fins do look tattered at the ends. i still stand by the advice i gave, but defer to others on treating fin damage etc. pristine water is always beneficial and increased water changes should make a difference.

I think you gave great advice!

Prime is great for detox. Stress Coat just happens to have aloe, which is a demulcent (helps moist body tissues) and anti inflammatory ... it has a chemical similar to aspirin ... if there's enough present in the bottle. There are 2 studies on Stress Coat that are consistent with there being a medicinal level of aloe in there.

So with clean water, I think the stress coat treats the problem.

The jagged fins are easy to miss. I caught it only because I have a similar photo from when I was thinking "huh do his fins look different?"


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Old 10-26-2014, 03:46 PM   #15
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I noticed it from looking at my first photos of him and to the more recent ones and saw that the ends looked different. He's also slightly changing color, the whites of his fins are turning blue


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