Not sure what's going on with my Bettas fins

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Fids4ever

Aquarium Advice Apprentice
Joined
Nov 6, 2023
Messages
15
Location
Duluth, MN
Ok, so my Bettas fins do not look good, I've tried API fin & body cure, e.m. erythromycin melafix and pimafix. I feed fluval bug bites and Betta pro and daphnia. Only the one Betta in tank, all silk plants, two hides and clean/change 20% water weekly. This has been like this since June. If you need anymore info I'm happy to include.

My bio has detailed info on my tank. All my waters tests come out great, I use a 7 in 1 and ammonia testers.

He seems healthy and happy but from everything I've found to read it doesn't seem like any fin rot. They are shredded and some are even kind of shriveling. I've included two pics of him and one of the tank.

Thank you so much in advance for any help
 

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Original pic

Sorry the other pics were sideways. Here is what he looked like when I brought him home...
 

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A few points.

What precisely are your water parameters?

Those multiple test strips arent very accurate, so you could have a water quality issue and not know about it. They also dont have the ammonia test on them which is the most likely parameter to be off, so if you dont have a test strip for ammonia you should look at getting one. I would invest in a liquid test kit like API Freshwater Master Test Kit, as it will be more accurate than strips, will cover what you need to test for, and be more cost effective long run.

There could be some fin tearing going on. While you have bought silk plants they could still be catching on your bettas fins and tearing them. I would check all the tanks aquascape by pulling a piece of nylon over them and seeing if anything catches. If it does remove that decoration. Long run natural plants will be better than artificial.

If could also be biting its own tail and fins. Have you observed your fish doing this?

There does look to be a little mushyness to the damage, which suggests an infection. Pristine water will help, so up the water changes to 50% twice a week, and i would add aquarium salt for a couple of weeks. 1 rounded tablespoon per 5 gallons, if you see no improvement after a week, double the dosage. Remember to add in more salt in proportion to any water changes.
 
There is a possibility that the silk plants are causing the shredding so be on the lookout for slicing after he passes through some of the plants.
The fins in picture #2 appear like when the fish has a vitamin deficiency. If you see no improvement with the clean water and salt treatment after a couple of weeks, you might want to add a liquid vitamin to his diet. The fins won't be totally cured in that couple of weeks but you should start to see the webbing closing up and/or the decaying stopping from getting worse. (y)
As for water parameters, you really do need to know specific numbers because many meds work better at certain levels and may be totally ineffective in other parameters. Sadly, while EM( erythromycin) is a very commonly recommended treatment, there are very few fish diseases that EM actually works for so the fact that it didn't work here is not all that unusual. :( As Aiken said, the liquid tests are a better indicator than the strips. Besides the API kits, Fritz Aquatics now has a new multi test liquid kit. While I haven't received my kit yet so I don't have first hand knowledge of it's accuracy, Fritz has been a very reliable company and I have been using their products since the 1980s with great success. I trust that this kit will continue that trend. (y)
 
Thank you

Thank you both for your input, will invest in the master test for sure. I do have ammonia strips and test that as well, always looks great. I've had all these decos since I have had him and only after the move in June has this been this way. I have not seen any improvement at all. I brought him home in February and moved in June. Before the move no issues. After is when I noticed it. Also, full disclosure he was in minimal water with no heat for three days in his tank. And if it happened during that time I would have expected to see improvement since then, but I haven't. Will do the nylon test for sure, and my next step is to start with real plants. I have many questions to ask first and would like to learn more before getting into that aspect as I do not want to do anything else to harm him because of my lack of knowledge. I love this little guy to bits and want to do everything I can to do things correctly for him. Oh, also I have never seen him do anything to his fins ever. The test strips test for nitrites, nitrates, chlorine, alkali ity, carbonate, hardness and ph. And I understand better to know exacts so will get that master kit in the next couple days, thank you.
As for nutrition, how/where/what do I look for. This is an area I've never had anything talked about to me so a good source of information and where to get it would be very appreciated. And where to get the added nutrients would help as well. What about what I'm feeding him, is there more or something different I should be doing? He has a great appetite and eats almost anything I give him.
I will do the salt thing as well, I have tried reading on how much to put in and wow is there a wide variety of answers to that. As much as 1tsp per gallon to as one of you stated 1 tbs per 5 gallons. I have also read that if I do that salt I also have to do 90% water changes each day, then add the salt again. There is so many answers to this and I don't know what is right. So any info on this would be appreciated as well.

And thank you so much for your replies, as I'm getting frustrated on trying to understand what to do. If there is anything else that would help please let me know. Different pics, anything.
 
Sadly, there is a lot of information online pertaining to fish keeping. Some of it is accurate, a lot of it is just one person's experience that may not apply to everyone or everywhere and some of it just doesn't apply to YOUR fish but the specie in general. For example, much of the information on Bettas is about wild fish while what you are dealing with are domesticated bettas that have been interbred with other species in their complex which makes the information online about then not applicable to you. But how do you know? :confused: :banghead: :blink: You know by asking your fish supplier if their fish are wild caught or farm raised. The reason this is important is because there are new variants and even new diseases and viruses that were created on fish farms that do not exist in the wild. The problem with that is that wild caught fish will have no natural immunity to any of the farm made diseases. :facepalm: That means it's best not to mix wild caught fish with farmed fish.
As for what vitamins, there are a few different methods of getting them into the fish. I use Vita-chem by Boyd enterprises. ( full disclosure, I used to work with Dick Boyd, creator of Boyd enterprises, in a pet store many years ago. The man was a genius when it came to fish keeping. ) There are other brands of vitamins but I have not used any of them so I don't know how well they work. I know that Vita Chem works. :whistle: If you go with something else, compare the ingredients to Vita Chem before purchasing. Another way to get vitamins into the fish are through foods. Dr Bassleer's CAVAR is a vitamin enriched food that is very popular with betta breeders in Japan. I can give you a source if you can't find it locally to you.

Now for the good stuff. LOL Salt, there are different dosages depending on what you are mixing with it. The standard for fish that can handle salt in their tank is 1 tablespoon per 3-5 gallons of water. For a bath, it's 1 tablespoon per 1 gallon of water. Any deviation from this is based on fish that can't handle a full salt treatment. Lucky for you, Domesticated Bettas can handle a full salt treatment. (y)
Since this fin damage happened after you moved, was the water you used in your old place different chemically from your new place? You can find out by contacting your old and new water companies or their websites and there should be an analysis of the water they offer to compare.
The issue with the test strips is more that they don't give very accurate readings. They also can go bad if not stored properly. That means you will still get a reading but it won't be accurate. :facepalm: This is why we recommend liquid tests. If possible, buy them locally so that you can see the expiration dates on them. This way you can pick ones that have the furthest expiration date(s). It might cost you more than online but you will most likely get kits online that have shorter expiration dates than in stores. Considering their costs, you save money by getting fresher kits. Liquid kits also will not give accurate results after their expiration dates so you want the freshest ones you can get. (y)

Hope this helps (y)
 
I would also take a look at that pagoda. Stick your hand in there (wash it up to the elbow first) and run your fingers around every surface, pressing down, particularly any plastic plants glued to sides and back. The plastic used for these can be quite brittle; this plus the glue used to attach them can be sharp.

Also run your fingers around every surface of the pagoda arch (the hole inside). Bettas love to drive through arches, sleep in them, hang around leaning against the inside for a rest. Any sharp points there? I wouldn't try to file these down (though I might cut away/pry off the plants and glue, if sharp). If the structure has shredder areas, I'd just replace it with another, something you've bought in person (not online) so you can check it thoroughly before purchase.
 
Thank you so much

Again, thank you all so much, this info has helped me a ton. I'm going to check on the water, get my master test kit and those vitamins you recommended. Knowing someone personally is a great advantage and I'll take it where I can. Checked the Pagoda, and am taking it out for a bit, which is going to upset my boy as it's his favorite place to sleep however I really hope to and will do whatever it takes to see some regrowth.
Really appreciate all the advice and promise I'm going to make some changes. I so appreciate anyone who cares enough to take time to help, so tyvm ?
 
Where do I find good info...

Thank you all again for your help. I've found the vita chem, will have the master kit on Monday, and I'll test my water asap then share my info here. I even found the Dr. Bassleers cavar, tyvm.

I'm just wondering if you could direct me to some reputable online sites. Which ones out there have better info, who to listen to on YouTube. There is just so much it's hard to figure out what is at least better than others.

As always I appreciate the time you choose to take to help me.
Also, I'd like to start getting into live plants, any info or sites to point me in the right direction are also greatly appreciated. Btw, I've found the info here, reading up on it all. Whew, it's kind of overwhelming...
One more ? On the aquarium salt, how often do I add it? Each day, each water change or something else?
Jodi (real name) ��
Fids4ever
 
Thank you all again for your help. I've found the vita chem, will have the master kit on Monday, and I'll test my water asap then share my info here. I even found the Dr. Bassleers cavar, tyvm.

I'm just wondering if you could direct me to some reputable online sites. Which ones out there have better info, who to listen to on YouTube. There is just so much it's hard to figure out what is at least better than others.

As always I appreciate the time you choose to take to help me.
Also, I'd like to start getting into live plants, any info or sites to point me in the right direction are also greatly appreciated. Btw, I've found the info here, reading up on it all. Whew, it's kind of overwhelming...
One more ? On the aquarium salt, how often do I add it? Each day, each water change or something else?
Jodi (real name) ��
Fids4ever
Glad you found all the good stuff. ;) (y)
As for youtube people, truthfully, I don't spend much time on Youtube for fish related things and some of the big names that were " famous" on youtube turned out to be either fakes or frauds or giving information that only applied to their areas so not really helpful for the masses but only for the locals to them. For Betta information, I like Bettafish.org . While I disagreed with some of the information being offered, it was not that it was wrong but that it left too much for confusion. Case in point, their recommendation for minimum tank size was 2 gallons which created a number of conversations online how the shops were hurting the fish by keeping them in bowls. :facepalm: What they were talking about was long term vs short term. There is a big difference between the two.

There should be a lot of information on here about Betta care and breeding so you shouldn't need to look too far. Just search " Bettas" to find the threads. ( Or just ask me. I've bred and raised probably a million of them for sale. :eek: ) Another option, I know it's old school, but there are some good books on Bettas so you can look into those as well. ( I learned 75% of my fish knowledge through books my mentor, a certified Ichthyologist, recommended I read. :whistle: The other 25% I learned by doing. (y) )

For live plants, I don't know a lot of places but I do have a buddy who sells live plants at good prices. KJEAquatics.com. He also sells the Dr Bassleer foods and Fritz products.

As for the salt, salt does not dissipate or evaporate so the only time you add more is when you change water and you only add for the amount of water you are changing. You keep the ratio of 1 tablespoon / 3-5 gallons of water but adjust for the amount of water you are adding. For example, if you changed 2 gallons of water, you would only add about 1/2 tablespoon of salt back into the tank.

As for information overload :blink: Yep, there's a lot of information out there. But here's the thing, the fish's lives depend 100% on you so the more you know, the better the fish will be. My fish library of books at one point was 3 stacks that were taller than I am and I'm 5'9". :eek: ( I lost a lot of them to a tank leak. :cry: :banghead:) I read species specific books, general care books, breeding books and 3 different tropical fish related magazines. All of this information became vital in every fish related job I had over 45 years. So you can never know too much. (y) :fish2::fish2::fish1::fish1:

Hope this helps. (y)
 
Betta log and large Betta leaf are fun options for him to lay on and rest. Just similarly to the pagoda, double check the inside for roughness or snags. You can file with a nail file.

They really love laying in things. A hunk of Anubias plant attached to a Driftwood or stone make a nice hammock too.

But when they spend a lot of time laying in the gravel it isn't good for their fins. Mucky stuff in there can be an issue with eroding fins. His fins do not look like fin rot. Using antibiotics is tough on their systems so use only if necessary.
 
For live plants, I've gone to marcusfishtanks on ebay, for years. They explain the plants, nicely answer questions, give a clue about easy-difficult, and have good prices, especially twofers. Their descriptions will help determine how big a plant will get, how fast it grows, and whether it's for front (small), mid-ground, or better suited for background (tall). They ship fast and their plants have always arrived in beautiful condition. I don't make any money off this - I've just found them to be my most reliable source after spending a l-o-t of moolah on live plants.
 
As I keep saying thank you so incredibly much! I will keep all updated on his progress. Haha, and mine ��

So very grateful

Jodi
Fids4ever
 

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