yet another betta fin rot?

sunshinebettaMay 20, 2006

Hi, If anyone can help me with this it would be much appreciated. My Betta is housed in a 1.5 gallon Faunarium (he was in a half gallon Betta kit) since last week.

Unfortunately I had put some stones which were unsuitable, and the water turned slightly cloudy. Well I have removed the stones, and did a partial water change (don't ask me why I did not do a full change...)

Couple of days ago I noticed a tear in his fin. I thought it was the cause of the plastic plant, as he exhibits no symptoms of illness - he is swimming around energetically, eats like a hog, and shows off to me :P

So I didn't chalk it up to anything. However, yesterday another tear appeared on the fins edge, and today there was another. I don't know if this is a good diagnosis for fin rot, he is the first fish I have ever kept, and I'm still learning about behavious and diseases of Bettas.

The tank is on the cold side though - 20-24 celcius range. Unfortunately this is the warmest spot for his tank (next to my comp) but it is still too cold. I am wondering if I should take the plunge and get a 25 watt heater? But I don't want to do more harm than good.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post, I'll try to get some photos of the fin - the edges look clean, but the longer tips are curling in?

Well, that is a lot of questions, and I hope someone can help me with this!


ps. By the way I just added a live Hornwort yesterday...but that couldn't be tearing the fins could it?

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The water is a little too cold for a betta, but a 25w heater in a 1.5 gallon is too risky in my opinion. Try the mini hydor heater. It is a trustable brand and it is made for small aquariums and bowls. The only downside is that it does not turn on and off to regulate the temperature like most other heaters do. Instead, it is made to raise the temp of the water a few degrees above the original temp. Make sure you get a high quality internal thermometer (not the sticker ones) for this choice, and check on it frequently in the begining. Some bettas take cold temperatures better than others, but in general, the cold lowers their immune system and drastically slows their digestive system.

Its good to hear that he's still acting fine :) How long have you had him? Does he have a filter? How often do you change the water and how much? A 1.5 gallon is pretty small, so water quality could be a contributing cause. It could also be stress. If you have a test kit for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate that would be very helpful if you post the readings.

Come back with some answers to my questions and we'll see what we can do to make him better :)

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 11:37AM
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If you don't have a filter, I've seen mini filters that fit in your palm. It just has little tubes to move water in and out of the bowl. I think they're actually marketing them as betta filters, but I can't recall the name.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 12:42PM
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Thanks so much for your reply! I've searched high and low for the mini heater as well - the Hydor one. So far the lowest wattage I've found in person is a 50 watt (yikes!)

So I'll probably order it, I've seen it on, but I think Big Al's also has it. Problem is with those prices it is extrememely painful for my bank account. The hydor mini is CA$19.99

I would love to upgrade to a 2.5 gallon mini-bow, but that is CA$39.99. So unfortunately, this is the best set-up I can afford as of now. I have a stick on thermometer but it was rather abused, so I'll get one that can be submerged in the water.

Right now the tank is unfiltered, I intend to do 100% changes every week, is that too little for a tank that small? I have a live Hornwort, so I'm hoping that will buffer it a little. For your question the betta is 3 weeks old for me.

I'm pretty much an ultra-novice when it comes to fishkeeping, I'm glad my little guy is tough enough to endure some of my mistakes - he is my learning betta :) Unfortunately he just has to experience my learning curve...

I'm gonna ask a silly question here - if I do get a 25 watt heater with an adjustable thermostat, is it not appropriate because the heater will heat the tank too fast? Or will the tank become too hot? I also don't have any form of water circulation...

I do wish I've know about all these before I bought sunshine, granted, it was on impluse (bad!) but I thought I would be able to provide good care for him on my current circumstance, but that is not the case...I'm hoping for the warm weather to help bump up the temp more, for now I have 2 desk lamps. I will definitely get a larger tank, one with a filter, and a good heater, by the end of summer. Otherwise the poor guy will freeze when winter comes T-T

I'll change his water 100% now, with a full dose of aquarium salt. I'm taking out all the gravel too, cos I can't see the fish doings, and I need to find a turkey baster, all I have is a spoon :O

I hope sunshine will get a warm tank soon! I'm from Malaysia and I'm very sensitive to cold. Everytime I feel chilly I can't imagine how sunshine must feel! But then again he is cold blooded...

Thanks once again for replying, I'll look around for more heater options (but I'm afraid that's it...where's the warm summer?!!)

by the way, how does one post pictures? I've managed to get some of his fin, if that helps :)

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 12:53PM
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I didn't know about the mini-filters, I'll keep an eye out for them too! Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 2:50PM
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If you wanna post pictures, you can go someplace like to host them for free. Then you use the URL to post them wherever you like.

If you can't afford a larger tank now, one option (that I've been looking at myself) is to get a rubbermaid bin from Wal-Mart. They make them from tiny sandwich holders all the way to 50 gallons. And they're so cheap. The larger your tank is, the more room there is for you to mess up, which is why beginners should get a 20-gallon tank. (I started off with a 10 myself, and I learned some things the hard way.) The temperature is easier to maintain, too, which will keep your fish healthier. If you got a 50-gallon, you could put rocks and real (or fake) plants in it and maybe even get him some buddies. It'd be an indoor pond. =^_^= The filter would cost a bit, but if you save up while you have only a betta in it, you can get away with just water changes since it'll be so understocked.

However, should you want to keep your current tank, I would do 20% water changes twice a week or 50% once a week. Changing too much water at once can stress your fish. Do you have any decorations? Some bacteria will colonize on gravel and plants, so get a test kit to see how your cycle is doing. It will probably take a month or two, and until then, I'd do 10% water changes every day to keep the toxicity down.

If this conversion table is correct, you don't want to keep him under 22C. (I wouldn't keep one under 70F, just in case 22 is the wrong number.) I keep mine at 76F (unless the weather raises it to 84, in which case I'm shoveling ice in my tank until it's down to 80 at most), and he's perfectly healthy. His coloring is bright, he makes nests, he swims all over and naps in random spots (lazy fish).

Fish are like Pringles, so you'll probably want to be getting more some time. I want to warn you to stay away from painted glass fish, mixed fruit (blueberry, strawberry, etc.) tetras, and about anything else with "painted" in the name. These fish are dyed in a horrible process that kills most of them, and those who do survive will likely die soon after. The lucky few who recover will have their color fade soon, leaving you with a fish you might not like (though I think they're naturally pretty). I almost bought some of these myself without knowing, and I would have felt horrible afterwards.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2006 at 11:09AM
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I wish I had known about tank size, filtration and the like before.I guess my setup is 'adequate' for the moment, but long term I'll definitely invest in a bigger tank. I should also get a water test kit, don't have a clue what's going on with the water now, which probably isn't good.

I think the poor fish was stressed - with the pebbles leaching whatever into the water for 3 whole days, the tank is staying clear now, so I guess I got rid of the cloudy problem. I also took out all the gravel. An ammonia test kit will definitely help in determining when to change the water - instead of waiting for it to turn green or smell (eek). Once I get a routine going he'll be more comfortable too.

Mr. Sunshine is doing great, he blew a partial nest last night, amazingly enough. So I suppose the water change helped. Now I'll have to tackle the heating problem...

I found snail eggs on the hornwort, got rid of those. Thing is, can't find the snail that laid em...I was pretty sure there was no egg cluster on the plant yesterday, and today, some leaves looked nibbled on.

And I'm aware of the painted fish, just because the body is transparent doesn't mean you can dye it a rainbow of (probably toxic) dyes. I too find it extremely cruel, like the tiny bowls they sell in stores. I admit, I almost got something of that effect for the poor fish, but settled on the betta kit 1/2 gallon (which isn't musch better). So maybe by next month he'll be happily twirling in a 2.5g tank! I want him next to my computer, where I spend the majority of my time, and he's never lonely. He's such a sweet guy, and you're right, fish are like Pringles, I want more! But for the meantime, I'll stick with Sunshine, because I don't think I can handle another fish :(

Thanks for your advice, I'll get the photobucket link up soon :D

    Bookmark   May 21, 2006 at 11:50AM
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That's good to hear that you want to get him a bigger tank. =^_^= So many people don't even care how the fish feels.

I put my female betta by my computer, too. I'm afraid she misses the other females she was with though. That's probably just my subconscious trying to make excuses to buy more fish. lol

You want to leave the gravel in for bacteria to grow on though, unless you can get a filter right away. You can clean it using a siphon. I think the easiest and cheapest would be airline tubing. A dropper of some sort (like you said with the turkey baster) will work, but I think that's kind of tedious, myself. You should only need to vacuum it out during water changes.

I would agree that your setup is adequate for the time being. I've kept bettas in worse conditions for their full lifespan in my ignorance.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2006 at 1:26PM
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Finished setting up Photobucket and pics, the more recent ones of his splitting tailfin are on page 2.

I'm just a big softie, I care about all living beings, whether they be hamsters, guinea pig, bettas or my roomate's cat (I'm practically the owner now, because I stay home so much :P). Besides, when they give you so much joy, the best you can return is to make sure they are well cared for.

Yikes, I'm in cheese mode now :P

oh and before I forget:

as for the gravel, I'll return some to the tank, helps to anchor the plants anyhoo.

Thanks! :D

    Bookmark   May 21, 2006 at 3:03PM
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Sunshine is a beautiful betta indeed :) I've always loved the freckled celophanes. The tears in his fins look minimal, so don't worry too much. Keep an eye on it, but concentrate more on water quality.

A test kit is a necessity when it comes to fish. I recomend the Aquarium pharmaceuticals freshwater masterkit. Its kinda expensive, but well worth it in the ammount of tests you get for the price. To save $10-15 on it, go to petsmart's website and print off the item and bring it to the store. They will match the price :) Since you do not have a filter, your tank will not begin to cycle. The beneficial bacteria that grows and turns ammonia into nitrite and nitrite into nitrate needs water movement and oxygen to live. So right now its just ammonia. Once you put a filter in the tank, it will begin to cycle. This time can be dangerous for fish because ammonia and nitrite are harmful. This is why you need a test kit: to know when to do water changes and when your cycle is complete. After that you don't need to test that much.

I hate syphons with a PASSION!!!! I have 2 for my tropical and qt tanks and they are such a pain. The little ball thingie always gets stuck so it won't start, or it falls apart. I think I have eternal bad luck with them because I've bouth 5 or 6 of those things o.O Does anyone else have this problem? Anyways, for my betta I syphon with the airline tubing to get the gunk out. After that, I use a designated cup to get out more water to complete a 30% waterchange (I've got a filter).

For cycling, I recomend you buy a little bottle of prime water conditioner. This will detoxify the ammonia and nitrite in between waterchanges. I love this stuff and use it all the time to dechlorinate water too.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2006 at 3:42PM
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Thanks for the follow-up! Freckled cellophane, that's a great description. I was kinda wondering cos I know he is part cellophane, but with 'spots'. Freckled sounds infinitely cuter, and also less doggish, not that it's a bad thing ;P

hummm, the water is still the main issue. I thought I cleared the cloudy issue by removing the leaching pebbles but the water is cloudy again, and I did a full change yesterday! Well it's more hazy than cloudy, I can really see the difference from today's versus yesterday's water.

I should really get the test kit and find out what the problem is. Do uncycled and unfiltered tanks get bacterial bloom? The tank is a 1.5 gallon. In it is just the betta and some hornwart, plus 2 silk plants. And a little aquarium figurine from walmart. I would really like to find the cause of this. When I had him in the 0.5 gallon betta kit there wasn't this problem. The hazy issue has only cropped up with the Faunarium, and has does so overnight immediately after water change.

I use Aquaplus, and aquarium salt. Plus the water was left overnight to help adjust the temperature. The water looked sparkly clear after the change. Suddenly overnight it turns hazy. I have a feeling that it is contributing to the splitting fins.

Gaaah, this is when inexperience really kicks poor fish. I cleaned the tank with warm water, then rinse it off with cold, if that makes a difference. I didn't use soaps of any kind...Another factor could be the difference in water I'm getting - I was on residence before, but has since moved. I found that the water gets hazy in the new place. Other thing is, the water I have standing by in jars are still clear, so I wonder if its the tank.

Sunshine is still acting fine, he's a bit toned down today, not as much zipping around. Hope he's just having a lazier day. He's eating, flaring and curious as ever.

Hope I can find a conclusion to this, and many thanks to all who've replied!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2006 at 8:14PM
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Nice to see people who care!!
The cloudy water is from a condition commonly called "New Tank Syndrome". Basically, when a tank is first set up, the tank and water is relatively "sterile". In any new tank you will get sudden cloudiness within a day or two which will clear up on its own in a couple days. This cloudiness is from a sudden bloom of bacteria (there are good bacteria that help the tank cycle). These bacteria settle down after a couple days and "stick" to the rocks etc. and begin to do their thing. By doing a complete water change, you are essentially making a new tank. It is better to do partial water changes, siphoning the waste material off the bottom. This is even easier if you do not have rocks etc. on the bottom. Your tank conditions will remain more stable. Do not overfeed (make sure your betta eats all the food you put in at any one time). Decaying, uneaten food will do more harm to water chemistry than anything else. If you do regular partial water changes, I would personally skip adding a filter. The tank is not overcrowded, and he might not appreciate too much turublance. Enjoy the addictive fishkeeping hobby!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 8:10AM
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Very nice-looking tank. =^_^= That picture with his head in the plant is adorable.

Woodnative is right about the turbulance that can be caused by a filter. However, they make keeping the tank infinitely easier. There's a Red Sea Nano something-or-other that's for 1-3 gallons, and I use it in my 2-gallon tank on its lowest setting. The store I bought it from also uses it in fry tanks because the flow is so gentle. It's also cheap, and you don't need to buy new media every month, unless you feel like adding carbon. You could get it and then upgrade to a 3-gallon tank later, so that you won't have to upgrade the filter as well. (Look at garage sales for good deals on tanks.) That would make it understocked by 1 gallon, leaving room for accidents (you never know) and a small snail. (You want to be careful with snail species though.)

"The little ball thingie always gets stuck so it won't start, or it falls apart."

I assume that's one of those self-start ones? I've never even seen one of those. I have a plain vacuum tube I got at Wal-Mart, and I suck at the end to start it. It's perfect for sucking all those snail little poos out of my substrate. :)

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 11:43PM
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Thanks! Sunshine had a brief stint with overfeeding yesterday, from a well-meaning roomate, siigh. But he is all fine now, he was really flaring the stuff out of everything last night. It seems like the food overdose gave him a boost in crazyness.

In the process he continues to blow his tail up...:( But at least now I know it's through his own actions, and just to make sure that the water remains clean, with salt. And I was glad I finally found a turkey baster at the dollar-store. So it was put to good use last night - quite a few of the pellets had sunk to the bottom, yikes!

I also observed him crafting a nest last night. It's just a modest one, but he seemed delirious with happiness. I was jsut partly freaked-out. Maybe I should start feeding him a little more? I feed him regularly whenever I eat (which is allll the time :P) But he gets 2 pellets every feeding, and has a total of 6-8 per day. I thought that was a good amount...

He didn't need the pea treatment though, snubbed it. Guess all that exercise just kept him regular :DDD

I've posted his glorious belly on my photobucket, as well as pictures of his black nostrils! Which I find absolutely hilarious!

ps. littlehippygirl, Glad to see you too!!! :DDD

Here is a link that might be useful: photobucket gallery!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 2:51PM
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woeisme(z7b NC)

A 25 watt heater would be fine, even in a small tank. Big Al's is a popular site North of the border. One thing I did notice, they are alot more $$$ in Canada. I realized I was on the US site then I switched to the CA and had to do a double take. These heaters are very accurate, they won't overheat. It has a thermostat like the furnace in your home. When the temperature you set is reached it shuts off. It is much safer then the pre-set mini heaters. They don't have this feature and can easily over heat.;category_id=1733;pcid1=3231;pcid2=

here is the Red Sea Nano filter;category_id=1721;pcid1=2885;pcid2=

To tell you the truth a 10 gallon kit from Walmart is only about $50US. It comes with heater, filter, combo lighting and hood. All you need is gravel, glass thermometer (the sticker ones that come in it are not accurate) and gravel vacuum. 10 gallons are a good size so you can add some other fish down the road. The buldge in the belly looks a little suspicious to me, possibly constipation or bacterial infection. Thats what it looks like to me, could be wrong.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 5:20PM
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I just bought a red sea nano filter (they also sell them at petco) and I love it. My tail biting betta seems okay with it too, on the lowest setting. He was actually attacking the current or intake tube or something for quite a while. He either saw his reflection on the plastic tube (?) or he's just nuts.

Yes, they are self starting syphons. I think I may take off the barrel and just syphon with the hose. I've tried the "suck start" on hosing for tanks and I'm swallowed too much fish water for my taste lol! What I do for the airline tubing for the betta tank is fill it with water from the sink then stick one end in the bucket and the other in the tank and release my fingers from the ends. Yes, I don't know why I didn't think of doing that with the bigger syphons in the first place :)

Thats a good suggestion woe. A 3 gallon tank with a new heater and filter would be around the same price. If you have room, I'd upgrade him to a 10 gallon and add a school of small and docile schooling fish.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 7:50PM
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His stomach looks suspicious to me, too. Maybe starve him for a day or two until it goes down. They're fine with going without food for that long, and being that fat really isn't healthy. I saw a betta like that at the store yesterday, and he wasn't doing so well. Does he get a total of 6-8 pellets or a total of 6-8 feedings? (I would assume it's pellets, but just making sure.) What brand of pellets are you using? I couldn't get the Hikari ones to sink when I tried.

A 10-gallon isn't really big enough for a betta and a small school. (I tried it.) Bettas are two inches, and most compatable fish are 1.5-2 inches, giving you a maximum of five to a school. I know that tetras, at least, become violent in small numbers, and other schooling fish are always recommended in schools of seven or more. I've been looking for fish to add to my 10-gallon betta tank, and the only things I can find that are good for the size are fish that bettas don't get along with. (Which is why my tank is full of giant snails instead.) You could fit in some kind of bottom feeder, I think, but I can't recall how big they get and what numbers you keep them in.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2006 at 1:20PM
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Yeah, unfortunately he got constipated....his belly is now half the size of the one in the photo, but I've been fasting him for a day, and have given him half a pea. So now, I wait...

I'll be gone during the weekend too, so he's gonna get 2 more days of no food :( Knowing the glutton he is, he'll sulk ;P

I'm getting him to flare a bit too. And he generally starts spazzin out at around 8pm anyways, so I'll wait and see if that will help push things along :D

I just don't want him to go after I changed the water, cos I won't be around to turkey-baste the nuggets away...-_-

    Bookmark   May 25, 2006 at 3:56PM
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woeisme(z7b NC)

small tetras (neons, head tail light, etc.)are fine as school fish with a beta. When using the inch per gallon rule of thumb you can count 2 small tetras as 1 inch. The inch per gallon rule is a guideline but has its faults with small and large fish. 12 neon tetras and a betta and you would still have room for a fish or 2. Compatibility is rule of thumb also. I have had platy's that where down right nasty, no matter what I tried. Then again most of them are peaceful. Cory's are a usual tankmate for a betta. They tend to leave each other be, I like the panda corys I've seen recently at the LFS. They should be kept in groups of at least 3.

The Hikari pellets are supposed to float, as is all betta food. They have a turned up mouth for the purpose of eating mosquito larva and ease of taking in air.

Platy's, molly's can go with betta's also. I would avoid fancy tailed guppy's unless you have another tank to keep them in just in case. Extra caution for any long or big finned fish. I have kept fancy's and betas together before with no problem, but it isn't a reccomendation. I guess some have experienced aggression because the betta mistakes the big fins as a threat or aggression.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2006 at 4:06PM
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If it were me, I'd settle in between woe and kitty. How often water changes are preformed and what type of filter you have greatly affect the number of fish you keep. If you have a good filter and do weekly 25% water changes, I would keep a 7 fish school of one of the tetras woe mentioned. I feel you can get away with more than 5 because both small tetras and bettas don't produce much waste for their size and mass, but I feel that a school of 12 neons plus a betta would be too much. Neither do cories, and as mentioned they are compatible too. Either way, its just my humble opinion and its up to you what to decide the future tank size and possible tank mates. :)

    Bookmark   May 25, 2006 at 5:19PM
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