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Need Help - Eroding Betta Fins


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I have been struggling with my son's betta (Cutie) for the last few weeks and have been unable to get any definitive answers from my LFS on how best to help him. So I am hoping that you all can help. I am a subscriber to your channel and a loyal AC customer.
He was pretty good in October (see baseline Oct photo).
I think the problems started back around Thanksgiving when the nitrates in his 10 gallon planted tank hit 80 (i think it was due to lapse in deep gravel vacuuming) - all ammonia/nitrite 0. I did aggressive water changes and had a spike or two to 40. 
His dorsal fin started curling and then becoming ragged/ shredded so I moved him to a 10 gallon hospital tank with airstone (see Dec 10 photo). I treated him with IchX, kanaplex and then a course of erythromycin. His tail fin started to heal, but his dorsal fin started to look black, crusty and ragged. The LFS said to leave him alone and don't give any more meds (see after meds pic).  I went on vacation and friends fed him and changed his water for 2 weeks. When I came back his dorsal fin was much smaller and now his ventral fin was shredded looking.  I checked his water and ammonia was 0.5. I did a 50% water change and just started IchX again (see now pic)
His activity and appetite has always been fine. If anything, he seems to act a bit skittish and anxious at times. I have been keeping his tank covered to help decrease stimulation and stress.
Any advice?  I have been reading for hours and am at a loss of what else to do.
A grateful AC customer,

Before quarantine_Dec 10.JPG


After meds_Dec 18.jpeg


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Oof, okay. Thank you for clarifying. I think the ammonia in the water is pretty concerning and might be exacerbating his condition. I agree that you can try laying off the meds for a little while and just do frequent (every-other-day) water changes until that's under control. Spoil him with some high-quality food, frozen if you can. Try adding a little salt. Start on the low end and add a little more over time. I'd probably start with a tablespoon or two in a 10 gallon tank, and add it one tablespoon at a time. Don't overcompensate when you add back some salt after a water change. You already went through two antibiotic treatments so I wouldn't try another antibiotic at this point.

I hope the fins heal up. This sounds so stressful!

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@laritheloudthank you so much!  I just restarted IchX but will stop.  I will go buy some frozen food and salt.  any specific frozen food?  does frozen food have more nutrients?

I checked the parameters this morning and ammonia/nitrite/nitrate all zero. he looks less skittish this morning. I will do another water change today and add the salt.


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All zero? Do you have plants in the tank? Either way, keep that ammonia and nitrite down, that'll help immensely.

Frozen food doesn't necessarily have more nutrients but it can be a part of a healthy diet. It might help him build his strength up and improve his healing. Frozen bloodworms or frozen daphnia in place of his typical pellets twice a week is a nice treat. 

I hope the salt, clean water, and good diet will help.

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Hi All & @Irene



I started the 1 TBSP: 3 gallon salt regimen [10 gallon tank] on Wednesday and did a 30% water change yesterday, maintaining the same concentration. The water parameters have remained 0 A/N-ite/N-ate. Temp is 76F in a quarantine tank. He remains a vigorous eater and active.

I can't tell if it it's getting worse, or just the degradation of bad tissue from previously. See pics - you will notice there is a hole in his dorsal fine where it was black before. 

I am concerned because compared to the picture with yellow hut above, the anterior portion of his ventral fin is blacker.

Thoughts?  It just seems odd that he is behaving so well but it is slowly worsening. We are going on 6 weeks now.

Should I...

  • increase salt?
  • restart antibiotics for fin rot?
  • add a ton of Indian almond leaves?
  • something else?

Thank you in advance for all the fish love and advice!





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On 1/8/2022 at 10:47 AM, Levi_Aquatics said:

I would probably up the salt dose a bit and maybe put in a couple Indian almond leaves. 

I agree with Levi. Here is our salt article and you can see that Level 1 concentration of salt is the equivalent of a mild antibiotic ointment. When my fish's fins grew back, they were usually discolored and then would turn back to normal colors eventually.


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Hi Friends,
Thank you for all of your sage advice for Cutie's care!  I have moved to almost 1 tbsp: 1 gallon ratio of salt, added frozen foods to his diet, and just finished a 3 dose course of kanaplex (first course mid December...see first post).  He is a voracious eater and swims around the tank scouting things out and resting in his betta log and various huts/houses.

He seems to be doing better - take a look at the new pics and tell me if you agree. 

Questions - There seems to be a small bit of erosion on the body at the base of his dorsal fin (see attached pics).  

  1. Should I be concerned?
  2. Should I start an oral med?
  3. How long to continue the 1:1 salt in the aquarium? 




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