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Diagnosis and proper treatment for betta fish.


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I am coming here to pick up some brain storming out of the specialist in fish diseases here.I have been having a lot of trouble with my Betta fish. I have him since a little over a year, bought him at Petco. He was already quit grown then so I estimate he is around a year and a half old. He has been only worries from day one! So I'll give a little background, but before I start I will put all the water parameters out of the way. 

I keep him in 14 gallons heavily planted, he has always been in cycled set up, even in the hospital tank I use a seasoned sponge filter. The way I set up my stocking vs plant I have constant nitrates levels and phosphate levels under detectable range so close to 0. I still do a weekly water change of about 15%.

When I got my Betta, he showed signs of heavy constipation and fin rot. I treated him with the med trio and fed him kanaplex for 10days. Following that he was better for a month, then his fins started curling. I havr very hard water, I read it can cause fin curl. So I re-scaped the tank added substrate than lower the hardness and started using a mix of tap and distilled water for water change. Now the pH sits around 7 and the hardness around 5degrees. Betta's fins uncurled, healed and he was fine for a couple months. Then he started getting tears in his fins. When it got bad I treated him with maracyn and maracyn 2 for 10days. It came back again. I took out everything even mildly sharp, sanded the rocks and wood, even remove the top tube of the sponge filter. Still came back. I started thinking he was bitting his fins, so I worked out on finding tank mates. Some I tried stressed him out and made things worse. Until I found the right combination of Otocinclus and amanos shrimp that entertain him without stressing him. He got better and for 4 months, no fin damages were observable. 

Then I had a problem in the tank, the wood started rotting and I had some fungus growing everywhere, the fungus infected my shrimps and the otos started dying. Betta fish had the worst fins ever. So I took everyone out of the tank, in separate set ups. I medicated the shrimp, they kicked out that fungus after 2 molts. Medicated the Betta with fungus clear and kanaplex for 10 days. In parallel I re-scaped the tank to remove that rotting wood. I put everyone back healthy a month ago. All the the little habitant love the new scape, my Betta healed and even started to look pretty.

Then yesterday morning a spotted the come back of the dreadful fin problem!

Here how the symptoms look:

The fins don't look especially frayed it looks more like tears. But they exhibit tiny red sore at the tip. Rather than progressing in fin loss, the red spots just come and go. One day one place, another day somewhere else. It's always on the fins, the tear left behind often doesn't heal but doesn't get larger. Just new tears appears.

The picture below shows how my Betta look like as off yesterday:PXL_20230323_193116321.jpg.70daadf74dd723d4e4598715a7b953de.jpg



At this point after 1years of the same chronic problem is there even a point medicating? 

I should mentioned that it never affects his behavior, it doesn't matter how bad his fins look he is oblivious to it! I just worry all the time that it is going to cause him a major infection, so I medicated every time it looked too bad.

So any thoughts on what it is? Chronic fin rot ? Fin bitting ? Something else? Bad immune system?

Here is the list of medication I tried so far all showed slight improvement but never stopped it from coming back: Kanaplex, Maracyn, Maracyn2, ParacleanseSalt, fungus clear & botanical/tanins.

anyone has already seen that? Or knows? Because I am sooo tired of it. 






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Ugggh @Clo, so sorry. Here's a reality. These Betta with super loooonnnnggg fins are an issue. He may always have them. You've done a lot of what any of us would do. @Chick-In-Of-TheSea has also had similar issues with her Gepetto so maybe you can read up on that journal as well. 

I have one very long finned Betta. So far, knock on wood, he's been fine even when I first got him as a neglected Betta from the big box and nursed him back to health his fins were gladly the least of his issues. But I can see where in his lifetime they are something I will need to watch very closely. 

Keep doing what you're doing. Treat when you find it necessary. Keep his water super clean. 

You say you use botanicals do you plop a Catappa leaf in or? I don't like to keep decaying things in my tank much (though the shrimp would like it). I make Catappa leaf tea instead. Boiling water with the leaf and using that with water changes when the temp comes back to room. Just one thought in case you weren't already doing it. In some of my problem tanks I've used Polyfilter, an absorbent that changes color, tells you what is going on in the tank and what it's soaking in. Now sadly it will also soak in "organics" and you can't use it while medicating (great for taking meds out of water) but it will absorb ammonia and other harmful things. I just keep it handy when needed. 

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Hello thank you for sharing. I do believe that these Betta with long fin are not in the best health either. I won't get any one like that again, i just got another Betta a baby plakat samurai and seeing how well he swims make me sad for all the long fins ones out there.

I use both leaves tea and direct pieces in the tank. I put a small piece of catalpa, jackfruit or mulberry leaf for my shrimps. They eat it in about 10days. So I don't really have decaying matter. I remove it once only the nerves are left and put a new one. 

I will look up that journal, thanks! 

Where can I find this polyfilter? Do you have a link for it? I think I'll try. 

For water change I use water that I prepare a week ahead and age with activated carbon and phosphate pad. It has allow me to significantly decrease the amount of silicate from my tab water and algae growth in my tank. My shrimp are also healthier since I do that. So I do think some things are harmful in my tab water. So maybe I'll use the polyfilter both in my aged water and in the tank.

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On 3/24/2023 at 10:58 AM, Chick-In-Of-TheSea said:


Reading through the journal I think I try most of the same things.

My Betta rarely flares, he doesn't glass surf so I never blocked the light on the side.. but I could try. There are tones of floaters so the light is pretty dim. 

Maybe should share a picture of the tank. Although since I changed everything in it twice not sure it's a tank problem PXL_20230303_041003508.jpg.391216fe7605943fe0a1a88393a3ed65.jpg

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On 3/24/2023 at 7:52 PM, xXInkedPhoenixX said:

Here is the pack I buy, comes in a 3pk, you don't use the whole thing, i just cut a small square or strip and hang it in the tank with a veggie clip. you can float it or whatever you like.

Check this out! https://a.co/d/iRF7JRZ


Interesting! That would be a good thing to put in the tanks when going on vacation.

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@Chick-In-Of-TheSea yes it also helps in my small 3 gallon QT tanks if I'm going to be gone for a few days and unable to do water changes. People use it when shipping fish sometimes (found it while watching a Rachel O'Leary YouTube, quite a while back, she would pop a small square of the stuff in a shipping bag). 

Edited by xXInkedPhoenixX
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