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Betta Fin Rot: Top fin growing back well but back fin is still rotting away


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Hi everyone! I really need some help with my betta. He has fin rot it seems to be getting worse on the fins that didn’t show much signs of it in the beginning even though his top fin which was affected the worst is still growing back healthy. Is this a residual problem of the initial infection, is he infected again? Why is one fin growing back but the others still showing symptoms? 

This is my first betta since I was a child when I took care of mine terribly (you know the typical betta in a little bowl). I’ve tried to do my best with regard to research and everything before getting him and trying to take care of him to the best of my ability. I know I’ve probably done some stuff wrong despite all the research I’ve done but I’m going to write everything here so that you have all of the facts. It’s taken me this long to ask for help because of all the negatively that will probably come my way but I’m desperate to keep this little guy alive because he is my responsibility so I’m asking anyway. 

I got the set up in January 2024. He is in a 10 gallon tank with an Aquarium Co-Op sponge filter (new design), heater, plants, aquarium wood from a local aquarium shop (I don’t remember the type of wood but I did move my hand over the whole piece and make sure that it wasn’t sharp), and fluorite black gravel (I rinsed it all before putting it in the tank till it ran clear). I have a thermometer which always shows 78 and an ammonia alert stuck to the side of the tank. I feed him pellets once daily, blood worms about once a week for a meal, and Ron’s Chicilid Food in powder form in place of the pellets once a week as well. (I used to feed Ron’s Chicilid to him everyday but I felt I was overdosing the tank with food since it was in powder form and not pellets. I didn’t know if he was getting enough nutrients because most of the particles were smaller than he would eat.) The shop I got him from gave me some concentrated fish poop from his tanks and a lava rock that had been in one of his tanks to jump start the good bacteria. 

Background: The guy at the shop convinced me to get some tetras too. He said it was fine. Despite me having done a ton of research and I had decided to only get the betta as I was a beginner and didn’t want other fish to get hurt I was talked into it because I thought what do I know he has had fish so much longer than I have. Of course it turned out to be a bad decision within the first 24 hours he had killed 2 out of 4. I saw him attack one right in front of my eyes. Within a few weeks the other two started showing signs of being sick. They stopped schooling together and they started turning white. I didn’t know what to do and I called the shop and all he said was to euthanize them. I didn’t want to kill them but I decided to do it because I didn’t want it affecting the betta and he would probably kill them soon anyways. After I did that I ended up dosing the tank with Lifeguard All-in-One treatment just in case the betta had gotten sick to kill what was in the tank and use it as preventative. I changed his water out every two weeks with a 20% water change like I was told when I bought him. 

(Photo 1 and 2  from the first couple of days I had him. Show signs of fin curling and maybe on the top fin some initial fin rot? Please tell me if you see this too. I always just thought that the breed he was made the ends of his top fin “spiky” like that. Now I am not so sure. He also has a lack of scales around his face since I got him. Is this a sign of him being sick?

Photo 3 from the second month I had him.)

Main Problem: He seemed to be doing great after I euthanized the tetras till about a month ago. A huge algae bloom had been going on for a little over a week. I hadn’t done anything about it though because so much was going on in my life I was coming straight home from work and passing out. (Yes I know this is no excuse as he is a living creature it doesn’t matter if I am tired I should have taken more care. Trust me I’ve beat myself up everyday about it since then thinking to myself I might have been able to save him if I had just looked at very closely everyday.) He was still swimming around great and showing pretty good interest in food. One day I saw him swimming and he looked to be slightly swimming at an angle/ struggling to swim. I stared at him really closely for about 10 minutes and thought I over fed him. So I went through the whole fasting and boiled pea thing. Once I fed him the next time after that situation with normal food I noticed his top fin had a huge tear in it close to his body and then over the next couple of days the rest of his top fin fell off. When I thought I had over fed him I couldn’t see anything wrong with his fins despite how much I was staring at him and looking at my first photos of him. I believe because the obvious signs of fin rot started on his top fin and I could only see that clearly when he flared. Otherwise his top fin always overlapped his back fin and I couldn’t see anything wrong with it. (I realize now I should have been staring at him very closely everyday during feedings to check for anything unusual. I was doing that after the tetras died but I fell out of the habit. He always seemed happy so I didn’t notice anything.) Once I saw he was sick I did a 50% water change to help clear up the tank and try to help him and I started him back on the 5 day treatment with the Lifeguard. The progression of fin rot seemed to stop with his top fin and top half of his back fin. I was still really worried about him and wanted to control all the parameters. So after some research I ended up getting a quarantine tank. It was 2.5 gallons with a heater and methylene blue. I changed his main tank and quarantine tank water with 50% water changes every day for a week and then every other day for a week. His top fin started showing grow within the first couple of days of being quarantined and continue steady growth today. After that time in quarantine I decided to put him back in his main tank a few days ago. Me being the new fish owner that I am I didn’t think to take a photo of him on his last day in quarantine I just thought I’ll keep staring at his top fin and if it keeps growing back everything is fine. I would periodically look at the rest of his fins while in quarantine and didn’t notice his fins getting worse (falling off anymore). This week I noticed some blackening on the ends of his back fin and what seems to be fraying continuing up the middle of his back fin. Because I didn’t take a photo before he left quarantine I have nothing to compare it to. I did look at the photo from when he first entered quarantine and his back fin has definitely gotten worse. 
(See Photo 4 first day in quarantine)
From his first day in quarantine the ends of his back fin was still see through like when I first got him. Now that see through portion is almost completely “eaten” away and it has almost gotten to all the red portion of his back fin. As well as a fraying in the middle. Obviously he has gotten worse since his first day in quarantine. My problem is I don’t know if that was from since returning to his original tank or if it has progressively gotten worse in the quarantine tank. 

I’ve talked to two local aquarium shops about this problem when I first noticed it a month ago. The one I bought him from told me to try salt and maybe I could save his life but kind of shrugged me off. The second place just told me bettas are bred to be pretty and he probably has bad genes. I don’t know what to do. If any of y’all have any answers I would really appreciate it!

I forgot to mention I have had an albino pleco in his tank since February. I’ve checked up on him everyday and he shows no signs of fin rot as far as I can tell. When I started the quarantine process I got a siphon and have been cleaning out his tank from the gravel ever since. I know the pleco was making a lot of poop and I have been trying to keep the fish tank as clean as I can. Through this fin rot problem I also learned I should “clean” the sponge filter in the dirty water by squeezing it so I have done that since then. (I knew that while doing my research before I bought him but somehow I completely forgot about that fact. So I’m doing a “cleaning” of the sponge once a month now.)

Tank parameters: I never saw the Ammonia Alert sticker spike in the tank so I never tested the water. Once he showed signs of fin rot I went out and got test strips. These have been the parameters since checking every couple of days since the fin rot. 
GH: 0
KH: between 0-40. It is really hard to tell if it is 40 it looks lighter than that but darker than 0
PH: between 6.5-7
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0 

I would appreciate any knowledge/advice I can get! Thank you

(Photo 5 latest photo. As you can see his top fin is growing back well  but his back fin is still rotting away and getting short. 
(Photo 6 current tank set up)

Edited by Liberty
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Am not seeing any Reddening to the edges of the fins that would indicate an active infection clear edges to the fins are sign there starting to heal what I would do is add Indian almond leaves as they have antibacterial and antifungal properties you might have to add one leaf per gallon to get a beneficial effect and monitor if you notice his fins start to get worse than I would do a course of kanaplex it's a broad spectrum antibiotic treatment it won't harm your pleco @Liberty

Edited by Colu
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