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Betta extreme fin rot (?)


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My younger sister has a poor betta fish which she got about 6 weeks ago. It is our first fish ever, and needless to say, we are not knowledgeable about anything fish related. Plus, it wasn't very helping that the owner of the local fish store said everything she wanted to hear as a customer, which after reading a lot online I am beginning to doubt any of it was true.

When she first got it, its fins were already looking pretty bad. It's been deteriorating slowly, and lots of small water changes didn't help. I went back to that fish store to look for a medicine and he recommended Acriflavine yesterday. I moved the fish to a small tank (because I saw it can kill all the beneficial bacteria, plants and snails in her main tank) for 2 hours and added the medication to it. Then I put it back into the main tank.

Before using the medication it was eating and acting normally, and it's still the same after putting him back in.

Water parameters are:

pH: 7.4
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 5
Temperature: 27C

My question is: since it looks so bad and we didn't treat it the minute we got the fish, is it even possible to save that fish? Will it grow back its fins now, and how long would it take if the answer is yes?

I appreciate any help.


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The best bet would be to order some maracyn. Here is a link:


I have had very minor finrot, where all you had to do was to fix the problem of why it was happpening. But in this case you will need a medicine.

 Maracyn is plants and invertibrates safe I beleive. All though you could move him to a smaller tank, to treat him. Just make sure the water parameters are fine in that small tank. You should leave him in the smalll tank the ENTRIE treatment. To keep the cycle alive in the display tank, just keep feeding it. Because you have snails you can drop in a cucumber. The benficial bacteria will feed on the amonia (fish poop, left over fish food, etc.)


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Agreed with @James Black, as I understand it as long as it doesn't take hold on the body of your fish it should be fine although you should still treat it. If it does reach his body you can also dose some aquarium salt at 1 tablespoon per 1 gallon of water, however this will be toxic to any plants in the tank. You'll also want to feed something with a high protein percentage especially since Bettas are normally carnivores in the wild.

Edited by FlyingFishKeeper
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It is common for fish owners to overreact and do what I call too many water changes. Thus why your ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite are so low. Slow down take a deep breath. Your sister's betta, although looks from the pic to be exhibiting stress behavior, I do not see any active bacteria film or hemorrhaging. Which is good. 


Let's tackle this step by step:

1. Too many water changes can upset the bacteria balance in the water and ultimately cause spikes, typically at night. Go back to the normal 20% weekly (or 10% bi-weekly).

2. Stop moving the fish back and forth, let him acclimate and settle in. Each move causes stress and is more likely that the bacteria will take hold. If you notice strong deterioration or stress behaviors I would go ahead and move him to a hospital tank and do a full treatment of medications prescribed above.

3. If you have access to high protein live foods use them (daphnia, hyalella, cyclopidae, etc.). I would steer clear of live what are commonly called black worms and red worms for now as they have a higher rate of parasites transfer.


If you do this your chances of survival and eventual regeneration of fin membranes goes way up. Keep in mind that bettas are the most neglected animal in the aquaria hobby alongside goldfish. If he does kick the bucket is not your guys' fault. Don't take it as being bad fish owners or give up on the hobby. It happens to the best of us 🙂

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I agree with @James black I would start  treatment with maracyn as soon as possible as long as fin rot doesn't spread to the body you have a good chance of cureing him  most fin rot is caused by poor water conditions but water parameters are fine  you could Qarantine and treat with maracyn and aquarium salt 1 table spoon for 2 gallons for 1 week

Edited by Colu
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