Betta sick (fin rot?)

macleod92

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Our Betta, Laslow, has fin rot (maybe?) that we don’t seem to be able to get rid of.

Some context: he usually lives in a 55L tank. He lived in there alone for a while, with a bonsai tree, sand on the bottom, and 4 moss balls. Heater and filter, water temp around 26 degrees. We do regular water changes and water quality was good.

We then bought 5 cherry shrimp and 2 nerite snails for the tank as well.

Shortly after they were added to the tank, we noticed Laslow had a small series of holes in one of this fins (in the middle, not at the sides). We thought he might have caught it on the tree, so kept an eye on him. But he got worse - holes in all fins, and his bottom fin was torn.

We then realised one of the snails had died unnoticed. We removed the snail immediately and did a big water change immediately. We also set up the 10L tank we use for quarantine, and moved Laslow into that tank a day later.

We’ve been treating him in the hospital tank for about a week - with daily 50% water changes, 1tsp salt per water change and Esha 2000. Again, the tank has a heater, and it has a sponge filter. We’re trying to keep the water temperature a bit lower than normal - around 24-25 degrees C. He has a flowerpot and an artificial plant to hide in, and a betta hammock.

A couple of days after he was moved, he looked much better - all the holes were healing, but then he started to get worse again. He’s now worse than he was when he was first moved into the tank.

His behaviour is entirely normal, but we’ve had some problems with stress in the hospital tank. The bottom seems to be reflective, and he flares a lot at himself, although we’ve managed to pretty much entirely stop that by adding the flower pot. He seems much more relaxed over the past day or so, although his fin rot is still getting worse.

His top fin is now split into 4 or 5 sections, and he has lots of holes in all of his other fins. The ends of his fins are discoloured - a clear/ brown colour.

Does anyone have any advice for what we could try?
 

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Gill

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The best medicine for any fin damage is indian almond leaves. 5 in his tank, it will heavily dye the water. and will be the most natural healing for a betta.
The leaves will not affect any of his ingabitants and they will feed off the biofilm.

Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk
 

MirandaB

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I agree with Gill,I'd also stop using the salt and put the temperature back to what he's used to.
How long have you had him?
I also see you're in London where the water is usually quite hard,are you using tap water?
 

Simon Cole

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Improve his diet. You should be able to collect mosquito larvae at this time of year. Aphids and caterpillars too (no ants). California blackworms, whiteworms, gridal worms, bloodworms - one or two per day only, daphnia, fruit flies etc. What triggered it looks like bacteria and remotely-possibly shrimp damage (unlikely with RCS). All my quarantine tanks are 40 litres. Oxygenate the water to it's max. Salt was a smart idea. I do not touch EHSA because it is full of copper and sulphur, reminds me of toxic waste. When it gets bad, I prefer 2-3ppm potassium permanganate baths to take the gram positive bacteria off their epidermal tissue. Some people prefer antibiotics, and others prefer salt. I would start with diet, oxygen and tank size. Never, Never EHSA. But that is just my experience, many would disagree. Keep that fish moving about - get your hand up there and draw him over when he becomes static for too long.
 
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macleod92

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Thanks for getting back to me.

I’ve got some Almond Leaves due to arrive tomorrow which I’ll give a go. I’ve also put his temperature back up to see if that helps.

Diet wise he gets bloodworms so I presume diet isn’t a factor?

I am using tap water in London which isn’t ideal but seems to do alright for my other fish and is what my LFS was keeping him in.

I’m sure it’s in part personal preference but as I’m getting conflicting info regarding using salt, can anyone explain to me why I shouldn’t?

If I’m not using salt I guess I could put him back in to his main tank with some almond leaves giving him more space to roam.

Thanks as always for the advice!
 

Simon Cole

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Avoid frozen foods because they tend to rot as they are distributed to the retailer. They are not very sanitary. Indeed - i have had similar disease caused by frozen bloodworm - was that the trigger? Live bloodworms on their own can cause constipation and most people say you give them sparingly. You really need to expand into some more nutritious foods. Fruit flies and grindal worms are ideal. The better the diet of the invertebrate - the more nutrients it will pass to your fish. Aphids and small caterpillars are packed full of vitamins and you can find them immediately. Don't source them from moderately toxic vegetation like ragwort. Look for nettles, prunus trees, brambles cabbages etc.
Salt needs to be looked at carefully - rock salt, table salt and epsom salt should be substituted with high quality sea salt. You need to get this isostatically balanced with the fish. I always use it as the first step. Good salt has even been shown to slow the bacteria growing on on the outside of the fish.
Get inside the psychology of your fish - provide some dark high-up perches just below the water surface, going down. Provide some dark areas. They like caves and get very attached to tunnels. They like the excitement of seeing you coming over with a bit of live food several times per day. They need areas with no flow (and no shrimp).
 

macleod92

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We’re pretty certain the trigger was a dead snail.

He’s in a bare bottomed hospital tank, which has a flower pot and artificial plant with lots of hiding spaces low down, and a betta hammock near the surface, which he really likes too. He’s by himself in there.

In terms of diet, he’s being fed a complete Betta nutrition mix with freeze dried whole krill and shrimp. We’re also feeding him freeze dried bloodworms and we’ve ordered some Fluval bug bites with soldier fly larvae, which is due tomorrow. We’re in London, so finding bugs outside isn’t the easiest, and I’m not sure we’d know what we were looking for anyway.

We’ve stopped putting in the aquarium salt for now (we’ve been using API), as per advice, and we’ve got some almond leaves coming today, which we’re going to try. We’ve stopped with the Esha as well.

He’s still deteriorating, although his behaviour is still normal.
 

alto

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FWIW I’ve fed only Hikari brand frozen foods for years without issue, shipped & handled responsibly frozen foods should remain frozen

Bug Bites Betta version is different enough from Tropical that Bettas make their preference known ;)
 

Simon Cole

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I'm a big fan of bug bites. Sorry - I meant to say "substituted by" in my earlier post relating to salt. Video above is excellent.
 

jaypeecee

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Hi @macleod92

You appear to be having a bit more bad luck, I see. You may remember that I posted on this thread:

https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/guppy’s-keep-dying-help-with-diagnosis.60417/

Is your Betta in the same tank that your guppies were in? I seem to recall that we suspected Columnaris with the guppies, is that right? I also notice that your Betta seems to have a whitish covering on its body.

JPC
 

macleod92

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Sorry @jaypeece - for some reason I didn’t get an email that there were any updates to the thread.

Yeah unfortunately I’m having more issues on top of the guppy’s. The Betta has always been in a separate tank but has unfortunately gone on to have these problems.

I was hoping to post today that the fin rot seemed to be improving having moved to using an almond leaf. And while it does, we’ve also now noticed that he has a bit of a discoloured patch on his back. It’s actually hard to tell what it is, it might be that his scales have come off in that patch. I've attached a couple of pictures. If anyone has any thoughts I’d love to hear them.
 

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alto

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Can you post a video of the Betta?

Do the fins appear “clumped” or “sticky” - does he still flare and extend all fin rays?
 

macleod92

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Here’s a video -
His fins don’t seem clumped or sticky from what I can tell. He’s not done much flaring but to be honest he didn’t do much before this.
He was flaring a lot last week but we put that down to stress and after we moved his QT tank so that it was a bit more secluded he calmed down.
 

macleod92

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For what it’s worth we’ve found some of his scales in the bottom of the tank so am now pretty sure it’s a bare patch rather than discoloured scales.
 

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