Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Kim 04-30-2008 08:49 AM

Diagnosing Fin Rot in Betta Fish
I just bought a male betta fish from a pet store and noticed some discoloration (brownish in color) on the bottom of his tail. None of his other fins seem to be affected, and the hole that was in his tail is healing nicely. He also seems to have some new fin growth on all of his fins (it is clear and healthy looking). The discoloration does not "seem" to be growing and I have been watching it since I got him on Sunday. Otherwise he is perfectly healthy and loves his new home. He is in a 5.5 gallon tank with an Azoo Palm Filter, heater (the water temperature is a constant 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit, and thermometer so that I can monitor the temperature easily. He has a few plants (one that he loves to sleep on), a shelter, and gravel. The pH is about 7.0. I feed him bettamin and bloodworms both of which he loves, and am careful not to overfeed him. As for his water, I will do a 25-50% water change once a week using tap water conditioner and a small amount of aquarium salt. My water comes from a well , is fine for us to drink, and does not have any chemicals added so I do not need to age it. When I set up the tank, I used the recommended dosage of stress zyme to start up the biological system and will again add some at 1 week and 2 weeks after the initial setup as the directions recommend. I know how to treat fin rot, but am just having trouble diagnosing it as I have seen some pictures of bettas with this brownish tip to their tails that are actually growing new fin tissue. I don't want to medicate if it is not necessary and I appreciate any advice that you can give me. Thanks.

bettababy 04-30-2008 10:55 AM

Can you post any photos? It's going to be very difficult for anyone to help diagnose a problem we can't see.

Your description sounds as if he may be recovering from fin rot, or that the fungal part of it is gone, for now, but that doesn't always mean the bacterial part of the illness isn't still very much active. If that is the case, it will appear to heal and then all of a sudden get worse again. This is common and because many medications for fin rot only treat the fungal part of the problem.

Being a new betta, anything is possible. They frequently come in to the stores with issues, and lack of care in the stores will also cause issues. Holes in the fins are usually a pretty good indication that there is a problem.

It would be a good idea to put him on a preventive treatment of methylene blue and fungus eliminator together for 7 - 10 days. This will handle the bacterial problem as much as any fungal problem he may be dealing with so that it doesn't get worse or come back right away. If you decide to do this, please don't use aquarium salt during treatment. The fungus eliminator has salt in it, and too much of a good thing is no good.
It is very possible that the salt you are using now is acting as a medicine to promote the healing of former damage, but salt won't "cure" fin rot. Also, salt long term with a betta is not a good idea. They are very sensitive to salt content, so once "treatment" is finished for health purposes, the use of salt should be discontinued.

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