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Preamble:

Hello all,

I have a betta in a 3-gal "walstad" bowl. Very low tech (just a light); very heavily planted. The water parameters are fine, as is expected in an established NPT. The betta is probably about 2.5 to 3 years old (i'm not sure, he's a rescue), and the bowl has been set up for over 1.5 years. The only other inhabitants are some snails and shrimp.

He came to me with medium-advanced fin rot on his pectoral fins *only*, which healed after a while, but the colour never filled in, perhaps due to his age. Also, he has a few battle scars on his anal fin from an unfortunate run-in with a loach. Those have healed, and I can only see them because I know they are there.

Problem:

4 to 6 weeks ago he developed some type of a greyish scaly "thing" at the tip of his dorsal fin. Initially the fin became clamped, and the end looked like a little ball. Then, within a few weeks, I noticed the "ball end" started looking like it's rotting away, but it doesn't look like normal fin rot. I suspected maybe a fungus, but it's not looking "cottony" at all - rather, fairly hard. Looks almost like polyps, but i've never heard of those appearing in freshwater.

A crop of the problem area is attached. Click on the links for the full pictures, please. They were too big to upload here. You can click the pictures to zoom in. (sorry, the images are as good as I could get them, considering the curvature of the bowl and my crappy phone)

3 weeks ago

today


He is his usual self otherwise - eats normally, swims normally, chases shrimp. The only diff is that the fin is hanging on his side limply, and perhaps causing a bit of inconvenience when he's trying to make tight turns, as he has to flip it to the other side of his body. Aside from that discomfort, he seems fine, so I've been hesitant to try any treatment.

Does anyone have any idea what this might be, and whether I should be taking any action? Keeping in mind that he's pretty old, has always been generally healthy otherwise, and I'd like him to live out the inevitable end of his days in dignity and with as little stress as possible...
 

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