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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

My first posting :)

I used to have fishes for many years when I was a teen. About a month ago started a 5.5g betta tank with my kids. Rainbow has a great temper and can't stand anybody :) We tried with alge eaters, but after 2 hours returned them to the store :)

The tank is cycled, I hope fully - 1 week without fish and it's running for a month now with Rainbow, 2 apple snails some decoration for betta to hide, lots of live plants, filter, light, no heater yet.

He was happy for the first 2 weeks living with the snails, but then we decided to get a pair of algae eaters and then it all started. Rainbow was furious :) Did not leave the poor guys alone, they were SO stressed that we brought them back to the store. What happened though was that he started fighting the orange/yellow snail. We though he was just over stress after the fishes, but 2 weeks later he is still fighting the snail every time he sees it. Rainbow learned how to hit it to make it fall right away. It is amazing what a personality this fish has :)
He looks like a happy fish, but this last week Raibow started having some wholes and a bit of discoloring on his fins. I thought that probably fighting the snail so much keep it stressed. Or maybe having his fin up so often is not good too. I got the snail away yesterday and Rainbow started checking every small bit of the tank - amazing :)
My question is do you think these fins issues are because of the snail fight? I'll get aquarium salt tomorrow in case it is something else.
Rainbow is doing bubble nests every days, especially after we stop the filter at the evening :)

Sorry for the long posting, I just wanted to try and give as much info as possible.

Thanks!
 

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Aquarium salt is a good idea. As the hole in his tail is not a good thing. He should mellow out with age. Being agressive isn't really stress. It's just their nature. I'd look for other problems.

How often do you change the water and how much? What's all the levels at? PH KH GH NH3, Nitrite and Nitrates? A week isn't really long enough for a tank to cycle without some help....

Is there anything in the tank that he could have hurt his tail on?

If you suspect something like velvet or a fungus dose as much as 1 tsp of salt per gallon... If not dose 1 tsp per 2.5 gallons...

I'd switch out the apple snails for some ramshorns... Apple snails can get huge!
 

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All bettas have varying temperments. Some bettas are just about eager to kill everything that moves, while some will ignore snails and shrimp. Most the time, they will at least peck and chase something that offers movement. We must rememeber that bettas are territorial by nature. My bettas stopped attacking their ramshorn snail tankmates after a week and have since completely ignored them.

Pin Holes in the fin of bettas is often the result excess flaring. Yes, your betta can flare too much, and certainly at a snail. A little flaring is healthy, but too much will lead to fin damage. Pin holes often gets worse as the bettas flares, and this causes the fin to tear completely along the ray, referred to as "blowing" its finnage. Blowing finnage is a common among the large finned betta strains, such as halfmoons, doubletails, and delta tails. It is less common but also occurs in crowntails, plakats, and veiltails. Assuming your water is pristine and not a septic tank, the fins will grow back quickly.

Discolouration of the fin is usually not a good thing. Perhaps he has developed fin rot, though, we would need to see a picture first to determine this. The new fin growth will be translucent/transparent and very thing and delicate. Over time the colour will deepen and the new finnage will thicken.

I've noticed that you mentioned that you stop the filter in the evening. Perhaps a better solution is to tie some java moss at the output of the filter to reduce the flow as apposed to sacrifricing filtration. This is particularly critical if your fish already has fin damage.

Allow his fins to heal by making sure all water parameters are in check, removing the snail (as you have already done), feeding him a healthy variety of food, and remembering not to over feed!
 

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Some great advice and opinions passed on here , hope everything works out for you and your betta.Speaking on my behalf and the experiences i have had with bettas(none good so far , but crossing my fingers with my plakat) is that water needs to be at a constant temperature.Too many changes in temps have caused me troubles.This time around i bought a heater and i test the water everyday to make sure it doesnt rise or drop.Come summertime , this will be monitored closely and adjusted properly.Room temps just dont do it for me , cannot be trusted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all the great answers.

I'll give some more information.

BettaGuy, seems like my intuition about too much fighting is right according to your experience. Yes, the hole tear completely along the ray later yesterday a bit after I removed the snail. The interesting thing is that the other snail that is brown is still in the tank and the betta just checks him regularly to make sure it is under control, but no flaring/fighting at all. For some reason the other one really bothers him. I was hoping Rainbow will realize it is just a snail that doesn't really do harm, but it's been 2 weeks now and no change in his attitude. No idea why :( Now I have to think what to do with the poor snail. Can't get another tank right now and living in a jar doesn't seems right.

The water temperature might be an issue, I don;t have termometer and heater, so room temperature for now.

I am turning the filter down for the night as I feel that way Rainbow has better rest and is happier and more active in the morning. And that is the time when he build his bubble nests. There are lots of plant around filter and it is a small one, but still Rainbow can sence the flow and I though it might bother him.

I change about 0.5g (10%) of water every 3-4 days. I hope the tank is fully cicled now as it has been a month with the fish in it after a week of being empty - just with plants. It passed the phase of being cloudy and now looks crystal clear.

I don't suspect velvet, I am checking with flashlight during last few days. As for fin rot - not sure, it could be. Or too much flaring. The discoloration is minor, just the a bit at the edges of the fin that got teared. It looks like what BettaGuy said - a bit transparent. I'll try to take some pictures tomorrow.

Oh, and I feed mostly pellets for now - 2 in the morning and 2-3 in the afternoon 2-3 times a week, 3 in the morning 2-3 times a week and nothing 1 day of the week. I am afraid it could need a bit more as this guy is always SO hungry, he eats the pellets in seconds :) But I am afraid not to overfeed.

Thank you very much once again. I appreciate all the info a lot!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Here are some pictures at feeding time this morning.
They are not the best, but you can see the tear on the bottom fin. The discolouring isn't very visible, will try to catch it tomorrow as feeding time is the only time when he is more still :)

I have to say the tear is twice as small comparing to 2 days ago, so it seems to be healing well. I changed nothing (just regular water change yesterday).
There are some small tears on his tail as well, but it is hard to say probably as you don't know how his tails was looking before.

I will add aquarium salt this evening/tomorrow.





 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just a quick update that after about a week with aquarium salt he is doing much better. The fins are recovering well and he is obviously much happier.
He reacted fast, on the second day or so and by day 5 he started building his bubble nests again with melted my heart :)
The filter is running all day long now with even more hortwort around it.

Thanks everybody for the great advices!

I won't post pictures as he is not looking better than on the previous ones, but no more new holes or rips, the old ones are recovering and he is back to his happier self :)
 

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Rainbow looks really good, InfraredDream, even in your 'sickbetta' pics. I'm glad that he's recovering?

I wonder if it was the salt that caused your hair grass to melt? (I don't know anything about hair grass, but I'm just wondering.) What do you think? I've found that hornwort is content with a certain amount of salt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Mferko, what you mean by "nets"? Do you mean his bubble nests? They are gorgeous, especially some of them. I guess I have to take some pictures, it is just so sweet to watch him building them and then taking care of them adding more bubbles and do some arrangements :) He reminds me of my son when he's playing with his Legos - self sufficient, happy and creative :) I guess bettas are really best just left by themselves. Maybe I should stop thinking of any kind of "company" for his tank.

Morainy, yeah I think that the salt could be the issue with the hairgrass as it was doing fine before that. It might be just a the timing, I don't know. The hornwort is growing like crazy though. And the other plant, that I don't know it's name, is still OK - not really growing, but it seems like this one is just slow.
I hope the new plants I am taking will be OK as the water is getting less salty now. I used 2 teaspoons of salt for the 5.5 g last week when I was treating Rainbow. I put just about 1/3 of a spoon when I did the regular water change over the weekend, meaning I changed about 1 g of water.

Thanks once again for all the comments and great advices. It is such a relief to see Rainbow recovering.

P.S. I just read the whole thread again and I realized that I actually did not update you before. A day or 2 after my last posting he went really bad - he wasn't opening his fins that much and was jumping like crazy what he never did before. He was swimming around decorations and plants like he was desperately trying to scratch himself and then he would jump real fast. It was a pain to watch him struggle like that. The next day I finally managed to get the Aquarium salt and some BettaFix that the pet shop people said was better then salt. I put 2 tsp in the tank and 2.5 tsp of BettaFix and got the filter media out as it has carbon (the pet shop people said it was OK to keep it, but I thought it wasn't a good idea). Same evening I read some not so good things about that medication. So I just used it for 2 days. The water turned a bit white, not sure if that was because of the medication or lack of the filter media, it was running just as moving the water. On the 3d day Rainbow was doing better, so I made a 20% water change adding salt again, vac. the gravel, etc. and put new filter. By the end of the next day the water was crystal clear again. On 5th or 6th day Rainbow did his first bubble nest since he got sick.
I believe that was some kind of bacteria that he got - not sure if that was caused because he was stressed of so much fighting or as a side effect of the end of the tank cycling. Whatever it was I hope it is over and we want face it anytime soon.
Sorry for the long posting, I just wrote it to share the experience as it might help somebody else, I know how much I read during last 1.5 months and how much every bit of relevant information helps.
 

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i use that melafix stuff thats derived from tea tree oil if i notice one of my fishies has nipped fins or missing scales, they seem to heal up super quick after.
 

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just did a bit of research and it appears bettafix is a diluted version of melafix .2% instead of 1%, which is antibacterial
primafix is antifungal

bettas are extra sensitive to the active ingredient so thats why the bettafix one is diluted, i wouldnt recommend using melafix on your bettas after reading this:

http://www.aquaria.info/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=printview&t=17002&start=0

although lower in the post theres a response from aquarium pharmaceuticals and they say melafix and bettafix have the same ingredient and someone else in there mentioned the dose on bettafix is 5x as high as melafix, which would make the ammount of active ingredient in both methods identical...you might want to confirm this, or email aquarium pharmaceuticals.

you probably know this but bettas have an organ called the labyrinth that allows them to breath air from the surface (this is how they get most of their air, from breathing surface air, not from the water, the waters they are native to are very low in dissolved oxygen)
apparently melafix really irritates this organ (it actually works by irritating cells), perhaps because of the melafix forming bubbles and evaporating off the top its worse for them than fish with gills.

salt and raising the temperature a bit is probably the safest bet, adding bettafix if that isnt enough.

hope thats helpful
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yeah, that is exactly what I read (different article, but same conclusion), that's why I only used BettaFix for 2 days and then did a 30% water change and put the carbon filter back to clean the medication. It is odd that it is called BettaFix and the pet store guys gave it to me as the best medication for fins issues given it could actually be harmful for bettas. The pet store person even refused to give me aquarium salt at first saying it was not for bettas and insisted BettaFix was THE way to treat him.
Good that I listened to the forum and did my own research instead of just trust them.
One of the reasons I like the forum so much. And the reason I posted this loooong story as it might be useful for other's with minor experience with bettas as myself. It seems that what I was experiencing is a pretty common condition, especially for a new tank.

Thanks a lot again! You guys ROCK :)

P.S. I just want to add that I guess BettaFix is a good medication for more severe cases and it probably can be very useful. But from what I've experienced during last 10-14 days, my future way to deal with such issues would be to try with increasing salt and maybe do a few salt baths before treating with any other medications.
 
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