While your first reaction to betta fish fin rot (some know it as betta fish tail rot) may lead you to think your beloved betta has contracted some form of aquatic zombie virus, this ugly condition is however, common and treatable. So go ahead and put down your fish zombie slaying machete and crossbow while you read on in this easy to understand field guide to Betta fish fin rot!
Betta Understand What Fin Rot Is
Fear not because treatment and relief is in sight for your (used to be) fluffed finned, fish friend!
Bacteria, my dear-ia, is the root of this rot. It may not be a surprise for you to learn that your betta’s aquarium isn’t as clean as it may appear. Don’t go breaking out the rubber gloves and bleach just yet, as all aquariums have this bacteria breeding in them and is not dangerous in and of itself. Danger to your betta happens when certain conditions are not met. For example, if your aquarium is not clean or if it is too crowded. If your betta fish is injured or simply just stressed, that bacteria can and will find a weak spot to call home.
Often times, a newly brought home from the store betta fish will have this fin rot preexisting. This betta fish disease is also often caused by the betta suffering stress from certain, less than ideal, conditions living in the store. This is all not to mention the less than fun adventure of transportation to and from hatching to home.
Fear not because treatment and relief is in sight for your (used to be) fluffed finned, fish friend!
Betta Recognize Fish Fin Rot
Neglecting betta fishys is bad mmmmk?!
Just to get this out of the way, it is important to note that betta fish fin rot can and will be difficult to identify and diagnose on darker color betta fish. Careful observation daily is very important in maintaing your betta’s health. This is really not too demanding because you most likely brought home your betta to watch at home anyway. Neglecting betta fishys is bad mmmmk?!
First we have to take a non-condemning, yet honest look at the aquarium and owner. Did you read and memorize our betta care guide? Is the aquarium being cleaned on a frequent and regular basis? Is your betta being housed with messy roommates that really shouldn’t share an aquarium? These two questions sound too “beginner level” to be an issue, but remain the leading causes of bettas suffering fin rot. Not to mention that any treatment for the rot will be ineffective if these 2 issues are not resolved.
Now then, lets take a look at fins of your betta fish.
Do the betta’s fins look like they are ripped, frayed or tattered?
Do the betta’s fins look fuzzy around the tips?
Are they abnormally red near the tips or around any tears?
Do you notice any areas that are grey. brown or black not apart of the betta’s natural coloring?
Do these signs appear to be just beginning, or are they heading towards the betta’s body?
If your betta shows any or all of these symptoms, it’s fairly safe to assume that your betta is dealing with betta fish fin rot. Before we can move on to treatment, you need to find out just how severe the betta’s fin rot condition is.
Lets divide the condition of betta fin rot by 3 levels of seriousness starting off with the “not-as-bad”:
Mild Betta Fish Fin Rot
The redness at the betta’s fin tips will be only slight, with minor looking irritation.
The fin rot will be localized only at the fin tips and nowhere else on the fish.
The color at the fin tips will appear only slightly darker in color than normal.
The fin tips appear only slightly frayed.
The next level of betta fish fin rot is:
Major Betta Fish Fin Rot
The fins are bloody, covered in fuzz and appear red in many different spots.
The fins have greatly receded toward the body.
The fins color appears extremely dark, or even grey, and is apparent that the fin is starting to die.
This dark coloring extends beyond the fin tips into large areas of the body of the fin.
There is great damage to the entirety of the fins with large rips, tears and even chunks missing. This would be damage not resulting from a fish fight.
The last level is:
Extreme Betta Fish Fin Rot
At this level the fin rot has transformed into betta fish body rot. The fin rot has actually spread past the fins and into the body of the betta. This stage, once entered, is very serious and has to be taken care of quickly and carefully. The obvious signs of betta fish body rot are that the fins are completely receded to the betta’s body, there is fuzziness, and often the fins are completely gone.
Betta Get Quarantined
initial concerns should be that the betta fish that has fin rot is secluded, and that the betta suffers no added stress
The odd are that your betta is alone without any tank-mates to spread the rot to. In the off chance that your betta is not the only one in the aquarium, you need to find another place to keep your fish while undergoing treatment.
It is recommended that you look for a quarantine tank no larger than 2 gallons as it will be easier to administer treatment this way. Although not recommended for permanent living, a half gallon tank will be a suitable quarantine environment.
As with standard water changing and fish transfer, make sure the water of both aquariums are the same temperature before moving your betta. 77 degrees is nominal and can be easily keep at this temperature with an aquarium heater. If the temperature is too much higher, the fin rot bacteria can grow and spread faster. If the temperature is too much lower the betta will be too cold in general.
Overall, your biggest initial concerns should be that the betta fish that has fin rot is secluded, and that the betta suffers no added stress because of water temperature if transferring.
It’s important not to overdose in effort to cure the disease faster
Believe it or not, experienced betta owners have delivered the most successful treatment for betta fish fin rot with simple Aquarium Salt and clean water.
Aquarium salt is also known as Sodium Chloride. Sodium Chloride naturally heals a betta’s open wounds. Aquarium salt is also a great natural de-stress additive for bettas. Aquarium salt is really inexpensive and is generally available anywhere fish supplies are sold.
Even though aquarium salt is natural, is should only ever be used as a medicine. Never for long stretches of time and only in required doses. The reason for this is that if aquarium salt is used for extended periods of time, your betta can suffer damage to it’s liver and kidneys.
You should also never use aquarium salt as a preventative medicine. That is to say, do not use aquarium salt to stop a problem before the problem exists. The reason for this is that the diseases will build up a resistance to the medicine and it will no longer be effective.
The proper dosage for aquarium salt can be found on the aquarium salt’s labeling. It’s important not to overdose in effort to cure the disease faster. An example of overdosing the betta fin rot treatment would be using half a tablespoon of aquarium salt when the proper dosage calls for a single teaspoon. You can relate this to taking more painkillers for your headache than is needed. The end result will not be what you will want, and often the extra medicine will not do anything at all.
A Betta Fish Fin Rot Treatment
What follows is just an example of treating a mild case of betta fish fin rot with aquarium salt. Please understand this as just an example, and that it is assumed that the example betta is already in it’s quarantine tank. Be sure to read the labeling of your aquarium salt thoroughly before administering treatment to your own betta fish.
If you do not dissolve the aquarium salt before adding it to the tank your betta fish is in, it will burn your betta fish!
Starting with a small and clean container, fill the container with some clean aquarium water from the quarantine tank. This container with water will be used for pre-dissolving the aquarium salt before adding to the quarantine tank. If you do not dissolve the aquarium salt before adding it to the tank your betta fish is in, it will burn your betta fish!
Next, mix 1 teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon of tank water the quarantine holds in the small clean container. If your quarantine tank is half a gallon, mix one half aquarium salt. If your quarantine tank is 2 gallons, mix 2 teaspoons aquarium salt. Mix and dissolve the aquarium salt completely. You do not want to burn your betta fish with undissolved aquarium salt!
Lastly, add the fully dissolved mixture of aquarium salt and quarantine tank water into the betta’s quarantine tank. Please do so very gently so that you do not disturb your poor betta fish.
Major betta fish fin rot
If you have identified your betta as having Major betta fish fin rot by using the descriptions of it above, the dose should be increased to 3 teaspoons aquarium salt per gallon of tank water. This increased dosage will make fully dissolving the aquarium salt take longer. Please mix and add the 3 teaspoons of salt per gallon in two separate batches an hour apart. For example, mix 1.5 tablespoons of salt per gallon completely and add to the tank. Wait an hour and then mix and add another 1.5 teaspoons of salt per gallon again. This brings the total salt content of the quarantine tank to 3 teaspoons over an hour’s time. If you were to add the entire 3 teaspoon aquarium salt mixture all at once, you will most likely end up stressing your sick betta fish. Again, make sure that the aquarium salt is fully dissolved so as not to burn the betta.
Betta Feel Better
And that’s it! You have successfully given proper treatment of a mild case of betta fish fin rot to your betta. However, the hardest part, and only thing left to do, is be patient and let the aquarium salt work.
Always, always preform a complete water change before adding your aquarium salt mixture!
After 24 hours preform a full water change in the quarantine tank. This will help keep the bacteria from growing further while providing a clean aquatic enviroment for your betta fishy. A complete water change will also make re-dosing the aquarium salt easier and far more accurate. With every complete water change, continue to re-dose with the fully dissolved aquarium salt prescribed in the same amount as was done initially.
Never add more aquarium salt to the water in a quarantine tank that has already been dosed before. The salt levels will build up and this will kill your betta. Always, always preform a complete water change before adding your aquarium salt mixture!
Betta Get Out Of Quarantine
it takes about 7-10 days of daily treatment and complete water changes for your betta fish to begin healing
In general, it takes about 7-10 days of daily treatment and complete water changes for your betta fish to begin healing itself. Depending on the severity of the betta fish fin rot, it will take some time to see and the fins regrow. Patience is always the key in any medical treatment, but is well worth the wait to both you and your betta. When the fins start to re-grow, they will appear clear at the ends and will, over time, regain their natural color.
It’s also good to make sure that your betta’s aquarium filter stays off during the fin re-growth process. It will also help your betta grow it’s fins back faster if you change or cycle the water more frequently than your regular betta care routine.
Betta Treatment for Extreme Fin Rot
Dealing with betta fish fin rot can be really tricky in some cases. You can follow all procedures of treatment perfectly and have it be ineffective or come back to haunt your betta shortly after recovery. In these cases the fin rot has become extreme and resistant to overall general treatment. If you find, after trying the methods above, that you are dealing with one of these forms of resistant fin rot, there are medicines stronger than aquarium salt that can be used. Medicines stronger than aquarium salt should be used very sparingly! These medicines not only pack a punch against bacteria, but can also harm your betta fish. On top of that, bacterias can quickly learn to adapt to these medicines and become resistant to them as well.
Medicines stronger than aquarium salt should be used very sparingly!
It is very important to thoroughly read the packaging/labeling on all medicines prior to their use so you will not cause harm to your betta. Also, it is important that you do not combine medicines and/or treatments unless instructed to do so by the labeling.
Lastly, you need to be sure that you have removed any carbon filters for the aquarium being treated. The carbon filter will remove most medicines from the water with or without being turned on. It is also important that you change out all of the water before treating with medicines. Adding a bubble stone to the aquarium before treatment is a good idea as it will increase oxygenation in the aquarium and therefore increase the effectiveness of the medicine.
The most frequently recommended betta fish fin rot treatment is Maracyn 2. Maracyn 2 is a broad-spectrum antibiotic made specifically for use in aquariums. It is used in the treatment of many betta fish ailments, but can have fantastic results in dealing with resistant forms of betta fish fin rot. You can find this medication in most major pet stores.
Betta Fish Fin Rot “FIN”
Keeping your betta clean, warm and well fed without any stress will help keep your betta away from any of this rottenness.
This concludes the identification of, and treatment for, betta fish fin rot. While this has been a lot of scary sounding information to learn about, remember that simplest solutions often work the best. Clean water and regular water changes alone can do wonders for your betta’s health and happiness. Betta fish fin rot is much easier to deal with by preforming regular preventative maintenance. Keeping your betta clean, warm and well fed without any stress will help keep your betta away from any of this rottenness. Here’s wishing you and your betta all the besta !