My Bettas Tail Won't Grow Back

FalkorTheBetta

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Hi, so I went out of town a couple months ago for a month or so and when I came back, my betta's tail was completely shredded. The top of his anal fin is ripped off and the bottom half is split down the middle and just all together Shredded. My first thought (after checking that it wasnt fin rot) was that he had ripped it on one of the ornaments I had in the tank (fluval spec 5 gal) which was a big piece of wood and two of the flowery balls from petco(we sanded them down to make it smooth on the inside). So I readjusted them so it would make it near impossible for him to pinch his fins or tear them on anything. After a couple of weeks of it not getting better I got rid of the decor and replaced them with plants. After a while, algae started getting out of hand so I got a shrimp and a week later I got a snail. Again a couple weeks later, it still didn't get any better so, since it's a fluval spec and it has the troublesome intake, I put some plastic mesh over it because I had heard of other people's bettas getting caught and ripping their fins. It's been another week or so and still nothing. I've checked multiple times for fin rot but I can't see any discoloration of the fins but then again, he's metalic so I cant really tell. It hasnt gotten any better or worse as I can tell so I have no idea what's going on. If anyone can help me figure out what's going on I would really appreciate it.
 

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Ryan_F

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Hi, so I went out of town a couple months ago for a month or so and when I came back, my betta's tail was completely shredded. The top of his anal fin is ripped off and the bottom half is split down the middle and just all together Shredded. My first thought (after checking that it wasnt fin rot) was that he had ripped it on one of the ornaments I had in the tank (fluval spec 5 gal) which was a big piece of wood and two of the flowery balls from petco(we sanded them down to make it smooth on the inside). So I readjusted them so it would make it near impossible for him to pinch his fins or tear them on anything. After a couple of weeks of it not getting better I got rid of the decor and replaced them with plants. After a while, algae started getting out of hand so I got a shrimp and a week later I got a snail. Again a couple weeks later, it still didn't get any better so, since it's a fluval spec and it has the troublesome intake, I put some plastic mesh over it because I had heard of other people's bettas getting caught and ripping their fins. It's been another week or so and still nothing. I've checked multiple times for fin rot but I can't see any discoloration of the fins but then again, he's metalic so I cant really tell. It hasnt gotten any better or worse as I can tell so I have no idea what's going on. If anyone can help me figure out what's going on I would really appreciate it.
I have no idea about Bettas, but hopefully someone will come along and help you, I think usually if a fishes fins are damaged that badly they might not grow back or take many months. He doesn’t have any visible spots or defects. Hopefully they grow back but I’m not quite sure. Sorry that I haven’t been able to help you much. @Colin_T do you have any idea?
 

Colin_T

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Hi and welcome to the forum :)

The fish in the picture looks like it has a milky white edge to the dorsal (top) fin. It also looks like it has cream in the tail and a puffy mouth. Is that the same in real life?
Is the tail the same colour now as when you first got him?

Have you checked the water quality for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate & pH?
If yes, what were the results in numbers?

How often do you do water changes and gravel clean the tank, and how much water do you change?
When was the filter last cleaned?

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The fish does not appear to have fin rot, which is caused by poor water quality, however the slightly cloudy water, puffy mouth and funny colour on the fins makes me a little concerned.

If the fins are damaged they normally heal without any need for medication. It can take a month or so for the fin to grow back completely. If you do regular water changes (50-75%) every day for a couple of weeks, it can help reduce disease organisms and help the fins to heal quicker.
 
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FalkorTheBetta

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I have no idea about Bettas, but hopefully someone will come along and help you, I think usually if a fishes fins are damaged that badly they might not grow back or take many months. He doesn’t have any visible spots or defects. Hopefully they grow back but I’m not quite sure. Sorry that I haven’t been able to help you much. @Colin_T do
Thank you for your help!
 
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FalkorTheBetta

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Hi and welcome to the forum :)

The fish in the picture looks like it has a milky white edge to the dorsal (top) fin. It also looks like it has cream in the tail and a puffy mouth. Is that the same in real life?
Is the tail the same colour now as when you first got him?

Have you checked the water quality for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate & pH?
If yes, what were the results in numbers?

How often do you do water changes and gravel clean the tank, and how much water do you change?
When was the filter last cleaned?

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The fish does not appear to have fin rot, which is caused by poor water quality, however the slightly cloudy water, puffy mouth and funny colour on the fins makes me a little concerned.

If the fins are damaged they normally heal without any need for medication. It can take a month or so for the fin to grow back completely. If you do regular water changes (50-75%) every day for a couple of weeks, it can help reduce disease organisms and help the fins to heal quicker.
From what I can tell, he doesn't seem to have a milky edge to his fins though he is very metalic so the color changes depending on the light so it may be and the angle just isnt right for me. I also havent noticed that his lips have gotten any bigger so I think he may just has a funky underbite but again I could be wrong. I can include a picture of him when I first got him aswell if that helps. His tail seems to be the same color aswell. I think his fins may have gotten a tad more red and his body more blue but that may just be the light. Though I have noticed that at the edges of the fins, they seem almost pinched. Like the edges seem thinner than the rest... It's hard to explain but I don't think it was like that or as bad when I got him.
IMG_20180217_085703_122.jpg
IMG_20180131_235815_264.jpg
IMG_20180217_085703_120.jpg

I have not checked the water parameters but I can if you think that they would be relevant. I just figured that since it has been happening for so long and under so many different environments, the parameters wouldn't be the cause. I do about like 90-100% water changes every week or so (whenever I notice it get bad with algae or feces) and I clean the filter every month or two. I just cleaned it last week though and the tank yesterday. Ya I agree that the water quality at the time was a bit poor but that picture was from a couple weeks ago when I was really struggling with algae (the picture was from when I was acclimating my shrimp) but ya I definately understand the concern. Though I would have thought that it would have affected his tail like made it shorter or at least changed the pattern of the missing pieces.
My concern has definately come from that he hasn't grown any fins back from the time I got back which was about a month and a half ago. I thought that I would have at least seen something. I will start to do the daily water changes though to see if that helps; I just worry about stressing him.
 

NickAu

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Can you please answer the following questions.

How big is the tank?
Has it got a heater? What is it set to?
Has it got a filter?
How strong is the current?
Is it cycled?
How often do you change water?
How much water do you change?
Do you vacuum the substrate?
What additives or chemicals do you use? Eg De Chlorinator?
Do you use tap or bottled water? If bottled water please give us the brand.
Do you have a water test kit?
Can you tell us the readings for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate?
When you clean the tank can you tell us exactly what you do.
What do you feed him? how much? how often?
Any tank mates? What sort how many?
How long have you had the Betta?
Has he got a history of illness?
Any plants or decorations? Please give details?
Can you provide a close up photo of the fish?
Can you provide a photo of the tank?
 
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FalkorTheBetta

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Can you please answer the following questions.

How big is the tank?
Has it got a heater? What is it set to?
Has it got a filter?
How strong is the current?
Is it cycled?
How often do you change water?
How much water do you change?
Do you vacuum the substrate?
What additives or chemicals do you use? Eg De Chlorinator?
Do you use tap or bottled water? If bottled water please give us the brand.
Do you have a water test kit?
Can you tell us the readings for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate?
When you clean the tank can you tell us exactly what you do.
What do you feed him? how much? how often?
Any tank mates? What sort how many?
How long have you had the Betta?
Has he got a history of illness?
Any plants or decorations? Please give details?
Can you provide a close up photo of the fish?
Can you provide a photo of the tank?
The tank is 5 gal and has a heater that's set to 76 or 78 but the tank is consistantly at 80. It has a heater that came with the tank and it initial had too much flow so I put sponge over it to slow it down so now there's barely a ripple. I'm not sure if my tank is cycled but i've had my fish in there since the end of January so it's probably as good as it's gonna get. I do about a 90% water change about every one to two weeks. I do vacuum the subtrate but since I have plants I don't tend to go below the top layer. I use Stress Coat as my de chlorinator and I use tap water. I unfortunately do not have a water test kit but i'm looking into them so I can see what's up with his water. When I clean the tank I take Falkor (my betta) out and put him in a cup with treated clean water. Then I scrub the sides of the tank a bit to get some algae off, but try not to get too much off cause i need it to feed my snail. Then after I clean the glass, I start to syphon out all the gunk until there is about and inch or two of water left. Then I fill it back up, treat it and let it run for a few minutes after putting my shrimp back in. After about 5 minutes I put Falkor back in and give him a freeze dried bloodworm for his troubles. I feed him just a pinch of Nutrafin Max betta color enhancing flakes and maybe a freeze dried bloodworm every so often and I try to feed him twice a day but sometimes I get busy so I have to only feed him at night. I have a half inch cherry shrimp and a nerite snail in with him. I've had him since the end of January and he's always been super healthy and really energetic and happy. I have some black rocks (some of which I made into a cave for my shrimp) and some plants and I'm trying to blanket the ground with some mini dwarf grass I think it's called. I've already provided multiple close-ups of the fish but the tank looks like this(sorry for the mess):
Screenshot_20180915-142810.png
but at the time of the accident it looked like this just with another of the flower balls on the other side under the log aswell:
Screenshot_20180915-143227.png
 

Ryan_F

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From what I can tell, he doesn't seem to have a milky edge to his fins though he is very metalic so the color changes depending on the light so it may be and the angle just isnt right for me. I also havent noticed that his lips have gotten any bigger so I think he may just has a funky underbite but again I could be wrong. I can include a picture of him when I first got him aswell if that helps. His tail seems to be the same color aswell. I think his fins may have gotten a tad more red and his body more blue but that may just be the light. Though I have noticed that at the edges of the fins, they seem almost pinched. Like the edges seem thinner than the rest... It's hard to explain but I don't think it was like that or as bad when I got him. View attachment 88826View attachment 88825 View attachment 88827
I have not checked the water parameters but I can if you think that they would be relevant. I just figured that since it has been happening for so long and under so many different environments, the parameters wouldn't be the cause. I do about like 90-100% water changes every week or so (whenever I notice it get bad with algae or feces) and I clean the filter every month or two. I just cleaned it last week though and the tank yesterday. Ya I agree that the water quality at the time was a bit poor but that picture was from a couple weeks ago when I was really struggling with algae (the picture was from when I was acclimating my shrimp) but ya I definately understand the concern. Though I would have thought that it would have affected his tail like made it shorter or at least changed the pattern of the missing pieces.
My concern has definately come from that he hasn't grown any fins back from the time I got back which was about a month and a half ago. I thought that I would have at least seen something. I will start to do the daily water changes though to see if that helps; I just worry about stressing him.
Yeah sorry I wasn’t very helpful, as I said I have no experience with Bettas.
 

Colin_T

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The milky white edge to the dorsal fin is on the original picture too so that's fine. The puffy top lip is also in the original pic so should not be an issue.

Rather than removing the fish and cleaning everything each week, leave the fish in the tank and simply use a gravel cleaner to syphon out 75% of the water, and go over the gravel/ sand where there are no plants. Gravel clean around the plants but leave the plants in the gravel and don't disturb them. Do the water change and gravel clean once a week.

If you catch the fish out you can damage its fins and can stop them healing. It's a bit like if you get a cut on your finger. If you don't let it heal properly and keep moving the cut, it never heals. The fish is the same, if you catch it out you can damage the new bits of tail where it is trying to heal and it will take longer to repair.

When you go to add some clean water to the tank, fill up a clean "Fish Only" bucket (bucket that has never been used for anything except the fish) with water and conditioner, stir it up and aerate for about 30 minutes or so, and then add it to the tank. If you have a couple of buckets you can fill one with water & conditioner and let it aerate or just stir it up several times and let it sit while you use another bucket to drain some water out. Then add the bucket of clean water to the tank.

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To clean the glass in the tank, get a soap free sponge and wash it well under tap water to remove any dyes in the sponge. Keep that sponge with your fish buckets and gravel cleaner. Use the sponge to wipe the glass down before you do a water change.

If you leave a layer of algae on the back of the tank, it will make the fish feel more secure and the shrimp can run around on it and eat it.

You can also put a picture or some coloured card on the back of the tank (on the outside) to help the fish and shrimp feel more secure. Petshops sell plastic aquarium backings with different pictures and you sticky tape these to the outside on the back. If you don't like the pictures they have you can use blue, green, black coloured cardboard from a hobby shop, or even a black plastic rubbish bin liner. You just want something on the outside on the back so the fish don't feel as exposed.

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Filters should be cleaned at least once a month and every 2 weeks is great. Get a bucket of water from the aquarium and squeeze the filter materials out in the bucket of water. Get a second bucket of water and clean the filter materials in the second bucket too, then put the filter media back in the tank.

The filter case and motor (impellor assembly) can be washed under tap water.

Once the filter and media are clean, you put it back together, fill the filter with tank water, fill up the tank and turn the filter on.

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If you have algae problems then either add more plants or reduce the light. You don't have any floating plants and Bettas love floating plants. Floating plants like Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides/ cornuta) will reduce light, use nutrients and give the fish and shrimp somewhere to hang out. Water Sprite normally grows on the surface but can be planted in the gravel where it grows into a nice light green shrub.

Other plants you can try and which would look good along the back of the tank include Ambulia, Hygrophila polysperma and narrow Vallis.

Hygrophila ruba can be grown on the sides and doesn't get as tall as the plants listed above.

If you have Ambulia or Hygrophila polysperma in the tank, they will close their leaves up when they have had sufficient light. When you see this happen, you wait an hour and then turn the tank light off. By waiting the extra hour you give the plants near the bottom a bit more light and they will do a bit better.

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In the morning open the curtains or turn the room light on. Wait 30 minutes or more before turning the tank light on.
In the evening turn the room light on and then turn the tank light off. Leave the room light on for another 30 minutes or more before turning it off.
This allows the fish to wake up slowly and not go from a dark tank in a dark room to a really brightly lit tank. And at night it allows the fish to have some light (from the room light) to prepare for bed after the tank light has been turned off.
 
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