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The Ultimate Guide to Betta Fish Fin And Body Rot

start of fin and body rot due to small container

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The Ultimate Guide to Betta Fish Fin And Body Rot

start of fin and body rot due to small container

Betta Fish Fin Rot And Body Rot Causes?

Betta Fish Fin Rot And Body Rot is one of the most common diseases in tropical aquarium tanks.  The thing is that ths is easily preventable by following proper water maintenance.

It is also essential that you always test the pH levels of the water in your fish tank.  The proper pH level for a thriving Betta FIsh ranges around 7.0 to 7.4 pH.

pH Test Kit in my home

Fin Rot And Body Rot can be caused by environmental in nature such as stress.  When the Betta Fish are transported from overseas or when they are contained in small plastic containers in Pet Stores they are suseptible to  predisposition to stress.

The number one cause for Fin Rot and Body Rot is Poor Water Quality.  If the water is not maintained then the Betta Fish Tank will be a habitat for parasites, bacteria and fungus.

With all the factors considered then the Betta Fish will be surely be susceptible to FIn Rot And Body Rot since the immune system will be easily invaded by bacteria.

Most of the betta fish diseases are caused by poor water parameters. Regular 25% weekly changes is a must and should be a part of your weekly household or office chores.

The bacteria is actually already present inside the betta fish tank. The bacteria attack the tail and fin of the betta fish if it is experiencing severe stress and weaken the immune system.

If your water is cloudy with recycled fish excrement s and rotten decayed food then this will cause high toxicity of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate build up.

In order to maintain the best conditions of the Betta Fish Tank then you have to get a Water Test Kit.  Picture of the Test Kit is shown below:

Water Test Kit

With these toxic elements inside your betta fish tank or community fish tank then, of course, the disease will strike anytime to your betta fish and its tank mates if you have a community fish tank setup.

If there are too many fish mates it will also accelerate the fin and tail rot since the water conditions will be very poor with too many excrement s cycling around with rotten food clouding the water.

How to Test Water Parameters On Your Betta FIsh Tank?

Follow the Steps In Obtaining Good Water Quality on your Betta Fish Tank

  • Temperature must be the same as the Betta Fish In the wild with ranges of: 78 to 84 degrees Farenheit
  • Did the water pH levels improved after 25% water change? ( Check the proper water parameters )
  • Make sure that there are no uneaten food that causes dangerous Ammonia levels
  • Gradual 25% water changes every week to attain the correct pH level.

Fin Rot And Body Rot Can be caused by a bacterial or fungal infection.

Bacterial Fin Rot or Body Rot

The Betta Fish fin will not be even.  The body and fins will look like something is eating it away.  This type bacteria might be present already when you got the Betta Fish from the store due to cramped space and its body is already on a weaken immune system.

The bacteria is already present in the water and it just attacks the fish when it is already lethargic and in a very poor water condition.

Fungal Fin Rot or Body Rot

This fungal Fin Rot and Body Rot will be more evident than the bacterial infection.  The Betta Fish Body will be worst as compared to a bacterial infection, white edges on the betta fins will be evident.  You might notice that fungal infections only attack the external tissues of the Betta Fish.

There will be also white blotchy patches all over the Betta FIsh particularly on the head and the body.  Fungal infections are actually very contagious.  It is best to quarantine when introducing a new fish.

Fungi are always present in most aquariums.  This infection again may attack when the aquarium has poor water conditions and when the fish is stressed.

Betta Fish will  be stressed out with the following factors:

  • Cramped space when obtained from the store
  • Shipments from Overseas
  • Overpopulated Community Fish Tank
  • Poor warer parameters

Fungal and Bacterial Infection

There are times that both fungal and bacterial infection happens at the same time for your Betta FIsh.  The infection is mainly caused by:

  • Poor water conditions
  • Injury due to fin nipping from overcrowding or bad transhipment cramped container
  • Poor Diet
  • Stress
  • Maybe a secondary infection from another prevailing illness
  • Betta Fish Fin Rot And Body Rot vs Fin Loss

Betta Fish Fin Loss

The Fin Rot will start at the edge of the fins, and it gradually destroy all the fins until it will be evident on the base.  In case if the infection reaches the fin base then the Betta Fish will not be able to regenerate.

If is left untreated it will reach the body and will be severe Fin Rot and Body Rot.

This is very common in the stores selling mass produced Bettas in crampy containers which the water is not maintained.

Here are some of the pictures taken in stores selling Bettas in very small containers.

crampy containers in pet stores

Betta Fish Fin Rot And Body Rot Symptoms

Overview on the symptoms of Fin Rot

Symptoms

anatomy of Betta Fish

There are various stages on the betta fish that you can visually see from the top, tail and bottom fins as you can see on the picture depicted above.

If you just ignore and do not make the immediate 25% water changes then it will lead to a severe case as depicted on the top page of this article.

There can be around three stages of fin rot on your betta fish.

Minor / Initial Fin Rot

Here are some the observations that you need to encounter when the Betta Fish is still on its initial stage which can be cured easily.

  • You will notice that it is the beginning of fin rot.
  • There are small whitish spots and tips on the fins of the betta fish.
  • And also some jagged fin edges that is not normal in appearance.
  • You will notice that when the betta fish swims and extends its fins, it will not be symmetrical anymore.
  • The fin rot has not yet reached the body

Major / Middle Stage Fin Rot

If your Betta is suffering a major fin rot then you have to take important steps to remedy the situation.  You will notice that there is some white foam or cotton-like appearance on the fins.  The major fin rot will eventually weaken the immune system of your Betta Fish and this might lead to secondary infections and will also lead to Severe Fin Rot

  • A lot of the fins have receded.
  • The fins are not is big as before
  • When the betta fish is swimming it needs some extra effort and strength to propel.
  • Fins are almost near to its body tissue
  • Big chunks of fins are falling off the body
  • 1.5cm of the fins are already dead
  • Most of the fins are covered with white fuzz
  • There will be red bloddy spots on the fin rot

Severe Fin Rot

start of fin and body rot due to small container

severe fin rot

As depicted in the picture above again the tail and fins are almost gone.  In this scenario, you have to monitor closely and work hard to cure this problem.  Once the fin rot reaches its body then there is no chance for the fins to regenerate anymore.

  • The betta fish is struggling to swim.
  • The body looks like to come out of a battlefield.
  • The whole body is inflamed and looks like it is injured.
  • You will notice that there will be cotton-like growth all over the body and especially where the former tail and fins are located.

In this condition, the betta fish will surely get infected with other types of the disease since the immune system is very susceptible to another onset of bacterial infection.

Betta Fish Fin Rot And Body Rot Treatment

Treatment

The treatment will depend on the stage of the fin and tail rot condition.

It is basically straightforward to treat the betta fish on the tail and fin rot ailment.

Minor / Initial Fin Rot Protocol

1. Do a 25% water change immediately. Make sure that the temperature is around 78-81 degrees Fahrenheit.

You have to make sure that the water heater is still working.

2. Try to clean the aquarium gravel with a siphon or hand vacuum to rid of excrement, rotten food, and other debris. Try to remove the filter and wash it with tap water to remove the excess food debris and fish waste.

You can reuse the filter since it is washable. Do not completely wash the filter too long on the tap water since you need the bacteria that was already established to be placed back into the fish tank. Just a quick rinse will be sufficient.

Wash all the decors on tap water. No soap of course.

3. If the fish tank is overcrowded then move some tank mates into another fish tank which of course needed to be cycled.

4. Observe the fish tank for about a week. If you have noticed that the fins are healing and the white spots on the tail and fins disappear then your betta fish is on its way to recovery.

5. Always ensure the have the regular water changes.

Major / Middle Stage Fin Rot Protocol

1. Try to do 25% water changes every 2 to 3 days instead of every week. This will improve the water parameters on the fish tank.

2. Make sure again that the water heater is working since the betta fish natural habitat is in a tropical climate with 78-81 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Add some aquarium salt to your fish tank. Around 1 teaspoon will be sufficient for your 10-gallon tank. You have to mix the aquarium salt in a glass of water first before adding it to the betta fish tank.

The aquarium salt will try to heal the wounds faster and relieves stress.

If you add the aquarium salt into the fish tank without dissolving it then it might burn your betta fish since it is too concentrated when entering the fish tank.

You have to do it gradually.

4. Do a 50% water change every day for about one week and observe. If the betta fish is not healing then follow step 3 above again for another week.

For sure by following the steps above your betta fish will surely show signs of healing.

Severe Fin Rot Protocol

1. If you see your betta fish that have cottons like growth all over its body and almost no tail and fins you have to do this immediately.

Prepare a 2-gallon hospital tank completely and be sure to cycle water before adding the betta fish.

Try to add an air pump for extra aeration on the hospital 2-gallon fish tank.

Try to make a 25% water change every 2 to 3 days and observe the betta fish.

2. On the main fish tank, you have to make a complete makeover or sanitize everything.

You have to clean all the decors, plants, gravel and filter.

Make sure to clean everything on hot tap water and lay it on direct sunlight including the fish tank until it is completely dry.

You should do this because it will kill all forms of disease it is inside the original fish tank.

3. Try to nitrogen cycle again on the main tank ensuring that everything is ready again for the betta fish.

You have to check the water parameters, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels on your main tank.

4. Add the recommended medicine on the hospital tank. Follow the instructions on the antibiotic: Maracyn II, Fungus Cure API Brand, Kanamycin and API Furan-2.

5. When you see that your betta fish is getting back its fins which is normally after 2 to 3 weeks then it is time to prepare its return into the original community fish tank.

You have to make sure that the community fish tank is not overcrowded or else the disease will be back.

Be sure that you do not put tank mates like tetras since they like to nip fins. The new fins of the betta fish is more delicate and thin.

Some tank mates might think it is food so you have to make sure to have very docile tank mates.

Betta Fish Fin Rot And Body Rot Preventive Measures

Not to worry about the Betta Fish Fin Rot and Body Rot.  If you do the following maintenance procedures then there is no way that your Betta Fish will develop this common disease.  You just have to make sure that the water parameters are constantly monitored.

  • Is I have mentioned it is essential that you keep regular water changes.
  • The best method is to keep a plastic container small and big enough to scoop water on a daily basis and dump it on to your plants.
  • But doing a 25% water changes every week is good enough to maintain your betta fish community tank.
  • Try to rinse the filter every week or every month if you do not have time.
  • Also, try to avoid live foods to eliminate possible bacterial infection. If you wanted to give live food to your betta splendens then it is necessary that you have to culture it yourself ensuring that the food is clean and no bacterial or parasitic invasion will occur to your community fish tank.
  • Try to keep the portions small enough and just feed once a day or every other day will be sufficient.

Here is a video that shows you to feed the Betta Fish in small proportions and make sure that they only consume the right amount and not uneaten food left in the tank that will produce toxic Ammonia levels that will be a breeding ground for bacteria.

By the way I always feed my Betta Fish frozen foods that comes from reputable manufacturers.  It is also important to feed a variety of foods.

Do not think that just feeding him or her Goldfish flakes is good enough.  Goldfish food is totally different from Bettas in the wild eating behaviors which contains a lot of live food.

Keeping regular water changes is always the best and easiest way to prevent all kinds of diseases.  Here is a video that shows you how to test the water parameters on your Betta Fish Tank

Here is a video showing that you should be testing your water tank on a bi weekly schedule or monthly schedule

Will Betta Fish Fins Grow Back?

Yes the Betta Fish Fins will grow back in the case of the mild and major Betta FIsh Fin Rot.  As long as the Fin Rot has not yet reached to the Betta Fish Bidy Tissue then the fins will eventually grow back to its former glory.

In case if the infection is on the severe fin rot and body rot, then the fins will not be able to grow back anymore.

If you have noticed that the fins are growing back then it is advisable to remove objects that might cause the ripping of the fins such as sharp objects and corners.  Make sure that you just keep recommended plants and decors on the Betta FIsh Tank.

In the case of Minor Fin Rot

It is in fact that the growth of the Betta Fins can be compared to the growth rate of your toe or finger nails.  It will just take a few weeks for you betta fish to recover its fins

In the case of Major Fin Rot

In case the infection have reached the base of the fin then there will be some fins that may no grow back.  But if there are portions of the fin rot that have not yet reached the base then there will be full recovery in some sections of the Betta Fish.

In the case of Severe Fin Rot

The fins will grow back anymore since the infection reached the body.  As a responsible pet owner, you just have to make sure that the water parameters are always within the range of the Betta Fish and proper temperature with the best possible feeding and care would hopefully have a lasting Betta Fish in your tank.

Is Fin Rot And Body Rot Contagious?

Fin rot and body rot is contagious since it is the bacteria and fungi that is present in your water that infected the Betta Fish in the first place.

Sometimes when you purchased the Betta Fish a pet store that house the Betta Fish in small containers then the water might have consistent water changes and you may have noticed that the water is not clear and feces also circulating around the small plastic container.  In this scenario, the water is already bad when you purchased the Betta Fish.

It would be advisable if you quarantine your Betta Fish first in case you are adding him or her in a community tank so that the bacteria will not spread to the other fishes.

The Betta Fish that is inflicted with fin rot and body rot has the bacteria present already inside and can easily spread so it would be best to do 25% water changes everyday until the water is clear.

Of course you also have to clean the debris, feces and uneaten food at the bottom of the fish tank.

In my case I do not have any uneaten food lying at the bottom of my tank since I have Cory Catfish who is a bottom fish dweller and eats all the remaining food at the bottom.  Cory Catfish is one of the recommneded tank mates for betta fish and there is problem puttinh this two together in a betta fish tank.  An apporitate size will be around 5 gallons to keep everyone happy.

cory catfish

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