One of the worst things a betta fish owner can witness happening to their betta’s beautiful long fins is to watch pieces of it waste away. This tragic illness is known as fin rot. Just as the name implies, the fin begins to rot away in small amounts over a short period. Fin rot is common amongst all types of betta fish and can easily be cured with the right medication and care.
If you notice that your bettas tail is not looking how it used to, this article can help you!
Table of contents
Fin Rot Explained
Fin rot is caused by an infection that slowly begins to eat away at bettas fins. This results in the fins looking ragged and torn. It will appear as if your betta’s fins have been through a blender. This is usually caused by a gram-negative bacteria or fungal infection which is prevalent in betta fish species. The fins also begin to melt, and it will seem like bits of the fins are fading away which leaves uneven and ragged fins. Every betta owner will deal with this illness sometime in their life and luckily it has a high success rate and most healthy bettas can easily overcome this illness.
Tail Biting or Fin Rot?
Both tail biting and fin rot look identical, however, they are truthfully quite different. Both in terms of treatment and causes.
For one, tail biting is a self-destructive behavior brought on by stress and boredom in bettas. Whereas fin rot is controlled by pathogens that eat away at fins without the betta’s involvement.
These two issues are equally serious, but treatment varies. For instance, stress that leads to tail biting should be addressed by finding the root of the issue, whether it is caused by a small tank or more commonly strong flowing filters. Many people will witness their betta biting their tail and see bite-sized marks towards the ends of the fins which makes it easy to diagnose. Tail biting can make the fins more susceptible to bacteria and fungus that can cause a form of fin rot.
Sometimes incompatible tank mats will nip the fins of your betta which can give them a ragged appearance. Always monitor the behavior of certain fish if you add them into your betta’s tank.
Determining if your betta has fin rot is the first step to a successful treatment. Keep in mind your betta may not show all the symptoms, but if you notice most of the symptoms are showing up on your betta fish, then it is likely they are suffering from either a mild or severe case of fin rot.
5 Causes of Fin Rot in Bettas
Effective Treatments for fin rot
These medications seem to have the best healing ability for a betta with fin rot. There are two stages to treatment that contain different medications. Here is a thorough treatment list to help your betta successfully heal from their ailments.
Preventing Fin Rot in Bettas
Fin rot can easily be prevented by providing your betta fish with the right conditions. Bettas should be kept in a fully cycled tank (established beneficial bacteria from the nitrogen cycle) that is over 5 gallons. Although a 10 to 20 gallon is better long-term. The tank should have a filter and heater to keep the water ideal. A 30% water change should be done weekly to remove toxins that build up in the water. You can also place 1% of aquarium salt in the water to promote your betta’s slime coat naturally.
Another medication can be placed in the water to keep the overall water clean and free of harmful bacteria and fungus. Bettas should only have live or silicone plants in their tank to prevent rough decorations from snagging and tearing their fins. Always make sure the filter is not strong enough to suck in your betta as they are generally quite poor swimmers.
A healthy betta can easily withstand major symptoms associated with fin rot and survive treatment and the healing process. Bettas are quite hardy and should rarely fall ill if they are fed a good diet, have an appropriate tank with the necessary equipment, and on top of all that have their water changed regularly to keep the ammonia and nitrate down.
We hope this article has helped you to diagnose, treat and prevent fin rot in your betta fish!
Featured Image Credit: Wirestock Creators, Shutterstock