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Tail biting


Andrea

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I think my betta, Klaus, may be tail biting as I've heard of this happening before and I'll explain why.

So I put my healthy Klaus on hold when I first saw him at the fish shop, came back a few days later to pick him up and he developed fin rot. I took him home and thought some nice clean water would fix it up, but though it healed, it kept getting worse and then healing a bit and so on. This continued for about 3-4 weeks.

Tuesday last week I started the salt treatment with 1 teaspoon per gallon (2.5 gallon tank) and 100% water changes, I have been doing this every day since. After a few days, it started to heal and new growth had emerged though very slowly.

I just did my usual water change and salt treatment, instead of using stress coat though I used Prime/Stress Guard. This was the only change. He seemed a bit crazy as I added him back in but he is an active little guy so I wasn't too worried.

I just went to check on him and there is two chunks out of his tail, bite size and it's only been about an hour since I put him back in so could fin rot happen this quick??? Or is he tail biting? I have not seen him actually bite his tail but do often witnessing him chasing it like a dog does.

I don't know what to do, I feel like I'm doing all I can, but probably not so please help :( He did seem a bit stressed when I put him back, but I slowly adjusted him into the water over 30 minutes as I have been doing this whole treatment.

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He's most likely fin nipping, but could you please post a picture of him?

The issue with nipping is that salting and doing full daily water changes just aggravates the issue. For fin rot, clean water with daily partial water changes and 0.05% of salt should be plenty to stop the issue and promote healing.

Could you also provide a picture of his tank setup, and the values for Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH (tap and tank for pH)

Prime is the only additive you need to add, so you don't need to continue with the stress coat :)

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STOP THE SALT!

That's alI I can say. I use to have a lot of bettas (8 at one time) before going into goldfish keeping. Tail biting usually happens when the fish gets stressed - mainly from temperture changes to sudden different water quality. I suggest you put Klaus into a bigger tank (5-10 gallons) so the water can be more stable.

100% water changes are ok, just try to keep the temp. of the new water as close as possilbe. Just try to skip the salt for awhile - since new water lessens the chance of infections in the first place.

One had a betta who started tail biting and never recovered. :no:

Good luck for your fish

Edited by KingKong
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I'll get some photos up :) I'll take some now and show you what it was before.

It was Seacheam's Stress Guard, not API's Stress Coat just incase you got confused between the two. Not sure if you did but. Just to repeat, I was just using stress coat, today for the first time I used Prime and Stress Guard.

I just did a water change, it was 100%. Do you still want tank parameters? My tap water is ammonia: 0, nitrite:0 and nirtate:0 and ph 7.6. I can check it in the morning if you'd like?

It just feels like this won't go away :(

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STOP THE SALT!

That's alI I can say. I use to have a lot of bettas (8 at one time) before going into goldfish keeping. Tail biting usually happens when the fish gets stressed - mainly from temperture changes to sudden different water quality. I suggest you put Klaus into a bigger tank (5-10 gallons) so the water can be more stable.

100% water changes are ok, just try to keep the temp. of the new water as close as possilbe. Just try to skip the salt for awhile - since new water lessens the chance of infections in the first place.

One had a betta who started tail biting and never recovered. :no:

Good luck for your fish

Ah it's so stressful, everyone tells you different things. I wasn't salting at first but as it wasn't healing I decided to.

I really think I'm going to get a bigger tank!

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Actually, you can continue the salt at a much lower dosage (1tsp per 5 gallons) to promote healing for 1 week. Water changes do reduce pathogens in the water, however salt will act as a small barrier against infection and promote healing to the newly nipped areas. Usually nippers will not develop fin rot, since they are often exposed to infection constantly that they have a resistance to it :) I've also currently got a nipper, and they are often difficult to stop

Nipping itself can be caused due to an array of issues such as stress, boredom, difficulty swimming (especially if the current of the filter is too strong), or the betta just doesn't like the length of the fins. Since yours is relatively new, stress is most likely the cause, and it may stop on it's own if you give him time to settle in.

2.5 gallons is a little too small as mentioned, so you do need to upgrade to 20L as you should have a heater and a filter (this will need to be cycled, and you can do this easily even in a bucket).

For 2.5 gallons unfiltered, a 50% water change every two to three days is enough to keep ammonia at 0ppm, and with a filtered (cycled) 2.5 gallon tank, one 50% change every 5 days is enough. You can stop with the 100% water changes :)

Edit: You can still stop with the stress guard since it isn't needed with the prime :)

Edited by Narny105
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When I first got him:

http://i1117.photobucket.com/albums/k597/Andrea-Cronshaw/DSC00766_zps3ffc3900.jpg

Before treatment begun (about 4 days before, it got a bit worse after this)

http://i1117.photobucket.com/albums/k597/Andrea-Cronshaw/_MG_0815copy_zps12b34a88.jpg

Right now:

http://i1117.photobucket.com/albums/k597/Andrea-Cronshaw/DSC00783_zps659ebb04.jpg

I don't have any photos of between before treatment and now. But it was healing, as new white growth was showing. That rounded bit in the middle is the brand new 'bite?'

Oh and my full tank shot:

http://i1117.photobucket.com/albums/k597/Andrea-Cronshaw/DSC00784_zpsbb5d31bb.jpg

Please note this is my first ever Betta. I'm totally new to tropical fish (have been owning goldfish for about 10 years, about 4 years correctly) but I did try to do lots of research before!

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STOP THE SALT!

That's alI I can say. I use to have a lot of bettas (8 at one time) before going into goldfish keeping. Tail biting usually happens when the fish gets stressed - mainly from temperture changes to sudden different water quality. I suggest you put Klaus into a bigger tank (5-10 gallons) so the water can be more stable.

100% water changes are ok, just try to keep the temp. of the new water as close as possilbe. Just try to skip the salt for awhile - since new water lessens the chance of infections in the first place.

One had a betta who started tail biting and never recovered. :no:

Good luck for your fish

Ah it's so stressful, everyone tells you different things. I wasn't salting at first but as it wasn't healing I decided to.

I really think I'm going to get a bigger tank!

Everyone has different theories.. :krazy: Personally I only use salt and medication as a last resort - water changes is my thinking to recovery.

Narny's suggestion of a lower salt dosage is great - and since your already doing salt a salt treatment go with it. ;)

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Very correct, medication is always a last resort. Smaller tropicals like bettas don't handle most medications very well, so water changes and salt are often the best treatments, plus it also covers a wide variety of issues :)

I have had that same tank kit, and although they are great for temporary housing, it's not ideal at all permanently. That is definitely a nipping issue, and due to the paling, I would say stress is the culprit.

Upgrading to 20L will definitely help, since it will be a much more stable environment for him, and there is much more room to add plants for security. You will also need to get a filter (preferable HOB like the one on the current tank) as the current filter is not suitable for an upgrade. Aquaclear 20s are great for betta tanks.

I wouldn't be paying more than $80 for a 20L tank in store, but there are also good small tank deals on gumtree.com.au

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Ugh what a waste of money :( Silly me, I thought the size wad adequate but should have known, always go as big as you can afford :)

What does paling mean? Sorry!

I'll look into the tank asap and start cycling. So I should just get an empty tank (i.e no filter attached) and buy a separate filter? Aquaclear is obviously available in Australia? Is 20 the type I would want for a 20L tank?

I just want the best for Klaus of course. Thanks for all the help!

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Oh and would you recommend a bare bottom tank? As I noticed Klaus sleeps on the bottom of the tank and I thought the little pebbles might be harming him too. I could just stick plants under driftwood/big rocks and not worry about Klaus digging them up like silly goldfish :P

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Yep, everything I mention will be available in aus :) An aquaclear 20 is actually suitable for an 80L tank, although personally due to the small amount of media it carries, it's more suited to 40L max. I have one on my betta tank as well, and the flow is really good and can be adjusted for them. They're also very reliable as well!

It's probably cheaper to buy tank and filter separate, however that's for you to decide :) Bare bottom is also a personal choice, however I find bettas do much better with well planted tanks (fake or real plants) and gravel at the bottom.

I would actually keep the tank unfiltered (the new one) and cycle the filter on the 2.5 gallon tank by just adding fish food as an ammonia source. It saves the hassle of having a fish in a cycling tank, and you can easily maintain the 20L with just 50% water changes every 3-4 days with the seachem prime until you have a cycled filter :)

Edited by Narny105
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I'm going to buy the new tank within the next few days, I'll start cycling (I'll take out some filter media from my current filter and put it in the new filter, add stability as instructions and some food too) and water changes as needed.

However, what should I do about the tank Klaus is in now? Do I just leave it? Do a water change to get some of the salt out? Should I stop with salt altogether, even in the new tank? Sorry for all the questions, I just need to be spoon fed exactly what to do about his current situation until the new tank is sorted.

Also with water changes with the 20L, I guess it depends on water quality, but often do you do a water change? Once a week, 50%?

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Yep, once the filter is cycled and on the 20L, one water change of 50% weekly is plenty, however yes you do want to keep an eye on the params :)

Just keep up with water changes of 50% every 2 days keeping an eye on the ammonia, and you don't need to add anymore salt. No need to remove it all at once.

Actually, you have a goldfish tank, right? You can just take some media from that tank and instantly cycle the new betta tank :)

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I have a filter on this current betta tank, it came with a sponge and carbon. I removed the carbon and added filter wool and ceramic rings. Shall I use them?

There is alot more to spare from the goldfish filter though, but I recently loss a goldfish to dropsy and I'm a bit scared what is in that tank/filter. I know dropsy isn't contagious but something caused it :( Ah maybe I'm just paranoid.

I'm really excited to get this new tank, I hope I can make Klaus stress free with a happy life :)

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What does paling mean? Sorry!

He does look a bit pale, is what it means :)

You already got great advice and although I am in no means a betta expert, I have noticed with my own fish (8 so far) that they do feel much less stressed if there is more cover in the tank. In your larger tank, adding some more life plants or silk plants may be a great idea. All of mine love simple floating plants, from mini water lettuce over hornwort, anubias, water sprite - whatever stays up and gives cover. :)

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What does paling mean? Sorry!

He does look a bit pale, is what it means :)

You already got great advice and although I am in no means a betta expert, I have noticed with my own fish (8 so far) that they do feel much less stressed if there is more cover in the tank. In your larger tank, adding some more life plants or silk plants may be a great idea. All of mine love simple floating plants, from mini water lettuce over hornwort, anubias, water sprite - whatever stays up and gives cover. :)

Thanks :) I actually brought some silk plants today but they were too big! So after a rinse into the goldfish tank they went. I will definitely provide more cover in his new home.

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So would just like some opinions.

I brought a 23 litre tank today but only filled it to be about 21 litres. A filter is running it which has some media from the current betta tank in it, when I clean the goldfish filter next I will also put some more in from there as there was no too much to spare from the small betta filter!

I brought some plants and will be buying a few more plus maybe some silk plants when I have some more money. Plus a background as the tank is next to a mirror and I don't want Klaus stressed from that all day!

Anyway I tested the current 9 litre tank and it was ammonia: 0.25 nitrite:0 and nitrate:0. I did a 50% water change. Now I'm just thinking how much longer could/should I leave Klaus in here? I mean at this point it seems there will be ammonia in either tank, I guess it is a question of which one will have the most?

I mean I'm not sure whether to move Klaus now or in a week or when the cycle is complete (which could be another 4 weeks away or more).

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You can move him over to the new tank provided the temp and pH are matched. the 20L tank will be a much more stable environment, meaning it will also be easier to maintain :)

If the mirror is an issue, just put a cloth over that side of the tank for now

Edited by Narny105
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The temp isn't matched as I currently don't have a heater in it because that's in the tank currently being used, but of course this could be easily swapped over and as it is summer here as you are quite aware haha, the temp is very similar anyway :)

I'll test the new tank tomorrow to see if ph is matched.

Oh and should I continue with any salt treatment in the new tank? Just to help clear up? I know you say .05%, what is this in teaspoons for this tank? The 23 litre one.

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Yep, I would switch him over tomorrow. As long as there is no more than a few degrees difference, it shouldn't matter, but you can always float him in the tank for a few minutes for the temp to adjust if there is a difference :)

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