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Tail Biting Or Fin Rot? And Other Strange Behavior


soky

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So, after having problems with goldfish, a few months ago I decided to switch and get a betta. But, I'm new to this and don't know what to expect from him. He has a 4 gallon tank with a heater (temp a pretty constant 82 degrees) and a lighthouse to swim through. The pH is around 7.2 - 7.4. The tank is unfiltered, so I change 100% once a week. He seems mostly healthy, eats like a pig, and swims actively, but occasionally (once or twice a week) I'll see him dart around the tank. It doesn't quite look like flashing, as he doesn't seem to be rubbing on anything, but I don't know what else he'd be doing.

About two months ago, he suddenly had a chunk of tail missing, and about half an hour later another chunk was gone. Ever since then, he goes through a cycle where his tail heals and starts growing back, and then suddenly it's frayed/missing pieces again. Also, he stopped flaring a while ago. Whenever I show him a mirror or point at him (he used to flare at my finger) he just backs away slightly and stares. Sometimes he paces in front of the mirror, but no flaring.

Can anyone make sense of my silly fish for me? Is his tank not set up right? More frequent water changes? Lower the pH? Is the temp too high? Or is he just a nut-case with a bad tail-biting habit?

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http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art17131.asp

Here's an excellent article explaining the best temperature to keep a betta in and why. You seem to be a bit on the high side. The other thing is I found that my bettas do much better in a filtered tank. Even though I did weekly 100% water changes also, they would eventually get kinda lethargic and the fins would start looking ratty. As soon as I decided to put them in my filtered community tanks, however, they all perked up and started showing lots of that cute betta personality!

I currently have only 2 betta girls--one in a 16 gal tropical community tank and one in a 5 gal by herself. The temps are around 72-74F and both are filtered of course! I clean them every week--usually more than half the water changed. The girl in the big tank I've had for over a year and she is thriving in that environment. The other girl I've only had a few months but she's doing great in the 5 gal so far.

Hope that helps! :)

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Thanks for the response, Kristi! I lowered the setting on his heater, so we'll see if that helps. I do have a small filter that would fit in his tank, but my only concern would be that his tank is taller than it is long, so it would be harder for him to escape any current. I suppose I could always just put it in and see what he thinks of it, or even try to find room in my dorm for my long 9-gallon. I do miss partial water changes and a cycled tank, 100% every week is kind of a pain.

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I have a Half moon that is in a filtered 6 gallon tank eats his tail. Yes betta's do that. No one really knows why. It could they feel the long flowing heavy tail is slowing them down. Or they could be bored. Or it could be diet. Or it could be.... No one seems to really know why they do this.

The first one I had that did this was scared of his own shadow so maybe that is why.

82 is a little high I keep mine about 72. My oldest is now going on 2 years and he is in a bowl with no filter but it does have live plants. I am very lazy about the water changes on him though. I think the plants are a huge help with unfiltered tanks. I also have one female in a bowl with plants.

I also have a Super delta in a planted 6 gallon with an air stone and keep that one at about 72 also. His tail gets splits in it from time to time but he has yet to eat it and he has been in that tank for over a year. So far so good.

I also like to give a varied diet. But like I said I still have a tail eater. He well let it grow out some and just when I think he well leave it alone it is gone again.

Good luck

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