Ordinarily, betta fin rot and tail rot (melt) is a gram-negative bacterial infection or fungal infection that is extremely prevalent in betta fish. Specifically, it is more common in uncycled tanks and small bowls. Similarly, fin rot attacks and begins to eat away at a betta fish’s beautiful fins. Particularly, many bettas purchased from large box stores may already show signs of fin rot due to
- water quality and
- temperature problems in small cups.
Hence, be careful not to confuse fin rot with fin biting, tearing, or splitting. Specifically, these are due to physical injury from boredom, fighting, or snagging sharp decor. Also, you don’t want to medicate an otherwise healthy fish. Meanwhile, the major difference here is the lack of white, red or black edges around the deterioration.
What Causes Fin Rot in Betta Fish?
Generally, before you start treating fin rot, you should know what causes fin rot in bettas. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, you know!
Specifically, the number one cause of fin rot in bettas, as well as all fish, is poor water quality. Basically, this is going to make your aquarium a breeding ground for
- parasites, and
- fungal infections.
Furthermore, on top of this poor water quality will also stress your betta fish out. Meanwhile, over time this will weaken their immune system, making them more susceptible to fin rot.
Thus, if you’re not sure whether the water quality in your tank is bad, then ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the temperature of your tank under 78°F?
- Does the water inside the tank appear cloudy?
- Are there any pieces of uneaten food or feces in the gravel?
- Also, are the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels too high?
Therefore, if you notice any of these problems then you need to start working on them as soon as possible.
However, poor water quality is really not the only cause of fin rot. On the other hand, fin rot can occur due to overfeeding or underfeeding. Also, inconsistent feeding can stress your betta fish out. Therefore, causing their immune system to weaken and increasing the possibility of fin rot occurring.
Is Betta Fin Rot Fungal or Bacterial?
Ordinarily, believe it or not, fin rot can be fungal and bacterial. Meanwhile, once you know what to look for you’ll better be able to gauge which type of fin rot your betta is suffering from!
Bacterial Fin Rot
Generally, when your betta is suffering from bacterial fin rot, it won’t be even. Instead, it will appear rather uneven and cause the rotting to look more ragged. Similarly, the bacteria that cause this type of fin rot often cause damage when your bettas immune system becomes weakened. Meanwhile, it may have been in the water the whole time.
Fungal Fin Rot
Specifically, if your betta is suffering from fungal fin rot then the rot will appear more even across the fins. Hence, you may notice a white edge on your betta’s fins. However, don’t confuse this with white spots which could possibly signify ich (another infection).
Is Betta Fin Rot Caused By Stress?
Ordinarily, as you’ve probably guessed by now stress can also cause fin rot. Therefore, when high-stress levels combine with poor water quality, poor diet or injury then the result can usually be fin rot of one kind or another.
What are The Symptoms of Bettas Fin Rot?
Generally, you already know that the most common signs are fins that appear receding or rotten, but what other signs are there?
Symptoms of Mild Fin Rot
Ordinarily, if you catch fin rot in this stage then the chances of your betta making a full recovery look extremely good. Therefore, common symptoms of mild fin rot are:
- The betta fins just being slightly darker in color.
- The tips may actually be changing color to brown, grey, or white.
- Also, the edges may just be beginning to appear tattered and worn
- Similarly, the tips may look irritated, red or sore.
- And most importantly, the rot won’t appear to be anywhere near your betta fish’s body.
Symptoms of Major Fin Rot
Generally, major fin rot often has these symptoms:
- The fins recede dangerously close to the betta’s body.
- Also, at times you may notice whole clumps of fin falling off at once, instead of a gradual change.
- 1.5 cm of the betta fins may be dead.
- Likewise, the discoloration of the fin at this point will be incredibly dark. Thereby, you will be able to clearly notice the fins are starting to die off.
- Also, the fins may also begin to cover in white fuzz.
- Meanwhile, oftentimes they’ll have red spots on them.
Symptoms of Severe Bettas Fin Rot (Body Rot)
Specifically, if fin rot progresses all the way to body rot, then you’re going to have to work extremely hard to save your betta fish. However, symptoms of body rot are:
- The fins recede completely to the body.
- Also, your betta fish body is beginning to rot away.
- Likewise, where the beginning of the fins was, there may be white fuzz.
How can you treat Fin Rot in Bettas?
Generally, treating fin rot in bettas is going to be easier the earlier you catch it. Thus, the first step is to consider whether it’s necessary to move your betta fish to a quarantine tank.
Particularly, if your betta fish lives in a tank over 2 gallons or with anything else living (including plants), then you should quarantine it as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, by quarantining your betta you’re going to reduce the risk of fin rot spreading. Similarly, it causes less stress for your other fish which would otherwise have to deal with more water changes.
Lastly, if you’re using medicine it may have a negative effect on the plant life and betta fish living in the tank.
Setting up a Quarantine Tank for your Betta
Basically, if you house a betta fish on their own with nothing else, then you won’t need to worry about this section.
However, if you do need to set up quarantine, then this is how to go about it! Specifically, it’s important to remember that a smaller quarantine tank is normally better. That is, it will be easier to dose with medication as well as changing the water.
Meanwhile, that’s why your quarantine tank should be no bigger than 2 gallons.
Thus, the first step is to add water to your quarantine tank. Particularly, you should fill your tank to the top with conditioned water.
Meanwhile, once you are through with this, place a heater and filter into the tank and add the necessary medicine.
Furthermore, when your tank hits the right temperature, take your betta out of its normal tank and place it into the quarantine tank. Also, you’re going to want to make sure that your quarantine tank has some places that your betta can hide.
However, try to avoid things they can hurt themselves on.
Specifically, just remember that you should acclimatize your fish before adding it directly to the tank. Therefore, to do this just place it in a bag full of the original tank water.
Thus, once you’re through with this, let the bag float in the quarantine tank for 15 minutes before you release your betta into the quarantine tank.
However, if you have a filter then, you can do partial water changes, 25% of water every 72 hours should be sufficient.
Particularly, if you’re not filtering your quarantine tank then you’re going to need to do a complete water change.
Betta Fish Fin Rot Treatment (What Medicine Is Best?)
Generally, the betta fin rot treatment that you plan on using will be dependent on the severity of the condition.
Similarly, this treatment may also depend on whether your betta is alone in a tank, or with other fish. Therefore, if this is the case, it’s obviously important to keep the treatment as noninvasive as possible!
Aquarium Salt For Betta Fin Rot
Ordinarily, some medications cause damage to a betta’s labyrinth organ which it needs to breathe. Meanwhile, while the introduction of aquarium salt could stress your betta out, if you use it correctly it’s not going to damage your fish.
However, just like all medications, you should use it only when necessary. Meanwhile, there are a few things you need to remember, such as:
- Specifically, you should never use aquarium salt for more than 10 days at a time. Ordinarily, it should not be in the fish tank. Meanwhile, prolonged exposure can cause problems. Particularly, like kidney and liver damage.
- Also, you should always use the correct dosage, which you’ll find on the product.
- Meanwhile, remember while aquarium salt is incredibly effective, it’s not going to work in the most severe cases of fin rot. Therefore, it’s going to be far less effective in low-quality water.
Bettafix & Melafix for Betta Fish Fin Rot
Usually, other popular medications that a lot of people recommend are bettafix or melafix. Particularly, they are both from the same ingredients except bettafix is a more diluted version.
However, you should not use bettafix and melafix on betta fish as they can cause damage to a betta’s labyrinth organ. Also, if your betta is suffering from fin rot then it’s often better to choose aquarium salt.
Hence, bettafix and melafix may be a lot more suitable for fish that don’t have a labyrinth organ.
Mild Betta Fish Fin Rot Treatment
Ordinarily, if your betta fish is suffering from mild fin rot, then it may not even be necessary to treat the fin rot directly. Basically, fin rot predominantly comes from poor water conditions.
That is, in some cases, it’s viable to clean the tank and perform a water change. Therefore, to do this, follow the instructions below:
Basically, before doing anything you’re going to need to make sure the temperature and pH of the tank are adequate. Thus, your tank should be between 76-78°F. Meanwhile, with a pH that is as close to 7 as possible.
Meanwhile, once you meet up with all these parameters, you should do a 50% water change. That is, change 50% of the water from your tank and replace it with conditioned tap water.
Next, clean everything in the tank. Specifically, use a gravel vacuum to rid the gravel of any debris that can harbor or encourage bacteria to grow. This can be actually things like old food and feces.
Likewise, if you’re using a filter in your tank you should clean it in the tank. Ordinarily, this is going to help keep the good bacteria in the filter. Also, the water which is beneficial to keeping ammonia levels low.
However, if you’re housing a lot of fish in your tank, and you feel like a high bioload causes the poor water conditions, then you should consider moving some fish to another tank.
On the other hand, in cases of mild fin rot, this can often be enough to cure it. Meanwhile, you should keep an eye on your fish over the coming week to see if things are improving or getting worse.
Major Betta Fish Fin Rot Treatment
Ordinarily, if your betta is suffering from major fin rot then keeping your aquarium clean isn’t going to be enough. Hence, at this point, you will require a stronger treatment and you should isolate your betta, if it hasn’t been already.
Basically, the first thing you’ll need to do is to move your betta to a quarantine tank.
Identically, the next step is to clean the filter in your show tank to help preserve the good bacteria.
Meanwhile, once you’re through with this, empty 100% of the water from the tank and clean everything with hot water. However, if you need to wash your plants then use warm water instead.
Therefore, once you’re through with this as well, place everything back into the tank and refill it with conditioned water.
Next, mix your betta’s aquarium salt with conditioned water in a separate container. Thus, once it fully dissolves then you can add it to your quarantine tank.
Thereafter, you’ll need to do a 100% water change every day. Meanwhile, make sure that you never add aquarium salt to the same water twice.
Particularly, do this every day for a week and monitor how your betta is doing. Therefore, after a week if you begin to see improvements then you know the method is working.
Severe Betta Fin Rot Treatment (Body Rot)
Basically, if your betta is suffering from body rot then aquarium salt will no longer do the job. Therefore, at this point, you’re going to have to use stronger medication. Meanwhile, this can include API Pimafix (anti-fungal) & API Furan 2 (anti-bacterial).
Again, move your betta fish to a quarantine tank. However, only this time it’s vital you keep the water oxygenated, you can use an air stone or bubbler. Ordinarily, strong antibiotics can often remove a lot of the oxygen making it hard for your fish to breathe.
Identically, just like before, completely clean everything in your main tank and fill it again with conditioned water. Meanwhile, ensure the water parameters are back to normal.
Therefore, administer the recommended doses of medication to your betta.
However, whatever you do, don’t stop the dosages early, even if your betta is showing signs of recovery. Meanwhile, you have to follow the instructions exactly.
Also, remember that you should also be doing 100% water changes before dosing your betta again.
Meanwhile, once the treatment is over, acclimatize your betta then add him back to the original tank.
Also, when your betta is recovering from body rot you should take anything out of the aquarium that can cause damage to his fins. Generally, they’re going to be incredibly delicate until they fully recover.
Likewise, if you can, try to keep your betta away from other fish until he is healed completely.
Ordinarily, using strong medications is incredibly stressful for betta fish. Meanwhile, at this stage of fin rot, it’s quite possible that your betta will not survive.
How can you Tell if Fin Rot is Getting Better?
Ordinarily, now that you know how to treat fin rot in bettas the next step is identifying when symptoms are improving. After all, you really don’t want to prematurely stop treating your betta fish or over-treat it.
Also, you’re not going to tell instantly if your betta fish fin rot is improving. Nevertheless, rather you should be monitoring your fish over time. Meanwhile, if you notice the fins are regressing further into the body then you may need to use a stronger treatment.
However, here are the most common signs that betta fish fin rot is improving.
First, you may notice that the white edges around your betta fish fin are disappearing.
Also, if the fin rot was more severe you may begin to see a clear membrane on the fins.
Similarly, the fins and tail should start to look better. That is, they’ll be less ragged and healthy-looking.
Lastly, if there was any dark discoloration in the fins then it should be turning back to its original color.
Thus, all of these signs are positive and show that your betta fish is on the mend. However, even if you see these signs you should still keep dosing your betta fish until the medication cycle is complete.
On the other hand, stopping the cycle early may cause the fin rot to come back. Also, it may be even more resistant to medication.
Do Betta Fins Grow Back After Fin Rot?
Basically, the good news is that in most cases the fins will grow back after fin rot. Particularly, in some of the more severe cases, the fin may never grow back. Nevertheless, often times a betta would not survive anyway.
Therefore, when you notice the fin growing back you should do everything you can to help encourage it! Basically, this can include taking anything sharp out of the tank which your betta can catch or cut his fins on.
Meanwhile, most importantly, you should keep your water as clean as possible to help the healing process as well as reduce the chance of fin rot occurring again.
Ordinarily, you should see a noticeable difference a month after your betta is cured. Also, a betta fish fin grows at about the same rate as your fingernail. Meanwhile, if the fin rot is severe it may take a matter of months before the fins fully heal.
Similarly, it is interesting to know that sometimes the fin won’t grow back in the same color it was before. However, it could be a few shades darker or lighter.
Is Betta Fin Rot Contagious to Other Fish?
Basically, fin rot is extremely contagious. Therefore, once you know that the bacteria or fungus that causes fin rot is in your tank you’re going to have to do a 100% water change to get rid of it.
Likewise, you should scrub everything in your tank with hot water and clean the filter as well. Meanwhile, once you’re completely through with cleaning your tank you should monitor all your fish to start looking for symptoms of fin rot.
Can Betta Fin Rot Kill A Betta?
Ordinarily, if you do not treat it, fin rot can be fatal to bettas. Hence, the moment you notice fin rot occurring you need to act immediately.
However, in extreme cases, fin rot can lower the life expectancy of a fish to a matter of weeks. Therefore, if you think your fish has this level of fin rot then sometimes it’s better to euthanize them.
How To Prevent Bettas Fin Rot
Basically, here are a few of the best things you can do to prevent fin rot.
- First, make sure that you’re cleaning your tank regularly. Particularly, if you have a smaller tank (2-3 gallons) then you should clean it every 3-5 days. However, if you have a bigger tank (5 gallons) then you only have to clean it once a week.
- Next, the more your tank holds the less you’ll have to clean it because it’s harder for the water conditions to change dramatically when there’s more water.
- Also, if your tank is over 5 gallons then you should aim to do a 25% water change or higher every week.
- Next, if your betta fish is living with other fish then you have to make sure that you don’t overcrowd the tank. Generally, overcrowded tanks increase the bioload. Meanwhile, the bioload is any organic matter that a fish produces. Therefore, as you can imagine, the higher the bioload the more risk of bad bacteria growing in your tank.
- Also, ensure you’re feeding your betta high-quality food. Particularly, low-quality food can increase how stressed your betta is, which in turn can compromise his immune system.
- Likewise, use a filter in your tank to help cycle the water. However, just make sure that it’s not too powerful as this can stress your betta out.
- Similarly, you should use a gravel vacuum to clean any old food, feces or debris from the bottom of your fish tank.
- Next, if you notice that other fish are nipping your bettas’ fins then you should separate them from each other.
- Lastly, try to handle your betta as little as possible.
Better Understanding of How to Treat Fin Rot In Betta Fish
Did you know that there are a whole range of illnesses and diseases that can affect your betta fish? Hence, it’s important to know the signs of them and how best to treat them.
Dropsy In Bettas – Basically, dropsy is a very serious disease and if it’s not caught early enough, it will often result in death.
Velvet In Bettas – Ordinarily, velvet is a common disease in all fish, including bettas. However, if you don’t treat velvet early enough it could quickly lead to permanent damage to your betta fish.
Ich In Bettas – Particularly, this is similar to velvet in the fact that it’s going to be very noticeable on your bettas scale. However, if you don’t remove ich from your tank quickly enough it can affect every fish.
Cloudy Eye In Bettas – Ordinarily, if your betta fish has the cloudy eye you’ll know it’s one of the less severe illnesses. Therefore, with the right care and preventative measures, you can cure a cloudy eye quickly.