Betta Fish Fin Rot Treatment, Symptoms and Preventive Measures

In this article we explore the various causes of betta fish fin rot, the symptoms to look out for as well as various preventive measures to put into place so your fish do not get the condition. Also provided is a step by step guide on treating your sick fish, medication, home remedy solutions and what to do when your betta fish starts having fin rot so it can get cured.

Betta Fish Fin Rot

Why do betta fish get fin rot? In most cases, betta fish fin rot is a secondary infection which is caused by bacteria. It is therefore a symptom of various conditions caused by different factors. Ammonia and nitrate poisoning as well as injuries are some of the common factors leading to fin rot.

Age and genetics tend to predispose some of the fish towards illnesses, fin rot included. There is also a wide range of symptoms for the disease. These range from mild to severe. We get into the details of all these below.

Symptoms of Betta Fish Fin Rot

Fin rot is not to be confused with fin loss which is not a disease but the physical loss of fin tissue due to something nipping on the fish thus causing splits, perforation and tearing of the fins.

That being the case, what does betta fish fin rot look like? If not given due attention, fin rot can progress to a point where the fish loses all its fins and the rot extends beyond to the body. It is therefore important to know how to tell when your betta’s fin is rotting. Below are the symptoms.

Mild Fin Rot

This is characterized by:

  • Some mild tattering of the fins
  • Slight darkening of the color making the fins take on grey or brown hues at the tips
  • Visible irritation and redness at the tips of the fins that does not extend close to the body.

Severe Fin Rot

With this, there is:

  • Intense damage on the fins with chunks missing
  • Very dark coloration on the fin which appears beyond the fin tips.
  • Receding of the fins towards the body.
  • Many spots on the fin may appear bloody

Extreme Betta Fish Fin Rot

With this, there will no longer be a fin as it will have all rotted. It could extend to body rot if left untreated

Betta Fish Fin Rot Treatment – How to Treat Fin Rot

Wondering what to use for betta fish fin rot? Here is how to help your fish get better.

Immediately you notice the onset of fin rot, it is important to examine the conditions of the aquarium. Remove everything including the decorations and rocks and use some hot water to wash them. Also change the water accordingly. In addition to these, the cause of the fin rot has to be addressed. There are various betta fish fin rot treatments including antibacterial medication.

Since the condition is contagious, it is important to separate fish that have it from those that don’t. Keep them in a quarantine tank until when you are certain they are healthy. Also avoid sharing nets between the tanks and ensure items used to handle the sick fish are not shared with others. Below is a step by step guide on how to care for and treat fin rot.

1.      Clean the Tank

To do this by yourself, get your betta out of the tank and place it in a separate tank containing unchlorinated fresh water. Remember not to place the fish in a tank with other fish to avoid spreading. Once done, clean up the tank and all aquarium accessories. This can be done by soaking them in hot water for ten minutes. Do not use soap to clean the accessories. To get rid of dirt and debris from the gravel, hoover over using a small vacuum.

2.      Change the Water

Once you are done cleaning the tank, allow it to air dry. Place back all the accessories and replace the water. You should use dechlorinated water for the tank. It is recommended that the water be between 80-82 degrees F (26-27 degrees C).

3.      Check the Tank Water pH

Having the right pH is important in treating betta fish fin rot. To ensure the quality of the water is okay, use a pH testing kit. The optimum pH level should be seven to eight with zero ammonia. If these are okay, you can reintroduce the sick fish back into the tank.

4.      Add betta fish fin rot medicine

There are antifungal and antibacterial medication aimed at helping heal the fin rot. They are available in local pet stores with some of the common ones being Betta Fix, Jungle Fungus Eliminator and Tetracycline. These can be added to the now clean tank. The rot should go away with time.

Home Remedy for Betta Fish Fin Rot Healing

In addition to medicinal treatment for regrowth of the rotting fish fin, there are other home remedies that can help.

Tea tree oil is well known for its medicinal properties. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory elements that make it appropriate for treating various conditions. Although mostly used as a preventive measure rather than cure, tea tree oil can be used with salt to treat fin rot. Add two drops of tea tree to the tank. This will help sterilize it. You could also add an ounce of sodium chloride or tonic salt per gallon of the tank water to curb fin rot. These when done regularly will help keep fin rot away.

Fin Rot Getting Worse or not Healing

Fin rot is usually characterized by loss of tissue due to bacterial infections. As a result, the regrowth may be slow as compared to other causes of fin loss such as being nipped at by other fish. It is also possible for your fish to experience relapses once new tissue starts growing. It is therefore common to battle betta fish fin rot for months before eventually conquering it.

As the fish is recovering, watch out for fluctuating pH, the presence of ammonia or nitrate, debris, fluctuating water temperatures as well as presence of décor that could tear up on the already fragile fins. If these do not help and you observe the rot getting worse or where it is not healing, you may have to buy a hospital tank for it.

How to Prevent Fin Rot

Betta fish fin rot is best prevented. To help keep it away and help prevent it from getting worse, here are some preventive tips.

  • Change the tank water regularly to prevent fin rot as well as enhance quick healing. A one gallon tank should be changed after three days while a five gallon tank should be changed at least once every seven days.
  • Do not keep your tank crowded. The moment you notice fish nipping on each others fins this should be a sign.
  • Feed your betta fish high quality food to keep them healthy and prevent opportunistic illnesses. Ensure the food given is just enough and that no extras remain as this will encourage the proliferation of bacteria which will increase the possibility of your fish getting sick with fin rot.

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