How to Treat Fin Rot in Betta Fish?

Are your betta fish’s fins looking a bit ragged? Chances are that it’s suffering from fin rot.

Fin rot is a fungal infection or a gram-negative bacterial infection that is quite common in betta fish.

It can eat away and dissolve the delicate tissues of your betta fish’s fin and tail. If fin rot isn’t treated swiftly, it can prove to be fatal.

How to Treat Fin Rot in Betta Fish?

The sooner you catch fin rot in Betta fish, the easier it’s going to be to treat it.

The first thing to do is consider if you need to transfer your betta to an isolated tank. If your betta lives in a tank bigger than two gallons, or with any living thing (such as plants), you should immediately isolate it.

Isolating your betta will help to minimize the spread of fin rot.

It will also lower stress for the other fish, who might otherwise have to cope with several water changes. Moreover, the medicine you might need to use can harm the other fish and plant life in the tank.

Set Up an Isolation Tank

If your betta lives in a tank of its own, you don’t have to worry about this step. However, if you need to isolate it, then here’s how you should proceed.

It’s usually better to have a smaller quarantine tank than a bigger one.

This will help you in changing the water and dosing your fish with medication. Just make sure that your quarantine tank isn’t larger than two gallons.

Moreover, heating and filtering the tank is going to help significantly in treating the fin rot.

Here are the steps you need to follow to set up an isolation tank.

  1. Use conditioned water to fill your tank to the top.
  2. Place a filter and heater inside the tank and add the medicines. You can even add fake silk plants to the tank to allow your betta to hide.
  3. Once the quarantine tank reaches the appropriate temperature, acclimatize your fish to it. You can do this by simply placing your betta in a bag filled with original tank water. Float the bag in the isolation tank for 10 minutes and then release your betta.
  4. Carry our partial water changes if you have a filter installed inside the tank. Changing 25 percent of the water every 72 hours is usually enough.
  5. If you don’t have a filter inside the tank, you’ll have to carry out a complete water change. For this, you’ll have to again put your betta inside a small bag containing quarantine water. Then, fill your quarantine tank with conditioned water before you accustom your betta to it.

Note – Keep your quarantine tank’s temperature between 76°F to 78°F. Any temperature lower than 76°F is too cold for your betta. Whereas, any temperature higher than 78°F will facilitate bacterial growth.

Treatment of Mild Fin Rot in Betta

Mild fin rot is usually indicated by jagged or brownish fin edges and/or whitish spots.

If your betta is suffering from mild fin rot, you probably don’t need to directly treat the disease.

Fin rot is usually a result of unclean or contaminated water.

Thus, in this case, you can just clean the tank and change the water. Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Check your tank’s temperature and pH level. The temperature should ideally be in the range of 76°F to 78°F. Whereas, the ideal pH is between 6.5-7.5. Then, carry out a 50 percent water change with conditioned or non-chlorinated tap water.
  2. When performing the water change, use a gravel vacuum to clean the tank. This will help to remove feces, excess food, and other debris that can lead to bacterial growth.
  3. If you’ve installed a filter, clean it in the tank. Doing this will help to preserve the good bacteria in the tank and keep the ammonia levels low.
  4. Keep monitoring the water’s temperature and pH levels over the next week. Also, keep an eye on the fish to see if it’s showing any signs of improvement.
  5. Continue performing 25 percent water changes as required while monitoring the water’s temperature and pH levels.

If you don’t notice any improvement or feel that the disease is worsening, you should switch to another treatment.

Treatment of Moderate Fin Rot in Betta

Moderate fin rot is typically signified by large fin receding and deterioration, black and even bloody fin edges. The development of fuzzy growths in fins is also a sign of moderate fin rot.

If your betta has major fin rot, simply cleaning the tank won’t work. In such a case, you need to administer a more vigorous treatment. Moreover, you will also have to quarantine your fish if you haven’t done it already.

  1. Transfer your betta to an isolation tank. You can follow the steps listed above to set up an isolation tank for your betta.
  2. Clean the filter in your existing tank to preserve the healthy bacteria.
  3. Carry out a 100 percent water change and wash everything with hot water. This includes the heater, décor, tank, gravel, and live plants. (Use warm water instead of hot water to clean your plants.)
  4. Put everything back inside the tank and refill it with conditioned water.
  5. Treat your fish with aquarium salt in the isolation tank. Aquarium salts ease stress, inhibit nitrate uptake, and heal wounds. If you don’t have live plants, mix 1-2 teaspoons of aquarium salts with fresh conditioned water in a separate container. Make sure to completely dissolve the salt before you add the mixture to the isolation tank. Note that adding undissolved aquarium salts can potentially burn your betta fish.
  6. Gradually pour the conditioned water and aquarium salt mixture into your betta’s isolation tank. Carry out 100 percent water changes to the quarantine tank every day before adding a new dose. If you just add aquarium salt to the same water twice, your betta can die due to an overdose.
  7. Repeat the above step every day for up to a week, while checking for signs of improvement.

Treatment of Severe Fin Rot in Betta

If your betta has increased redness and inflammation fin base and bloody fin bases, it’s suffering from severe fin rot.

Other symptoms of severe fin rot include complete fin or fin membrane loss, body rot, difficulty swimming, lethargy, body rot, and cottony growth on the body.

In case of severe fin rot, aquarium salts are not enough for treatment. Instead, you will need to administer stronger medicines.

These may include anti-bacterial medicines such as API Furan 2 and anti-fungal medicines such as API Pimafix.

Here are the steps you need to follow to treat severe fin rot in your betta.

  1. Transfer your betta to an isolated tank containing heated, conditioned water. Make sure to add a bubbler or airstone as some antibiotics can remove oxygen from the water. If you’re not using an isolated tank, remove any carbon from the filters. This is because carbon can remove the medicine from the water.
  2. Drain and clean everything in your main tank and fill it up with fresh conditioned water. Ensure that the pH of the water is close to 7 and the temperature lies between 76°F to 78°F.
  3. Add a recommended dose of medicine to your betta’s tank. The medicine you pick will depend on whether the disease is bacterial or fungal. Make sure you carefully follow the instructions mentioned on the medication’s label. Also, don’t cease the dose early as this can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
  4. Carry out 100 percent water change before adding a new dose to prevent overdosing.
  5. Keep monitoring your betta and check for signs of improvement. It’s important to know that new fins don’t always grow back in the same way. For instance, some may be slightly longer, shorter, or even curled at the tips.
  6. Once the treatment is complete, transfer your betta to the main tank. Maintain a warm, clean environment to keep your betta healthy. Again, you need to make sure that your betta’s tank isn’t overloaded with tank mates.

Once the treatment is complete, you will notice the appearance of a new fin membrane. Note that while your betta is recovering from fin rot, its fins will be extremely fragile.

Thus, you should remove anything from the tank that can harm its fins. This may include nippy tank mates or jagged tank décor items.

Fin rot can even return after treatment. Thus, you may need to administer other treatments to keep it away for good.

Last Few Words

Even though fin rot is extremely common, it’s very much treatable with the treatments outlined above.

However, the best thing you can do is undertake steps that prevent fin rot altogether.

Simply making a few minor changes to your tank and cleaning it regularly can significantly lower your betta’s risk of infection.

Nevertheless, most betta will experience fin rot at some point, so make sure you’re well-versed in how to treat it.

Remember, the more quickly you catch the problem, the higher the chance of your betta’s complete recovery.

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