Home > Animals, Depressing, Illness, Photography, Sad, Strange, Worry > The Time My Fish Lost His Tail

The Time My Fish Lost His Tail

Ichigo’s (semi) new digs. Note the HALF A TAIL (he’s hanging out by the new filter sponge).

So I came back to work after the weekend, and Ichigo had only half of his tail.

I flipped out and figured he had fin rot, and started reading up on the condition. I had some Bettafix medicine, but that was it, and apparently most people who keep Bettas don’t even LIKE Bettafix. Sigh.

But the more I look at Ichigo, the more I think it was a mechanical, rather than bacterial, laceration of his tail. Maybe he got it caught in the filter uptake and it got shredded? Maybe his ceramic barrels cut him up badly? Maybe he just freaked out and chewed off his own tail? Or maybe he blew out his fins by flaring so much at his own reflection?

Whatever the reason, I immediately took everything out of the tank except for his little leaf hammock and the gravel. The live plants were looking a bit worse for wear considering they were only a week old (brown leaves, brown spots, etc.), so I chucked them and got silk plants. His barrel toy turned out to be a razor-infested death trap, and though I’ve filed down the rough patches, I’m too scared to put it back in.

After a few days floating in aquarium salt and Bettafix, Ichigo looks much the same, though at least he hasn’t lost more tail. He’s eating well and swimming around as much as ever, so hopefully he’ll pull through.

But I bought him all kinds of new goodies, including a new log toy (much smoother than the barrels) and a pre-filter sponge to protect Ichigo’s little fins. I also did a full water change, though the picture makes it look cloudy. Sigh.

I think I need to make a baffle for the filter, though. It seems to be pushing him around now when it didn’t before. Or maybe I just didn’t notice?

I have spent more on this fish than I am comfortable admitting.

  1. calger459
    August 30, 2012 at 10:15 am

    It’s really adorable how much you clearly love this fish 🙂 I don’t know much about betta fish, but it seems like those long fins can be kind of fragile. I would guess the filter caught it, you could probably open the filter up and check to confirm that, the tail bits had to go somewhere. Otherwise they’re probably down in the gravel somewhere, and you actually want to remove them if that’s the case or else they’ll start to decay and bump up the nitrates in the water. If your tank water is cloudy it’s nothing to worry about, it takes several weeks for the nitrogen cycle to establish itself and for bacterial colonies to get going, after that the water clears up and stays clear. It won’t hurt Ichigo. Or maybe you just meant it looked cloudy in the photo but not in real life? Oh well. Most tanks I’ve seen betta kept in don’t even have a real filter, it’s very still water, so I guess bettas can tolerate that (unlike, say, puffer fish) but it’s also good to have good current in the tank so it keeps the oxygen and water circulating around, so you probably don’t want to reduce that too much, just enough so he doesn’t have trouble swimming around or resting on his little hammock. Who’s going to take care of him this weekend, a coworker? Excited to see you! 😀

    • August 30, 2012 at 10:35 am

      UGH. Baffling this filter has proven more difficult than expected. I tried the water bottle method (the plastic wraps around the filter and redirects the flow), but it didn’t work well and the edges of the bottle were SHARP. So then I bought an aquarium filter sponge, and jammed it into the outtake spout. That just made everything overflow and actually made the current worse. I then tried adding more sponge to the second outtake spout, but no dice. I tried wrapping the sponge around the outside of the spouts, but it wouldn’t stay. I finally just opened up the filter intake tube (which already has a sponge around it) and stuffed more sponge inside. That finally did the trick! There is still some flow, but the plants have stopped waving around like crazy, and Ichigo can swim near the top without going sideways. Hopefully I didn’t stop the flow TOO much. From what I’ve read, bettas don’t like much current at all in their tank, but I still want to keep a filter in for cleaning purposes. I just hope he doesn’t try and eat the aquarium sponge.

      Also, bettas don’t need to eat every day, so he’ll just be on his own for the weekend. He’s been fine so far (except for his losing half his tail somehow). Sigh.

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