Betta Fish Fin Rot – Can It Be Cured?

Betta Fish Fin Rot

Betta fish fin rot is a common yet preventable betta fish disease. This condition is undeniably ugly, and it’s normal to think that your betta has contracted some sort of zombie virus. There are many misconceptions about this disease, and this is where many betta owners go wrong. In fact, no betta owner would be worried about fin rot if they knew everything about this condition, which is why I thought it was important to talk about it. If you suspect that your betta has contracted this disease, the sooner you act the better. Here’s everything you need to know about fin rot.

Betta Fish Fin Rot Symptoms

Fin rot is mainly characterized by damage to the fins. The damage could be in the form of small holes, fins falling apart, edges becoming white, transparent fins, inflammation of the fins, and frayed or rugged edges. If left untreated, the fins will get shorter and shorter with time. Sometimes, it can progress into the body. In severe cases, the fish may develop bloody patches. At this point, true fungus and secondary infections may set in. To get a better idea on what it can look like, have a look at the following images:

betta fin rot
betta fin rot


What Causes It?

Most aquarists will agree that the main cause of betta fin rot is poor water conditions, which is why it is extremely important to do regular water changes and frequent water tests. If not, toxins will develop in the water which will put undue stress on your betta, which will then lower its immune system. It’s at this point that opportunistic bacteria that thrive in dirty water will infect the weakened betta.


How To Treat Betta Fish Fin Rot

If you detect fin rot early enough, treatment will be easy, which is why it is very important to develop a habit of observing your bettas on a daily basis, so as to identify fin rot (or other diseases) in its earliest stages. The general treatment for fin rot is aquarium salt and warm water.
Mild Fin Rot

  1. Quarantine your sick betta so as not to affect the other fish in the tank. If your betta is alone, then keep him/her in its original tank since that will reduce the stress on your betta. (Useful article: How To Set Up a Hospital/Quarantine Tank).
  2. Read the instructions regarding the amounts of aquarium salt based on the # of gallons your aquarium holds.
  3. Fill a small, clean container with aquarium water from the tank. This container will serve the purpose of pre-dissolving the aquarium salt.
  4. Mix the required amount of aquarium salt into the small container. (Generally, the rule of thumb is approx one teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon of tank water).
  5. Make sure that the salt dissolves completely.
  6. Add the mix into the betta’s quarantine tank (or regular tank if left in there).

Important note: Make sure you take your time and do it as gently as possible to avoid disturbing your betta fish.
Major Fin Rot
If you are dealing with a major case of fit rot, then follow the same steps we listed above, but this time you need to increase the amount of salt. Increase the teaspoons of aquarium salt to three per gallon of tank water, but to avoid risking the life of your betta fish, add 1.5 teaspoons of aquarium salt and wait for another hour before adding another 1.5 teaspoons. Remember, always make sure the salt is dissolved before adding it to the tank.

How To Avoid It

As the mantra goes… ‘Prevention is better than cure’. The same holds here. Preventing fin rot is fairly simple, and almost every case is prevented with adequate water changes. Clean water is the best means of prevention. Medications such as AquariSol should not be used regularly as they can stress the betta. Aquarium salt pre-dissolved in dechlorinated water can also be used as a preventive measure.

Have you ever had to treat betta fish fin rot or any other betta fish diseases? Do you have any advice that you would like to share? Please post your experiences and comments below!
Before you leave, please check out our SHOP for amazing deals on betta fish tanks, decorations, supplies and more! Also, check out our “Diagnosing Sick Betta Fish” section for information on other betta fish diseases.

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