March 18

Sarah Robertson

How Do Bettas Get Betta Fin Rot?

The most common disease that Betta fish owners are concerned about is Fin Rot. In bettas, this infection is usually brought about by an injury or poor water conditions which create an opportunity for bacteria to attack the damaged tissue. It can be prevented by maintaining good water conditions.

Fin rot is not an aggressive disease and betta fish can live quite healthily with the condition. However, it is a chronic disease which means that it returns periodically and cannot be cured once established. This disease can be treated and controlled with the right medications.

What Is Betta Fin Rot?

Fin rot, also known as tail rot or tail degradation, is a bacterial infection that usually affects the fins of a betta fish. The most common cause of fin rot in bettas is an injury to the fins from bumping into something.

However, another possible source of this ailment can be an infection from an opening in the skin to allow bacteria or fungi to enter. If an infection is suspected, a betta owner should take the suffocating betta to a veterinarian for diagnosis and prescription antibiotics.

The immediate cause of fin rot in bettas is usually bacterial infection. Bacteria such as Aeromonas and Pseudomonas are common causes of fin rot. Fish suffering from bacterial infection have red streaks on the betta's fins, accompanied by swelling, brownish discoloration, and eventually loss of the fins. It is important to treat the fish with antibiotics as soon as fin rot sets in. If this disease is detected at an early stage, it can be successfully treated with antibiotics.

Fungal infection, while rare in bettas, can also be responsible for causing fin rot. The fungus usually enters the fish's body through its gills and starts affecting the fins after it has spread to other parts of the betta's body.

Symptoms of Betta Fin Rot:

The Betta fish is one of the most beautiful and elegant pets you can have. Unfortunately, Betta fin rot, one of the most prevalent diseases affecting Bettas, causes their brilliant fins to degrade slowly. Many owners don't realize that their fish has fin rot until visible symptoms appear.

White Spot in Fin

White spots will appear on the fins of betta fish if they have fin rot. These white spots, which usually form around the fin's edge, worsen in the first stage and spread to other areas.

Because they are so tiny, the white spots might be tough to spot at first. The majority of owners don't realize anything is wrong with their Betta until the second stage has passed. The bacteria begin to eat your Betta's fin tissue in the second phase. The illness may then spread to the tail, causing tail rot, if it is severe enough.

Ragged Fin

The fins will appear ragged. This can also happen when some other fish have nipped at the tail, it got slightly damaged by d├ęcor in the tank, or the betta fish may have even been biting its own tail. So should closely watch your betta if it is a territorial fish or a frequent biter to prevent damage.

Tattered Fins

The fins will become tattered and can even appear transparent in some cases, especially when the fin rot has advanced considerably. As the disease worsens, the tissue of your Betta's fins gradually degrades until they eventually fall off.

Red Streaks

The most common symptom is a red streak on the fins which is a sign of bleeding under the skin's surface. This occurs when the focal point of infection has died and begun to rot, leading to septicemia (blood poisoning). When this happens, betta fish owners will notice their Betta's fins and body looking tattered as if they have been ripped. If you see your Betta's fins in this condition, it is important to seek treatment immediately as this can be fatal if left untreated.

Fin Color Fades

The fading of the color in the fins of bettas is another indication that they are getting sick. This is especially easy to notice with brightly colored betta fish. You should also inspect the fins' edges, which are turning black.


A betta fish with fin rot will appear lethargic. In fact, it is likely spending most of its time laying on the bottom of the tank or hiding in a plant. It may also have trouble swimming and appear to be gasping for air at the surface of your tank.

Organ Failure

It could also show signs of organ failure, such as abnormal bleeding or having trouble breathing.

If your betta's fins are ragged, tattered, have faded color, or are transparent, it's time to get your Betta checked by a Veterinary Pet soon! It could also show signs of organ failure, such as abnormal bleeding or having trouble breathing.

Fin rot is highly contagious. it can be passed between Betta fish in a tank quite easily. However, it cannot be passed to humans or other pets, such as cats and dogs.

In the case of small betta fishes, fin rot can be detected easily as it starts producing some unusual behavior like hiding in plants ornaments or floating at the top corner of the tank. In bigger ones, it becomes a bit difficult to detect this disease as they have large fins which makes them look normal even with the presence of fin rot.

betta fish get fin rot

Causes of Fin Rot In Bettas

  • Bacterial infection: This is the most common reason for fin rot, and it's caused by gram-negative bacteria that live in the water column. If not treated promptly, this bacteria may enter the tiniest wound on a betta and develop into an exceedingly serious condition.
  • Fungal infection: This is a less common reason for fin rot than bacterial infections, but the white fluffy growths triggered by a fungus infection can produce a mild case of fin melting that mimics fin rot symptoms.
  • Dirty water: If your tank is dirty and hazy with frequent algae blooms, your betta will be exposed to bacteria that will eat away their fins. Bettas require a filter and a fully cycled aquarium in order to stay healthy. Regular water change is also necessary. If the tank's water temperature is below 78 degrees Fahrenheit, cloudy, full of uneaten food, and has high ammonia and nitrite levels, bettas will become stressed and their immune systems will be weakened.
  • Small aquaria: Small tanks put the fish under a great deal of pressure, and ammonia levels in the water rise rapidly as a result of fish waste. Bowls, vases, and tanks with a capacity of fewer than 5 gallons are unsuitable for bettas and may quickly kill one.
  • Physical damage: Betta fish can suffer from rough decorations and fake plants, as well as getting caught in a filter or due to fin nipping. Overcrowding and high bio loads from too many fish in one tank can all rapidly degrade water quality, stress your fish, and cause fin rot. Another potential reason may be uneven feeding that leads to overfeeding or underfeeding, resulting in weakened immune function.

Fin rot Treatment for Betta

Treatment for fin rot is determined by the severity and development of the damage. Treatment will also be dependent on your betta's ecosystem and size, as well as whether or not he's in a group tank. After analyzing your symptoms, select the treatment and cure strategy that is most suited to your betta.

Mild Fin Rot Treatment:

Check your fish's tank water pH and temperature. The ideal pH level is between 6.5 and 7.5, with temperatures ranging from 78 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. Change half of the water in your aquarium using fresh, non-chlorinated/conditioned tap water.

When removing 50% of existing tank water, use a gravel vacuum to remove additional food, feces, and other detritus from the substrate. If your tank has a filter, clean it in the tank to maintain good bacteria and replace any media that has grown old. All tank decorations should be washed in hot water without soap. Consider relocating some fish in community tanks that are overcrowded.

Continue to check on your water conditions for the next week and look for indicators of healing or deterioration. It might be a lengthy process, but as you cure the rot, the brownish jagged edges will fade away and new fin growth will appear in its place. Continue performing 25% partial changes as required while monitoring water parameters.

Moderate Fin Rot Treatment:

To maintain good bacteria and replace any old filter media, clean the filters in the tanks existing water. If there are no additional community members, perform a 100% water change by washing everything with hot water. This includes the tank, decorations, live plants, gravel, and heater, You need to replace everything and then fill the conditioned water.

If your betta has moderate fin rot symptoms or mild fin rot gets worse during treatment, you'll need to be more forceful. Remove your betta from his main tank and place him in a quarantine tank with new conditioned and heated water if you have tankmates or plants. A quarantine tank, which should ideally be 2 gallons in size, is perfect. When adding a betta to a new tank, it's essential to acclimate them. A single-Betta male can be treated in the current habitat if he lacks tankmates or plants unless you opt to do a full tank cleaning.

The next stage is to use aquarium salt in the quarantine tank. Aquarium salt heals wounds and relieves tension, as well as lowers nitrate absorption. If you don't have live plants, mix fresh conditioned water with 1-2 teaspoons of aquarium salt in a separate container before adding it to the quarantine tank to fully dissolve the salt.

Pour the dissolved aquarium salt and conditioned water combination into your betta's quarantine tank bit by bit. Before a new dose, do equal amounts of water changes to the quarantine tank daily. A 25-50% change is ideal. Repeat this treatment for up to a week while keeping an eye out for signs of healing.

Severe Fin Rot Treatment:

If your betta has severe fin rot, it will need to be treated with medicine in order to reverse its harmful effects, especially if it is accompanied by white fuzzy growths. Remove and acclimate your betta to a quarantine tank with fresh conditioned and heated water. Add an air stone or a bubbler to the water if certain medicines reduce oxygen levels. Remove any carbon from filters if you're treating in your regular aquarium, as it will remove the medicine from the water.

Remove all debris, then drain and clean your main tank and all of its components with hot water. Reassemble everything, fill with fresh conditioned water, and verify tropical water temperature. If you have a filter, cycle it to restart the nitrogen cycle while your betta is in his or her quarantine tank.

Following the directions, administer a recommended antibiotic in the quarantine tank and do not stop medicating early since this may lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Before each dose, perform equal water changes to prevent overdosing. Maracyn II, API Fungus Cure, API Furan-2, and Kanamycin are some of the medicines that can treat severe fin rot in bettas.

After treatment, return and acclimate your betta to their main tank. Maintain clean, warm water in your tank and make sure it isn't overcrowded with tankmates again.

You should notice new fin membrane growths beginning to form after treatment. New developments are extremely fragile, so avoid having jagged tank decorations or snappy tankmates. Fin rot can return following therapy, and additional treatments may be required to keep it at bay for good.

betta- fin rot


Is It Possible to Prevent Fin Rot?

Yes, as fin rot is a contagious disease caused by water contamination and high nitrates. In order to prevent it from getting worse or coming back, you need to make sure your betta's temperature stays warm and clean at all times.

 Make sure there are enough hiding areas for your fish in the tank if another fish is bullying it, because stress weakens your betta's immune system, making it more susceptible to disease.

Can a Betta Fish Die Because of Fin Rot?

Yes. If left untreated, fin rot can lead to death because it affects your betta's water quality. If you detect signs of fin rot, take care of the problem as soon as possible. Fin rot has been known to reduce a fish's survival time to weeks in extreme situations.

Is It Normal for Betta Fish to Lose Their Fins?

Yes. Loss of fins is generally not a terminal or life-threatening condition, especially if it's just one fin that has been lost. It may indicate an injury caused by sharp tank decor, jagged rocks, or another fish in the tank nipping at your betta's fins. If its only a few complete frays on the end of one fin, you can cut the frayed portion with scissors to prevent it from getting worse.

How Long Does It Take for Betta Fish Fins to Grow Back?

Depending on the severity of the problem, fin growth might take anything from a few weeks to several months. In general, your betta's fin will grow at the same rate as your fingernail. However, as it is likely that your betta's fins will be accidentally damaged throughout the healing process, it will take longer.

Can You Treat Fin Rot With Salt?

Yes, For fin rot, salt is an effective cure. The antiseptic qualities of salt aid in the treatment of bacteria or fungus infections.

How Long Does It Take for Fin Rot to Heal?

How bad the condition is, in the beginning, will determine how quickly it is corrected. There should be an improvement within 4-5 days of using King British Fin Rot & Fungus Control. It's critical to maintain water quality high to avoid secondary infection development due to fish with open wounds.

Can Fin Rot Spread to Humans?

Fish and aquarium water can spread germs to humans, but getting ill from keeping fish is unusual. You are less likely to get sick from handling, feeding, or owning aquarium fish if you provide regular care for your fish and their aquarium as well as follow a few basic health precautions.

Does Raising the Heat Help With Fin Rot?

The circumstances of your aquarium will determine whether or not you need to raise the heat to assist fin rot. Stress has a negative impact on a fish's resistance to bacterial infections in the water. Higher heat will decrease stress in your betta if they are kept in water that is too cold for them.

Unfortunately, Fungus and bacteria grows better in warmer water. If your fish is being kept in a tank where the temperature is appropriate, then higher temperatures can actually harm your fish. No matter what reason your betta has fin rot warmer water is not going to help him.

If your fish is afflicted with a highly virulent strain of bacteria such as columnaris, which attacks fast and furiously, raising the temperature may actually hasten its death. In such cases, reducing the temperature to a degree that bettas can withstand might help slow down the development of the infection.

So warmer water in most situations is not always an appropriate solution to fin rot And can make it worse.

How Do I Know if My Bettas Fin Rot Is Healing?

It's essential to understand that this condition is caused by an infection, and it can take some days for the treatment to work. The following are some of the symptoms of recovery:

  • There has been no spread of the disease.
  • No additional symptoms have developed.
  • Your fish's appetite and energy level are returning.
  • Fin has started to grow back.

  • Does Bettafix Work for Fin Rot?

    The Bettafix can assist to heal bleeding fin tips and regenerate new tissue once the germs have perished. Bettafix alone, on the other hand, is insufficient to treat severe fin rot. Although they advertise themselves as a treatment for bacteria, it is more of an antiseptic than an antibiotic.

    Will Fin Rot Go on Its Own?

    While relatively easy to prevent, fin rot can be difficult to cure once it does set in and can eventually kill your betta. It may infect all the other fish in the tank as well. The greatest thing you can do is address the problem immediately and successfully, which will help prevent it from getting worse.

    What Are the Other Common Betta Fish Diseases?

    There are a few common betta fish diseases apart from Fin rot. Some of them are Columnaris, Hemorrhagic, Dropsy, Pop Eye, Eyecloud, Velvet, Ich, and Hole in the Head.

    If your fish is suffering from any of these particular diseases or if its water quality seems to have declined for no reason, the best course of action would be to take it to a pet store so they can thoroughly diagnose your fish and prescribe the appropriate medication.

    Final Thoughts:

    The most common reasons for fin rot are poor water quality and low water temperatures. Stress caused by overcrowding, feeding outdated food, overfeeding the fish, or moving or handling the tank can all contribute to fin rot.

    So keeping your betta's tank and water quality in top shape and comfortable can help prevent fin rot. If it gets worse, you may need to bring your betta fish to the nearest pet store for further diagnosis and medication.

    Sarah Robertson

    I am a passionate blogger who also happens to be a fish keeping enthusiast. Writing about my hobby is something that I absolutely love to do, and it's no secret that my chosen topic is always centered around fish keeping.

    Sarah Robertson

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