Torn Fins from Plastic Plant


Betta, originally uploaded by Fabiz Rabbit©.

Q: T wrote,

My betta has been ripping his lower fin on a plastic plant I had in his tank. After the second time I took out the plant but I’m not sure what to do to fix the rips. Please help.

A: Ripped fins caused by physical damage (sharp objects, nippy tank mates) are generally easier to fix than say, damage caused by a bacterial infection. Fin tissue regenerates quickly but like any wound, can be more susceptible to infection. To give your betta the best chance for a quick recovery keep his water clean. Maybe do an extra water change or two this week, take out any uneaten food that may foul the water and monitor your water parameters for any toxins like ammonia, nitrite or higher than safe nitrates. Medication isn’t usually necessary in these cases and can even complicate things. If the rips are very severe, however, you can treat with half strength Melafix, available at your local fish store or a little aquarium salt. This may help speed the healing a little but generally isn’t necessary as long as the water is clean. With good conditions, you should begin to see light colored or clear new fin tissue begin to form in just a couple of days. The color will fill in as it grows.

If you’re in the market for some a new aquarium plant, I recommend the silk variety sold at aquarium stores or you could even try your hand at live plants. Java ferns or java lace are widely available and difficult to kill. Live plants have the added benefit of removing some toxins from the water. Good luck to you and your betta.

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Christie F is a Betta splendens hobbyist that enjoys spending time caring for her fish and helping new betta keepers learn the ropes. More posts by:

2 Comments for this entry

  1. Anonymous says:

    I had EXACTLY the same problem, although it got more complicated. I went on holiday a few weeks after the HUGE rip from my platic lily was created, so I couldn’t do enough water changes, now I believe he has fin-rot (still checking pictures though) as he has a few more tears and rips (I did get a silk plant). His back fin does seem slightly pinkish (its supposed to be transparent) so…maybe…I just hope not asd I’ve only had him for 2months!

    Leonie + Merlin, England

  2. Christie says:

    Aww. Poor fishy. I hope it’s just a tear and not fin rot. Tears heal easily with just clean water. Mild fin rot will heal on its own too but needs to be watched carefully and treated if it gets bad.

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