Can Betta Fish Regrow their Fins?


Jack White, originally uploaded by Tiara Damage.

Q: NR wrote,

Can bettas regrow their fins?

A: Yes, bettas will regrow their fin tissue once it has been lost due to fin rot, physical injury, or tail biting. When the new fin tissue begins to grow it is often clear resembling Saran Wrap and very thin. Over time the regrowth will begin to look more like regular fin tissue becoming thicker and regaining color, though often it will appear a different shade from the original color. The new tissue is extremely fragile and susceptible to damage or loss. It is especially important, if your betta lost the fin tissue initially due to fin rot caused by poor water quality, to fix the water problems and keep the tank clean while the fins are healing. Test your water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate and increase your water changes while your betta is regrowing his damaged fins. While the tissue grows relatively quickly (similar to the speed of fingernail growth) it is often the case that the new growth takes two steps forward and one step back. If the new tissue is lost or damaged again continue to treat your fish by keeping the tank water clean and toxin free. In severe cases where more than half the fin is lost, it may be helpful to treat the fish with an antibiotic for bacterial fin rot or an antiseptic for physical injury, depending on the cause.

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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:

23 Comments for this entry

  1. albert says:

    I have a beautiful betta bright blue and i named him blue. one of his little fins on his side is missing a little part of fin not sure if he tore it or if its fin rot. i think he tor it . he,s alwayes rubbing his body against the gravel and swiming threw the plastic plants.. anyway he is so cool. he gets all exicited when he sees me starts swiming all crazy. I had him now like 3 months from walmart. I think he is happy , I have a molly and a guppy fish in wiyh him and they have made friends. Is this cool? any suggestions?

  2. Leah says:

    Albert, it sounds like he may have ick. Ick usually presents with tiny white dots on the fish but not always. Wild swimming and purposely bumping against gravel or plants are symptoms. I would suggest a water change and maybe some medicine if you notice the white spots.

    Also, as far as other fish go, bettas like to be the prettiest fish in the tank. Make sure any fish aren’t too fancy or a similar color to your betta. He may feel threatened and hurt them. Good luck with your tank!

  3. Sierra says:

    I bought a Betta from walmart because some genius decided he wanted to put two Bettas in the same bowl to watch them fight. Well I bought the one that DIDN’T win – wanted to let him die in peace I suppose.
    Anyway, he’s lost just about all of each of his fins. It’s been three days and he seems much better. I don’t know anything about fish, but I went out that same night after some quick research and got Betta Bowl to condition the water, BettaFix for his injuries, Betta Food & tropical flakes. I mixed a batch of water with the conditioner & Betta Fix. I have been cleaning his bowl out every 24 hours – I read to only change out about 50% of the water, which finally is becoming clearer. Although he appears to be swimming around and appears to recognize me – he won’t eat. I give him one Betta food granual and a small flake and he doesn’t make a move. What can I do? What else can I do to help him heal? I really didn’t think he was going to make it past Monday night & I bought him Monday afternoon. I’ve named him Scaley since that’s all that seems to be left of him. Please help him.

    • Loretta says:

      I have a less dominate male that nearly starved himself. I now feed him betta food for fry ( baby betta’s) along with the bloodworms and freshly hatched brine shrimp (really easy to do) . He’s still on the thin side, but he is eating now and becoming more active. I found that he isn’t a dominating male and when intimidated by a more aggressive room mate (even if seperated) he’ll regress. Filter and aeration also aid greatly in his regaining an attitude. Also, he will barely eat the betta bites and non of my betta’s eat the flakes.

    • liam says:

      come on people dont buy your fish from walmart those people do not care about the fish.bettas need very much care but walmart just puts them in a filthy bowl they dont even feed them i know the others put them in a nasty bowls but they feed them and give them water treatments. walmarts fish are very prone to sickness and problems i know you want to save them as do i but chances are the betta will not have a happy and healthy life however some people havehad good luck but you will be much better off getting them from a breeder or a petsmart i know some of you dont have eather of those around but go the extra mile for your fish your tank will thrive in the long run however if you diagree i would like to hear because i would like nothing better to know that walmart is treating there fish better.

      • Colleen says:

        I thought you would like to know that I bought my first Betta 3 years from Walmart, and he is happy and healthy. I al sobought another from Petsmart a year later, and he is not so well. The last year he has lost most of his fins stopped eating from time to time.

        I have tried bacteria treatments, frequent water changes to no avail. Jerry is his name. I am considering that maybe it is useless, and I should put him to rest…

      • Deisrea says:

        Outside of Reno, My red Veil tail…the poor guy was the result of a cruel person putting him in the same bowl as a larger male…Itcha, my solid orange veil tail was also purchased from Wal-mart. I’ve had him since he was roughly 6 months old (a guess based on his size overall when he was bought) and he’s currently pushing 6 years old now, has calmly survived two moves and even in his old age still has all the energy that he had when I bought him.

    • Molly says:

      He might be cold. They don’t eat when they’re cold.
      Try putting him somewhere warmer or putting a lamp near his tank.

  4. Nicole says:

    I have a Halfmoon male betta. I’ve had him since Valentines day this year. He’s been living in a 2.5 BettaBow with silk plants. The silk plants however have plastic “stems” that are rough, he got himself caught in it one day and tore his tail all up. I took him out and put him in a small goldfish bowl with some warm water, aquarium salt and Bettafix. That was over a month ago now and his tail hasn’t gotten better. I occasionally will medicate him with some Maricyn2 which is for fin rot and other things. I change his water every other day but the ridge of his tail, or what’s left of it turned black and looked dead. I did some research and heard that cutting the black from his tail would help to in turn regrow his tail to how it should be. I’ve had many bettas (i have 8 right now) and they have all had problems here and there and Bettafix has helped right away, but i’m at a loss for what to do for him now.

  5. Amy M says:

    ive had my veil tail for almost 2 weeks and noticed the ends of his fins were a whitish color and curling. He is a vibrant red color and has been a very active healthy fish since i brought him home. As ive tried to raise 2 other bettas a few yrs ago and they died within a wk of getting them im just getting the hang of the water changes in a 1gal tank with a small carbon filter. I thought u were supposed to treat fin loss or fin rot with melafix first before using the antibiotic so thats what ive been using but then he started acting very lethargic and tucking his fins to his body and was floating towards the top barely moving so i changed his water without the melafix and now he is back to his old happy active self and fanning his fins again. while in the cup i keep him in while doing water changes i examined him closely noticing his fins are starting to grow back and he didnt seemed to be stressed anymore. He immediately started spreading his fins and leisurely swimming and reacting to mewhen in his tank earlier he was jumpy and lethargic. I’m guessing i just need to do more frequent water changes as i have only a 1 gal tank until i can obtain a 5gal in a couple weeks and just watch him closely ??

  6. QuestionMarkPerson says:

    My friend’s fish just died.
    We put him with a female fish and they fought.
    Unfortunately, the female was more dominate.
    The male’s fins were badly injured.
    We put some medicine in his tank.
    He was always trying to breath, he couldnt swim around
    much.Not only with his front fins.
    He lost his color, you could almost see through him in the light. When we checked on him in the morning, he died.
    I guess his fins got infected.

  7. Christopher says:

    I got a betta at Petsmart and I thought maybe he was young and under developed, well doing more research I think maybe he was attacked. I made a video would love to get feedback from anyone who knows enough to tell me what may be wrong and what I can do. Oh he’s supposed to be a halfmoon.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvG5m-xMSNc

  8. Greene says:

    My betta fish Franklin is very active and attentive but ive noticed that he has minor tears on his fins yet my bowl is rounded i currently have no plants (i plan on bamboo) i change his water weekly and his decor of rocks are smooth as silk could it be from the pet store?

  9. Heather says:

    I have had my betta for about 2 years now. Over labor day weekend, my sister’s cat got a hold of him. Needless to say his beautiful top fin is missing. Spunky was a little shaking for a couple of days and not eating. Then he seemed to be his normal self. Now, he is hiding at the bottom of the tank and will only come to the top once a day for food. He can barely swim and when he does it is on his side and he seems to have a fractured like body. I am not sure what is going on or what to do…. Can you help?

  10. Cori says:

    My half moon betta has been attacked by my dwarf frog!!!! He has a scratch on his face near his left gill and a huge chunk out of his back fin!!!!! What should I do to help him!!!!

  11. Daisy says:

    I just got a dragon veil tail betta, and found out that he injured himself while i carried him home. I think he got stressed because the seller at the shop handled him pretty rough, even dropping him on the floor once. Now he is missing a chunk of his tail. Became a double-tail betta -_- and showing a sign of slight fin rot… I’ve put almond leaves with 5 grams of aquarium salf (the tank is roughly 2 L) in his tank and the tank temp is 23~25. This morning I changed half of the water. He is moving around and eating well, but his fin doesn’t look very good. Can you please help?

  12. Bufo says:

    I have a Betta, and during the bowl cleaning process, he jumped out of the bowl as I was pouring some of the water out, and went through the paper towel covering the hole to the garbage disposal. I reached in as soon as I could, grabbed his back fin and pulled him out. In the following weeks – he lost all his fins. They are slowly growing back, but I would like to know if anyone knows something I can get to put in the water to speed up the process of his growing his fins back. Any suggestions?

  13. Tahtianna says:

    I came in to work this morning to find my betta in BAD shape… I thought he was dead at first and then he moved to get fed with the other tetras that I have in the tank with him. That’s when I noticed he had hardly any gill fin left… so he can swim around with the one, but he just lays at the bottom of the tank until he wants food or air… or wants to fight with the air flow stream. Which I think is a good sign.. :) I was relieved to read that they grow back. I also got all of the fixin’s for the tank to help heal him… aquarium salt, betta fix, an anti fungal… he’s got white/discoloration around where his fin was on his scales, I did a complete water change and changed my biologicals in the filter. Fingers crossed… I have 6 tetras in with him and my only concern would be if they were the ones who attacked and ate his fin… should I be leaving him in there with them while he’s healing or should I set up a separate bowl for him (i hate using the glass bowl but I don’t have another aquarium).

  14. Ale says:

    It’s been roughly 4 days since I introduced 3 neon tetras to Bruce my beta. I was a little worried slot worried that Bruce would attack the tetra fish but it looks like the 3 tetra’s got a hold of Bruce some time between lastnight and this evening. My poor Bruce is missing his tail and one of his fins also looks like his scales are missing. I bagged the tetras and left Bruce in the tank hoping he pulls through. Im returning the tetras tomorrow.

  15. Hannah says:

    My sisters beta Blue has been losing his fins for quite a while. We just recently found out its fin rot when over half of all his fins are already gone.!i was happy to see that they grow back but am worried if we can cure it or not…… It’s been so long. Is anybody else in this situation or even been? Advice would be good. He’s not that active anymore and just sits at the bottom of the tank on his marbles. He is very ugly without his fins. I just now got him some medicine and put the tablet in his tank. Hope it works.

  16. Maddy says:

    I was cleaning my betta’s tank (he is light orange and his name is Michael Scot) and as i was taking him out of his regular tank and putting him into a smaller, temporary holder, a small part of his big decorative fin on the bottom broke off (i hope it didnt hurt him) the part that broke isn’t big, probably only 1/2 of a centimeter squared. but anyway i’m relieved that it will grow back, but i figured it would since bettas are fighting fish :)

  17. emily says:

    thank you I hope it works.im really despite to help and have my fish Luna be better and not being able to go through that pain ever again.

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