Betta Fish Fin Loss (Causes, Treatments & Prevention)

Betta fish fin loss has a lot of different causes and you don’t have to worry about every one of them. However, it is important to know what all the different causes could be as well as how to treat and prevent them! So keep reading to find out everything you need to know! Check out the video!

What Causes Betta Fish Fin Loss?

There are so many different reasons your betta could be suffering from fin loss. Before you can begin any kind of treatment it’s important to know what’s behind it. So here are some of the most common reasons your betta may be losing his fins.

Decorations In The Tank

If you’ve got particularly sharp or rough decorations in your tank then they may be causing fin loss. One of the problems with a bettas fins and tail is how easily they snag on things. If you’ve got rough, sharp stones in your tank, or an area where he can catch his fins, then they may be ripping chunks out.

Tail Biting

Your betta may also be biting his own tail. There are a lot of reasons that this could be occurring such as stress, pent up aggression, boredom and some people even think it could be hereditary. Fin loss of this nature will happen extremely rapidly. It’s not unheard of for half of a betta’s tail to disappear overnight! If you noticed your betta tail biting then you should find ways to prevent it as soon as possible. This article on tail biting will teach you everything you need to know!

Other Fish

Are you housing your betta alone or with other fish? If you’re housing your betta with other fish then you should check to make sure none of them are attacking him. It’s not uncommon for smaller faster fish to fin nip and harass your betta. While his fins look beautiful to us but in a tank, they can slow him down.

Fin Rot

And of course, one of the most common causes of fin loss in bettas is fin rot. Fin rot is a bacterial infection that slowly begins eating away at your betta’s fins. If left untreated fin rot will go all the way down to the body, which will then begin rotting. If your betta is at this stage then it’s going to be a lot harder to treat him. Although, not impossible. You’ll be able to tell it’s fin rot by the other symptoms associated with it. Such as the fins look sore, they may have a white edge, or appear different in color. If you think your betta is suffering from fin rot then here’s what you need to do to treat it. Major Fin Rot

How To Treat Your Bettas Fin Loss

Now that you know the most common reasons your betta is suffering from fin loss the next step is to figure out what to do to fix it. If it’s not being caused by fin rot or any other infection then you can normally leave it and it will heal in its own time (if you’re cleaning and maintaining your tank regularly). However, if you want to speed things up a bit, here are some of the best ways you can treat betta fish fin loss and give your fish a speedy recovery!

Keep The Water Quality Good

One of the most important things you can do is make sure that the water your betta is of good quality. While you should be doing this anyway, it’s extra important if your betta is suffering from fin loss, as he’ll be more prone to infection. To keep the water quality high you should be performing water changes more often. Changing about 10% of the water daily or every other day is a great way to start. As well as that, you should also be testing the water regularly to make sure that it’s got no ammonia in it. If there is ammonia it’s going to slowly poison your betta and if it doesn’t kill him it will weaken his immune system. And lastly, make sure you’re housing your betta in a tank that’s suitable for him. There’s a lot of information that suggests you can keep bettas in fish bowls and tanks that are as small as 1 gallon in size, but it simply isn’t true. You should be keeping your betta in a tank that’s 5 gallons or bigger. As well as this it should also have a heater, filter, and lots of hiding places. If you don’t do this then you’re betta is more likely to be stressed or depressed, both of which are going to weaken his immune system and make him more susceptible to fin rot as well as other illnesses. On top of that, it’s harder to control the parameters of a smaller tank. And if the parameters change too quick it will also have a detrimental effect on a bettas immune system.

Feed Him Daphnia

While it’s not 100% certain whether daphnia can help betta fish fin loss, there’s no harm in feeding him them anyway as part of a balanced diet. But it’s believed that foods that are high in vitamin B such as daphnia are able to improve fin regeneration as well as speed up the rate at which fins grow back.

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Adding Aquarium Salt To The Tank

You could also try adding aquarium salt to the tank as well. Adding aquarium salt to your tank is going to improve your bettas slime coat. Making sure your betta’s slime coat is strong when his fins are damaged is paramount as it’s going to help repel parasites, bacteria and fungal infections!

Adding API Stress Coat

If you don’t fancy adding aquarium salt then you can also try API Stress Coat. It’s a water conditioner that also doubles up as a stress reliever for your betta. This stress relief is going to reduce the chances of him tail biting due to stress. And on top of that, it’s also going to help improve his slime coat as well!

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Healing Fin Rot

Healing fin rot is going to require even more care than the care listed above. If it’s only a mild or moderate case of fin rot then you should use aquarium salt to treat it (you can find out how to do so here.) But in more severe circumstances you may need to use medicine to help eradicate the infection and bring your betta back to health. (Just remember when using medicine you should either remove the chemical media from your tank or move your betta to a quarantine tank.) If you think your betta is suffering from fin rot caused by fungus then you should use Pimafix and if you think it’s caused by bacteria then you should use Furan 2. To find out how to tell what it’s being caused by here’s some helpful information about fin rot. turquoise betta

Will A Bettas Fins Grow Back?

If you make sure that you’re looking after the tank and you’re doing everything you can to heal your betta then his fins should grow back. However, remember that while the fin is growing it’s going to be extremely fragile, and more likely to become damaged again. (If you’re still not sure what your betta is suffering from, then check out this article on all the diseases and illnesses that can affect them!)

How Long Does It Take For A Bettas Fins To Grow Back?

Fin growth can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months depending on the severity of it. In general, the fin is going to grow at the same rate as your fingernail. However, because it’s likely that your betta will accidentally damage his fins during the healing process it will take longer. So don’t worry if your betta’s fins are taking a while to heal. As long as they look like they’re getting better and they’re definitely not getting worse then keep doing what you’re doing.

How To Tell If Fins Are Growing Back?

You can tell if the fins are growing back by looking closely at them. If you notice a clear membrane growing on the end of your betta’s fins then this is the regrowth. It looks very similar to saran wrap and it’s extremely fragile. The longer this happens the more you’ll begin to notice the clear membrane gaining color, however, you should know that often times the color will be different from the original one.

How To Prevent Betta Fin Loss In The First Place

The best thing you can do is try to prevent fin loss in your betta from happening in the first place. Luckily there are a few things you can do.

Add The Right Decoration

If you’ve bought a decoration that has sharp edges or is extremely rough then you shouldn’t add it to your tank. Add decorations with smooth sides and lots of live plants. Your betta will love them and they’re not going to damage him at all.

Don’t Add Aggressive Fish

You should avoid adding fish that are going to be aggressive to your betta and fin nip. If you do want to add more fish, then you should have a plan for what you’re going to do with them if they’re not going to be peaceful. The two best options are to have a spare tank ready or buy a tank divider.

Keep The Water Quality Good

And of course, you should make sure you’re keeping the water quality good as treatment and as prevention. So monitor the nitrates and perform regular water changes to reduce the chance of infections.

Make Sure Your Bettas Entertained

Lastly, you should make sure that your betta is entertained. Bettas are intelligent fish and they can become bored. Boredom can result in pent up frustration which they may take out on themselves and begin tail biting.


Now you know why betta fish fin loss occurs and what you can do about it! If you take good care of your betta you greatly reduce the risk of it happening, and if it does happen you’ll be able to grow it back in no time. Here are some of the main points to remember:
  • Rough decorations in the tank, tail biting, other fish and fin rot can all be reasons that cause fin loss to occur.
  • To treat fin rot you should make sure you’re keeping the water quality in your tank good, feed him lots of daphnia so he gets enough vitamin B, add aquarium salt or API Stress Coat to improve healing, and in the case of fin rot use an antibacterial medication like Furan 2 or an antifungal like Pimafix.
  • If you take good care of your betta his fins will grow back, however, during healing they are going to be very fragile.
  • The time it takes for your betta’s fins to grow back depends on how severe the damage is. Generally, they grow as quick as a fingernail takes to grow.
  • You can tell if the fins are growing back by looking for a transparent membrane at the very edge of the damage.
  • To prevent fin loss add the right decorations such as live plants, don’t add aggressive fish to the tank, keep the water quality high and make sure your betta isn’t getting bored!

6 thoughts on “Betta Fish Fin Loss (Causes, Treatments & Prevention)”

  1. Hi, I have a male betta in a 5 gallon tank, 2 XS filters and a water heater. At the beginning of December he was bloated, partially covered in white, had difficulty swimming and was lopsided. I tried the 3 day fast (no pea) but didn’t improve. I gave him a cycle of API fin & body cure, white disappeared, not bloated, appetite returned and more energetic. However he still has difficulty swimming. I have to questions,
    1. Is there anything I can do to help him with his swimming?
    2. I decreased the water in his tank to half to make it easier for him to reach the surface (to eat). Is this wrong? I tested the water with test strips and it is fine.
    Thanks for your help

    • Hi Maria, it sounds like you’ve done everything I would have done in that situation. Sometimes after swim bladder disease, they can have trouble swimming forever. However, other times their swimming gets better. If possible try to increase the amount of water in the tank so the water can stay more stable. Otherwise, there’s not much more you can do asides from getting a new tank which has a lot of length but not much height. Hope this helped.

  2. I got my male about a year ago when he was quite small. He’s always been in a 10 gal with 2 small albino corys and a snail. There are 3 live plants and he has a hideout. About a month ago, I started seeing HUGE chunks missing from his fins. Right now the one by his anus is gone completely, huge pieces of his tail are gone, his dorsal fin is growing back well. There is no fin rot, this happens in a matter of hours. I can’t find anything sharp, I have not seen him bite himself nor have I ever seen him stuck on the filter uptake. He is otherwise normal. What am I missing??? I’d be so glad for anyone’s thoughts and ideas. I’ve kept fish for 30+ years (and had many bettas) but this is new to me. Thanks!

  3. Hey there! My little sister’s betta fish’s ventral fin ripped entirely off. We think it got sucked into the filter, but we’re not entirely sure. His dorsal, caudal, and anal fin also look like they’re tearing away. We only got her fish one week ago.

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