Why is my betta fish tail shredding?

In this blog we will discuss the reasons behind bettas tail shredding and how to fix that.This blog will help all the betta keepers regarding their bettas edgy tails.


In this blog

  • Why is my betta fish tail shredding?
  • Betta fish tail shredding reasons
  • How to fix betta fish tail shredding?
  • Summary
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Reference 

Why is my betta fish tail shredding?

If a betta fish develops torn irregular fins, he may be suffering from fin rot or loss of fins. 

Fin loss is generally the result of an injury caused by pinching their fin in a sharp object in the tank or hooking a delicate fin. Fin rot is a disease caused by bacteria.

Shredded fins are usually a sign of physical damage.This can come from many sources.

Attacks from other fish are a common cause of torn fins.This can take the form of a fish-to-fish battle, or a less serious fin pinch from a small fish such as a barb.

While domestic bettas often lose their fins, experts say this is not normal.

Either fin rot (caused by infection) or loss of fins (caused by external factors) can be the cause of fin loss in a fighting fish.The good news is that both are completely curable.

Betta fish tail shredding reasons

There are many reasons responsible for fin or tail shredding in bettas:

  • Fin rot
  • Fin nipping
  • Bettas fight
  • Due to sharp tank objects
  • Poor water quality
  • Low water temperature

Shredding due fin rot

If your betta fish has torn fins or tails, it could be due to fin rot. Fin rot is a common disease that describes rotting or worn out fins or tails of a betta fish.

Fin rot usually begins at the ends of the fins and tail.Fin rot can be difficult to treat, especially in the later stages.If left untreated, fin rot will eventually kill the affected fish and may also infect all other fish in the tank.

You can prevent fin rot by improving the water quality, feeding fresh food little by little, and keeping the water temperature constant. Keeping the aquarium uncluttered also helps prevent fin rot.

Shredding due to fin nipping

Many small school fish can choose a betta like tiger barbs, black widows, and freshwater puffer fish can nibble on their fins and cause the fins to chip.

Some schooling fish behave less aggressively when kept in sufficient numbers,they will chase each other and nibble each other instead of catching a betta.

Shredding due to bettas fight

Male betta fish, if kept together, tend to fight with other male betta fish. Pet shop bettas have long, delicate fins, although they are descended from aggressive, short-finned ancestors.

These fights can cause the betta’s fins to be shredded.It is better to never house them together in the same tank.They are better kept separately in nano solitary tanks.

Shredding due to sharp tank objects

Do not put metal-containing or metal decorations in the aquarium.This will rust and have a serious impact on the water in your bettas aquarium.

Do not use sharp decorations or ornaments.Some decorations have sharp edges or protruding features that can easily tear or shred bettas fin.

Make sure you don’t have sharp edges or anything in the bettas tank that could harm the betta fish itself. It doesn’t have to be made of metal, anything calcium-based, glass, or plastic.

Shredding due to poor water quality

The number one cause of chopped tails or fins in bettas, and all fish, is poor water quality.Poor water quality can make your aquarium a breeding ground for bacterial, parasitic, and fungal infections.

In addition to poor water quality, your betta can also be stressed, which is not good for their health and will directly affect their longevity.

Shredding due to low water temperature

The ideal temperature for a solid fish tank is 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the water temperature is low, the metabolism slows down and the bettas become lethargic, but when the temperature is high, the betta behaves excessively actively,such as flying around the aquarium unpleasantly or digging a hole in the gravel of the aquarium.

These stressful conditions reduce a betta fish immune response to fight off bacteria and fungi in the water.

If a betta is placed in cold water conditions, it will not die immediately. However,since you have deprived them of their ideal living ecosystem, they will not be able to stay healthy or survive for more than six months.

As tropical fish, they are susceptible to various life-threatening diseases like fin shredding in cold water.

How to fix betta fish tail shredding?

Betta fish can re-grow the tissue of the fin when it is lost due to rot, physical damage, or biting of the tail. If a betta loses fin tissue first due to fin decay due to poor water quality, it is especially important to resolve the water problem and keep the tank clean while the fin is healing.

  • To fix tail shredding:
  • Tank cleaning
  • Water changes
  • Maintaining water temperatures in bettas tank
  • Remove sharp decorations
  • Maintain a quarantine tank
  • Treatment 

Bettas tank cleaning

A thorough cleaning is required whether housed alone or with other fish and live plants.Removing the accumulation of fish excretion and food flakes will help maintain and improve water quality.

It is recommended to make a regular cleaning plan for the betta tank. Sometimes waste can accumulate in aquarium gravel.

A complete cleanup reduces the chances of water quality deterioration and the chances of betta illness and repairs shredding of bettas tail. 

Water changes in bettas tank

In very early cases, increasing water changes and keeping the aquarium clean may be more than enough to stop shredding due to fin rot and if the infection is really serious, it is best to start treatment immediately.

Also,keep the quarantine water very clean to prevent further shredding of the fins.

Maintaining water temperature in bettas tank

Betta fish generally need a constant temperature of 80 degrees to remain happy and healthy and the only real way to achieve this is by adding a heater.

Remove sharp decorations from bettas tank

The torn fins may be due to the decoration of the tank.Remove all structures and plants from the bettas tank.Cheap plastic or fake plants are generally too sharp and should not be included in bettas tank.

Maintain a separate quarantine tank for bettas

If the betta is in an aquarium with several fish, you will need to separate them for the treatment process.The smaller the size of the aquarium the easier it is to control.

Make sure your fighting fish is properly acclimated to its temporary tank with fresh, conditioned water.

By maintaining a separate isolated or quarantine tank, you can stop the spread of infections to other fish in the same tank.

Treatment/Medication for bettas

Nourishing salt like rock or aquarium salts can reduce the chance of infection.

In more severe cases, antibiotics or antifungals such as erythromycin, minocycline, trimethoprim,and sulfadimidine can all treat fin rot.You can buy it at most pet stores.

If you don’t see any signs of fin rot, you can leave your fin torn to heal on its own. If your betta lives in heated, filtered water, the fish will likely recover quickly.

Some sources indicate that feeding B-vitamin foods, such as daphnia, can improve fin regeneration.

Add aquarium salt or API stress coat to improve healing.For fin rot, use antibacterial agents such as Furan 2 or antifungal agents such as Pimafix.

  • Siphon the gravel off the bottom of the aquarium to remove all waste and debris. 
  • Do a 25% water change to the tank.
  • Check and monitor your water quality.
  • Move the affected fish to an isolation tank if not all fish show signs of fin rot with a separate net.


  • Opportunistic bacteria and fungi can infect the damaged fins, causing the fins to rot.
  • The loss of fins is caused by physical damage caused by sharp aquarium decorations, caught fins, or being bitten by other fish.
  • Avoid keeping sharp,edgy decorations and tank plants in bettas tanks,as it can damage their beautiful long flowing fins.
  • Don’t keep beets with fin nippers, as they can shred their long flowing fins by picking on them by chasing them.
  • Betta’s fins are very attractive and it is the main reason why they get attacked by fin nippers.
  • Don’t keep male bettas together,they end up fighting and shredding each other’s fins.They are best kept in nano solitary tanks.
  • Tank maintenance should be the utmost priority to avoid tail shredding in bettas.
  • Keep their tanks clean and perform water changes to keep the levels of ammonia in check,as bettas are very sensitive to ammonia spikes, these spikes are known to cause burns or holes in bettas fin.

Frequently asked questions

Do damaged betta fins regenerate on their own?

Yes, a damaged betta fin can regenerate on its own.

Do shredding of fins happen during shipping and handling?

Bettas themselves can sometimes damage their fins. Betta often bite their own fins during transport.