I’ve owned many betta fish throughout the years, but only once have I seen one almost completely lose its tail.
Although there are various causes of a betta fish losing its tail, given the right conditions, the tail can grow back. If the underlying cause of the tail of loss is solved in time, the rest of the betta fish’s tail should grow back. However, the tail is very fragile during the regrowth process.
Keep reading to find out why your betta fish might have lost its tail, what you can do to help it grow back, and what sort of risks are involved during the regrowth process.
The Betta Fish Tail Regrowth Process
Both the fins and tail of your betta fish can grow back as long as the underlying cause of the tail or fin loss is treated. As you will see below, there are several causes of your betta fish losing its tail, so for that tail to grow back, this cause will need to be taken care of.
In terms of how much of the tail will grow back, as long as the rays of the tail remain intact after injury or infection, the rest of the tail should grow back. That said, if an infection or injury destroys the base of the tail or fin entirely, it will not regrow. If this is the case, the loss of the tail is permanent.
What also needs to be considered is that the tail will be extremely fragile and prone to damage as it regrows.
Therefore, you should continue treating the aquarium and maintaining exceptionally high water quality levels until the tail is totally grown back and appears to be strong and developed.
While the tail is in the regrowth period, you should constantly monitor it and replace the water very frequently to avoid any kind of harmful bacteria from causing any kind of reinfection.
Always check the water quality for ammonia, nitrates, and other such substances, as these can easily cause more damage to your fish, particularly if the tail still has an open wound. What really comes down to is that as long as you address all of the underlying causes of tail loss in your betta fish, the rest should take care of itself.
The Signs of Betta Fish Tail Regrowth
While the tail of your betta fish is regrowing, you might see some ripples and odd lines. This is nothing more than scar tissue and is no cause for concern. One of the most significant indications to look out for when the tail is regrowing is that a transparent part should grow out from the damaged area.
This is an indication that the damage, then rot, or other issue is gone, and that there is new growth occurring.
As the healing progresses, you should see the tail grow back to its original size. The transparent membrane that is growing won’t have any color right away, and the original color might never come back totally.
That said, as long as the bin is totally functional, then the color is of no consequence.
How Long Does it Take for a Betta Fish Tail to Grow Back?
How long it takes for the tail of your betta fish to grow back really depends on a variety of factors, mainly the original severity of the damage or infection. If it was an extremely severe infection and virtually all of the tale was lost, it may take several months.
However, if the issue was just minor, it might just take a week or two. It also depends on how well you treat and take care of the underlying cause of the tail loss.
What you do however need to consider is that as the tail healing process progresses, the tail becomes more and more fragile. This means that it is quite likely that your betta fish will cause additional damage to the tail during the healing process.
It may take even longer for some fish, especially if they are active swimmers and like to explore. However, don’t give up and simply keep treating the underlying cause, and eventually, the tail should grow back.
The Causes of Tail Loss in Betta Fish
The issue with the tails of betta fish is that they are extremely fragile. Due to this, they are very prone to injury, tears, and infection. If you notice that your betta fish has repeated tears on its tail or fins, it’s time to examine what is happening.
One of the most common causes of tail and fin loss in betta fish is fin rot, an infection that causes these parts of the fish to quite literally rot away. This disease generally occurs alongside other infections, and may even be caused by fungi.
Once any kind of fish has this infection, the fins and tails will slowly become ragged, torn, and eventually fall off.
This infection can be present in any fish tank, but the issue is that if there is a lot of ammonia or nitrite present in the tank, it makes the fish more susceptible to said infection.
There are also other factors which can cause increased stress in fish, resulting in a weakened immune system, and an increased susceptibility to such diseases.
If your fish has fin rot, you should see that the edges of the tail have a different color or start to turn white. There should also be some signs of inflammation.
If not due to infection, your betta fish might lose its tail due to other fish swimming in the aquarium. If there are smaller and faster fish in the aquarium, it may be the case that your betta fish is being attacked and bullied by them.
Your betta fish may have bite marks or other injuries on its body, which strongly indicates that it is being bullied. Your betta fish may also be attempting to hide from its attackers. Other fish like dwarf gouramis, barbs, and other small and aggressive fish are not to be kept with betta fish.
Tail biting is a very interesting cause of tail loss in betta fish, because it’s something that the fish does to itself. If a betta fish is extremely aggressive, bored, or stressed out, it may start to bite at its own tail.
Unfortunately, if this is the case, it’s a tough issue to treat. Betta fish biting its own tail is somewhat hereditary in nature, and it can be tough to control this behavior.
The other cause of tail loss in betta fish is if they are rapidly swimming around your aquarium, and you have decorations that may be causing injuries to them.
Those long fins can easily snag on various objects, rub against rough stones, and get snagged on decorations. Therefore, always ensure that the decorations in your betta fish tank are smooth and suitable for a betta fish.
How to Treat Tail Loss in Betta Fish
Based on the causes of talent loss in betta fish, here are some of the best ways to treat this issue.
· Always maintain a high level of water quality in the tank, starting with an adequate filtration unit.
· Make sure to change about 1/4 of the water in the fish tank every week.
· Ensure the fish tank is not overstocked, which means that the betta fish alone should have at least 5 gallons of space.
· Make sure that there are no factors that stress out your betta fish. This means that you also need to maintain appropriate water parameters for this type of fish.
· Maintaining a clean tank is one of the best ways to avoid infections from occurring.
· Using aquarium salt in your aquarium can help you improve the slime coat on your fish, which in essence helps improve its overall immunity.
· Ensure that you are not keeping your betta fish with other fish that may be nipping on its fins or tail.
· If your fish is suffering from fin rot, medication may be called for.
Unfortunately, betta fish can lose their tails, but if you act soon enough, you may be able to help the tail grow back. In most cases, it should grow back just fine.