5 Quick and Easy Steps for Treating Fin Rot in Aquarium Fish (2023)

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What do you do if your fish’s fins and tail are looking ragged or discolored? It may be a bacterial disease calledfin rot. This illness is simple enough to treat but can lead to other serious complications if left unchecked, so follow our five easy steps for curing fin rot.

How Do I Know If My Fish Has Fin Rot?

Fin rot is commonly found in aquarium fish such as betta fish and goldfish. The symptoms can vary based on how long the fish has been affected:

You may also notice your fish seems listless or doesn’t feel like eating anymore, since its body is working hard to fight the infection.

5 Quick and Easy Steps for Treating Fin Rot in Aquarium Fish (1)

If your fish naturally has uneven fin edges, you may have difficulty spotting fin rot.

(Video) How to cure FIN ROT

How Do You Treat Fin Rot in Fish?

  1. Check your fish’s environment

    Whenever your fish gets sick, the first thing you need to do is play detective and find out why the fish got sick. Fin rot may come back again unless you remove the cause of the problem. Check the water parameters with anaquarium water test kitto see if anything is out of whack. Make sure there are no environmental factors causing stress to your fish, like an overly strong filter, sharp decor, or wrong temperature.
  2. Take corrective measures

    After you discover what’s wrong, remove the source of stress immediately so your fish can start recovering.
  3. Clean the fish tank

    Medications often require you to hold back from doing water changes during treatment, so clean the aquarium and remove as much fish waste as possible. (Read our tutorialon how to properly clean your aquarium.)
  4. Treat with medications

    We recommend using a broad-spectrum antibiotic known aserythromycinthat is effective against fin rot. If your fish has also developed a secondary fungal infection,methylene blueis an appropriate antifungal treatment.
  5. Make your fish very comfortable

    (Video) Guppy Fish Care – Fin Rot In Guppies, How To Treat Fin Rot In Guppies ?

    Keep your fish’s environment very clean and comfortable to ensure a quick recovery process. Medications can sometimes make the water harder to breathe in, so add an air stone or sponge filter to keep the water well-oxygenated.

If you cannot buy erythromycin in your country, try treating the fin rot with aquarium salt. Just be aware that this method generally takes longer to cure the infection. For more details, read our full article on how to treat fish diseases with salt.

5 Quick and Easy Steps for Treating Fin Rot in Aquarium Fish (2)

Fin rot can be caused by dirty water, nipping from other fish, or other stress factors.

How Do You Know If Fin Rot Is Cured?

The medication may take several days to beat the infection, but some clear signs of recovery include:

  • The fin rot has not progressed
  • No other new symptoms have appeared
  • Your fish’s appetite and energy level are returning
  • Fin regrowth has begun (and may be a different color than before)

In the meanwhile, you can do several things to prevent fin rot from coming back. Dirty water is a common cause for bacterial infection, so schedule a regular time for cleaning the aquarium and put a weekly reminder in your phone so you won’t forget. Other ways you can keep the water cleaner include not putting too many fish in one aquarium, not overfeeding them, and addinglive plantsto help absorb some of the fish waste.

(Video) Goldfish Diseases And Treatment | Goldfish Fin Rot Treatment

As mentioned before, continue to reduce any stress factors in the aquarium by maintaining the proper temperature with aheater, slowing the water current if needed, and removing any aggressive tankmates. Finally, keep a close eye on your fish. It’s easy to miss symptoms if no one’s paying attention to the aquarium, so we recommend examining your fish once a daywhen you feed them.

Take heart! With proper treatment and prevention, fin rot is an easy sickness to beat, and most healthy fish have no problems making a full recovery. For information on how to treat other fish diseases, see our other articles here:



Can my fish recover from fin rot? ›

If caught early, fin rot can be treated, and your fish's fins will slowly grow back with care and time. In more serious cases where the fin rot has reached the body of the fish, the tissue will not regenerate.

How long does fin rot take to heal? ›

This depends on how bad the problem is to start with. By using King British Fin Rot & Fungus Control there should be an improvement in 4-5 days. Due to fish having open wounds it is very important to keep water quality pristine, to prevent secondary infection taking place.

Does table salt help fin rot? ›

Then take 1 tsp of aquarium salt per gallon of water for mild cases of rot and 2-2.5 tsp per gallon for moderate cases (so if the quarantine tank is 5 gallons, use 5 tsp of salt to treat mild rot). Predissolve the salt in a separate glass or jug.

What is the best treatment for fin rot? ›

A water-based treatment will wipe out your biologic filtration and isn't suggested for such a simple issue. Improving your fish's environment is the best treatment for fin rot. Persistent infectious requiring veterinary care may involve antibiotic injections with cleaning or trimming of the infected area.

What helps fin rot? ›

Treat with a suitable treatment such as phenoxyethanol, malachite green methylene blue or other proprietary agent (most seem to prefer aquarium salt; however, it is important to make sure the product is for freshwater, not saltwater, fish).

How often should you do water changes for fin rot? ›

Well almost always. It is ill advised to do 80-100% water changes every day. This is because there is not enough bacteria in the water.

How much salt do I put in my aquarium for fin rot? ›

Quick Reference For Mild Fin Rot:

Add in 1tsp/gallon of Aquarium Salt, pre-mixed beforehand into the tank. For slightly more severe rot, use 1.5tsp/gallon of the salt. Do 100% daily water changes each day and re-dose only after the 100% change, for no more than 10 days.

Does fin rot turn black? ›

Black spots are not a common symptom of fin rot, but might appear around injured or inflamed areas; the edges of the fins may also turn black as they start to wither and tear.

How do you save a fish with severe fin rot? ›

We recommend using a broad-spectrum antibiotic known as erythromycin that is effective against fin rot. If your fish has also developed a secondary fungal infection, methylene blue is an appropriate antifungal treatment. Keep your fish's environment very clean and comfortable to ensure a quick recovery process.

Can you add salt directly to aquarium? ›

Add 1 tablespoon (Tbsp) of salt per 3 gallons of water. You can pour the salt directly into the aquarium or hospital tank, but some people like to dissolve the salt in a small cup of water first.

Can I put table salt in my fish tank? ›

Common table salt is suitable; however, it should be non-iodized and contain no additives. Rock Salt or Kosher salt are excellent choices, as they are pure sodium chloride with nothing else added.

How often do you use fin rot treatment? ›

Repeat treatment every 24 hours while symptoms persist. Renew filter carbon. A 10% water change is recommended after the problem has been terminated.

Should I cut fin rot? ›

The only time cutting fins is considered acceptable is if the fish is suffering from fin rot and cutting off the damaged and diseased tissue would help it heal (think surgical removal of gangrenous parts) or if the fish is so overburdened with finnage that cutting it to relieve weight bearing would improve their ...

How do you use methylene blue for fin rot? ›

Fungus on Fish Eggs
  1. Remove carbon from the filter and continue to operate with mechanical filter media.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of 2.303% Methylene Blue per 10 gallons of water. This produces a concentration of 3 ppm. ...
  3. Treatment should continue daily until 3 days past the free-swimming stage.
Sep 29, 2022

Does garlic help fin rot? ›

This fish keeper recommended it as an antioxidant and an appetite stimulant. Around the same time, Bettafish.com contributers were addressing rumors that garlic could cure fin rot. The consensus was that it could not directly, but when juiced and applied to betta food, could help improve immune system function.

Can tannins cure fin rot? ›

These tannins gradually lower the pH of the water and are said to have antifungal and antibacterial properties, which comes in handy when you have a fish suffering from fin rot or when you're raising vulnerable fry.

Will a water change cure fin rot? ›

Curing fin rot

In very early cases, increasing water changes and keeping the aquarium extra clean may be enough to stop fin rot. If the infection is already getting serious, it's a better idea to start treatment right away.

Can overfeeding cause fin rot? ›

Fin rot – Fin rot is a condition in which the fins can develop a shaggy appearance. It most often occurs when fish are stressed, which is a common result of overfeeding.

What causes fin rot in a new tank? ›

Fin and Tail Rot is one of the most preventable diseases in aquarium fish. The root cause of Fin Rot is always poor water conditions, but fish stress is also a contributing factor. When fish are handled, moved, subjected to overcrowding or housed with more aggressive fish, they are more susceptible to Fin and Tail Rot.

Is Epsom salt same as aquarium salt? ›

There are two types of salt frequently used: aquarium salt (sodium chloride) is the most frequently used, and Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) is occasionally needed. They have very different functions and are not interchangeable, but both can be safely used.

How long does it take for salt to dissolve in water for fish tank? ›

Best practice would be to mix your chosen salt mix for a set-time somewhere between 8 and 24 hours, then come back to use it knowing that most salts have probably fully dissolved and are ready to go by this time. Learn more by checking out our complete playlist of Reef Tank Salt Mix videos.

How do you save a dying fish? ›

How to Save a Sick Fish
  1. Step 1: Check Your Water Quality. Poor water quality is the #1 cause of illness and disease in fish. ...
  2. Step 2: Fix Your Water Quality. ...
  3. Step 3: Check Your Fishes' Food. ...
  4. Step 4: Call Your Veterinarian About Your Sick Fish.
Feb 25, 2020

What does ammonia poisoning in fish look like? ›

Red or Purple Gills and Bloody Patches

The fish's gills will take on a red or lilac color, making them look like it's bleeding. As the problem progresses, the fish's tissues will begin to deteriorate, evidenced by red streaks or bloody patches on their body and fins caused by ammonia burns.

How can you tell the difference between fin rot and fin damage? ›

Fin loss is caused by physical damage incurred by sharp tank decorations, snagged fins, or nipping from other fish. It happens when something actually tears the fin tissue. Fin rot is the result of a bacterial infection, which leaves the fins tattered, bloody or blackened.

How do I balance ammonia in my fish tank? ›

What should I do?
  1. Complete a 25% water change and retest after a few hours.
  2. Treat with Ammonia Remover.
  3. When at a safe level of 0.0mg treat the tank with Fast Filter Start to boost the bacteria in your filter that process ammonia.
  4. Continue to regularly test your water.

Can Melafix fix fin rot? ›

API MELAFIX fish remedy heals bacterial infections such as fin & tail rot, eye cloud, popeye, body slime, and mouth fungus. As a general note, all API fish remedies can be used in conjunction with each other safely, as long as you are able to follow the directions for both during treatment.

How long does it take for fish to regrow fins? ›

How long does it take for my female Betta fish to regrow her fins from a fin rot? As long as you keep the water clean and keep up with water changes, it shouldn't take too long if the rot was not bad. You may need to wait anywhere to a month or so for fins to completely heal over.

How do you use aquarium salt for fin rot? ›

Our advice for treating mild fin rot
  1. Lower the temperature of the aquarium to about 75°F. This will delay the growth of bacteria causing the fin rot. ...
  2. Add 1 tsp per gallon of aquarium salt to the water. Remember to pre-mix the salt in the water before adding it to the aquarium. ...
  3. Do a 90% water change everyday.

How often should I put aquarium salt in my tank? ›

As a general rule, start with one tablespoon of salt for 5 gallons of aquarium water. This is a safe dosage for all fish and plants. Observe the aquarium for 24 hours. If there is no improvement, the salt dosage can be repeated for up to four days.

What does Epsom salt do for fish? ›

beneficial to aquarium fish suffering from maladies such as dropsy, constipation, and swim bladder disorder. Epsom salt may be added to fresh water fish tanks to alter the chemistry of the water. Epsom salt is the common name for the compound magnesium sulphate — a chemical containing magnesium, sulfate, and oxygen.

Why is my fish getting skinny and dying? ›

Water parameters

Poor water quality will increase the risk of fish disease. Once fish get sick, they may lose interest in eating, and then become thinner. Meanwhile, if the water temperature is too low, fish will also lose their appetite, and get thinner finally.

How do you treat a sick fish? ›

Add antibiotics to the water and use antibiotic-medicated food. Maintain good water quality. Quarantine any fish with signs of the disease. Treat affected areas with topical disinfectants.

Can a fish survive without a tail? ›

Fish 'survives six months' without a tail and half of its body | The Independent | The Independent.

How do I add salt to my aquarium? ›

Add 1 tablespoon (Tbsp) of salt per 3 gallons of water. You can pour the salt directly into the aquarium or hospital tank, but some people like to dissolve the salt in a small cup of water first. This level of salt is like using Neosporin topical ointment for a small cut (in other words, it's not very strong).

What fish dies if it stops moving? ›

Instead, these sharks rely on obligate ram ventilation, a way of breathing that requires sharks to swim with their mouths open. The faster they swim, the more water is pushed through their gills. If they stop swimming, they stop receiving oxygen. They move or die.

Can dead fish sink to the bottom? ›

Most fish sink to the bottom of their habitats when they die but they become more buoyant as the process of decomposition takes over. Most fish are slightly denser than water, so sink immediately after death.

Can fish feel physical pain? ›

Fish do feel pain. It's likely different from what humans feel, but it is still a kind of pain.” At the anatomical level, fish have neurons known as nociceptors, which detect potential harm, such as high temperatures, intense pressure, and caustic chemicals.

How do you tell if it's fin rot or nipping? ›

In the early stages of fin rot, the edge of the fin will look ragged or shredded, due to the breakdown of the fin's protective membrane. As the disease progresses, an increasing amount of the fin will be destroyed. As more of the fin erodes away, the fin may start to resemble a semicircular bite shape.

What does aquarium salt treat? ›

AQUARIUM SALT promotes fish health by improving gill function, making it easier for fish to breathe. It also provides essential electrolytes that fish need to reach peak coloration and vitality. These electrolytes may be lost each time you perform a partial water change, and will need to be replenished.

How do fish rest? ›

While fish do not sleep in the same way that land mammals sleep, most fish do rest. Research shows that fish may reduce their activity and metabolism while remaining alert to danger. Some fish float in place, some wedge themselves into a secure spot in the mud or coral, and some even locate a suitable nest.


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