My fish has ragged fins or fin rot?

My fish has ragged fins or fin rot?

fin erosionFin rot is nearly always a sign of stress and the most important step is to try and determine why the fish is stressed and resolve the problem.  It is important to realise that the stress could be initiated by virtually anything, for example poor water quality, parasites, etc. – so therefore it really needs a full examination of both the fish and the water . If the problem is caught early enough, simply removing the source of the stress will be enough and the fish will probably recover.  However, if the problem is more severe and the infection has a firm hold it may be necessary to trim away the diseased portion of fin and consider a course of antibiotics.  Obviously this may require professional assistance. 

My fish has ragged fins or fin rot?

Fin rot is a general term for necrotic loss of fin tissue, resulting in split or ragged fins. It is usually the edge of the fin that is attacked, although occasionally a hole may appear in the middle of the fin. The appearance of fin rot can vary between a distinct, semi-circular “bite” shape and a “shredded” effect.

The edge of the lesion is usually opaque or whitish. In advanced cases there may be some reddening or inflammation. The main threat from this fish disease is, if left untreated fin rot can slowly eat away the entire fin along with the fin rays and start to invade the fish’s body, leading to peduncle disease if the caudal (tail) fin is involved, or saddleback ulcer if the dorsal (top) fin is affected. Fin rot is a bacterial disease involving opportunistic bacteria such as Aeromonas, Pseudomonas or Flexibacter that abound in all aquatic environments. Secondary fungal infections are not uncommon.

My fish has ragged fins or fin rot?
My fish has ragged fins or fin rot?

With very few exceptions, virtually all cases  are precipitated by stress, fear or poor environmental conditions. Indeed, fin rot is often one of the first signs that a fish disease problem exists and all cases should be investigated to determine the underlying cause. When I have fish in for hospitalization, occasionally some sensitive fish will start to develop fin rot as a consequence of their strange new surroundings and being handled – even though they are being kept in optimum conditions. It is usually self-resolving as they settle in, but does demonstrate just how sensitive fish can be to stress and how fin erosion is often a sign that all is not well.Usually caused by stress

Treatment

At the expense of being repetitive, stress is the major cause of fin rot. This could be due to a fish disease such as parasites, or  overcrowding, low oxygen levels, bullying, poor water quality etc. The most important first step is to resolve any stressors. If caught early, this may be sufficient. 

In more advanced cases it may be necessary to trim the affected fin and remove the necrotic tissue. This has to be done when the fish is sedated. It is important to use sterile scissors and treat the clean edge with an antiseptic such as povodine-iodine. This procedure does carry with it a risk of secondary infection and it is important that the fish is returned to optimum conditions and its progress closely monitored for the next week or so.

If the fin rot has advanced the full length of the fin and is threatening the body, this procedure would need to be accompanied by a course of suitable antibiotics.

Does the tissue grow back? In minor cases where only the fin tissue is affected it probably will, but in more advanced cases, particularly if the fin rays (bones) are affected, the chances of re-growth are slim. 

How Long Does it Take for Grow Back?

The edge will look impressively smooth and healed in just a couple weeks but it will be months for the tail to regain it’s original length – worse, there will always be a defect in the tail at the original “blast line” where you got the brakes on the infection.

My fish has ragged fins or fin rot?

Enter your email address for a free PDF of this article including its images.

Enter your Email Address

My Favorite Amazon Recommendations

Items and content will not show in "Reader View" check your browser.

This is The LCD Screen Scope
We Did The Tutorial With. I did a twenty page tutorial (Here's the tutorial) with video, audio, images and even little parasite movies to show you how to use a microscope. 

This Filter is Good For BIG Dirty Tanks
I've been wrestling with water quality with the turtles. The sponges work GREAT, but in THOSE turtle systems where they eat MICE the poops are bulky. This filter can handle it. In "Tortu's" tank, it's got an 800 gph pump and it rocks. 

PraziPro for Flukes
They nailed it. Figured out the solubility and worked out the dosing. It works. 

Buy Some Good Koi?
No, this isn't really for the 'high end' collector y'all. But for someone who isn't near a decent garden center, here are "good-to-quite-good" Koi you will like at a very good price. I know these guys personally.

Best Food, Ever
It's made for (and I discovered it for) my Blood Parrots but the small size, intense color enhancers and excellent formulation make it superb young-Koi food. Oh, and it's AMAZING on color-cichlids like Flowerhorn and Blood Parrots. 

Pro Air 60 Aerator is a VERY high output air pump pushing my whole fish room (17+ drops), and I have one at home driving everything there, and I have one as a back up. 

Formalin Malachite (Not dilute)
There are formalin malachite preparations at 10%, 22% and 37%. There's economy in the concentrates. Hard to get Prime shipping because air transport is curtailed. This is a good value on 32 ounces. 

Topical For Koi and Pond Fish Ulcers
I like 7% tincture of iodine because it stains but it's hard to hurt anything with it. Used with a WOVEN gauze, this works well to clean and disinfect a wound. Only use ONCE. Do not 'repeatedly' scrub wounds. 

Confectioner's Glaze 
Is the way to bind a medication to fish food. Gone are the days of paste food and oil. The write up is done, it's RIGHT HERE.

Koi Health & Disease
Hopefully this link takes you to the newest edition by PRIME to get it to your house the fastest. 

I have over ten of these Titanium Heaters in my fish room and at home. They're a paradigm shift in aquarium heating. They're titanium and 400W for under $30! Whaaaaaaaaat?

CyroPro by Hikari is safe and easy for Anchor Worms and Fish Lice.

Whatever heaters you use, back yourself up with a temperature controller, it'll turn on, and off your heaters. If your heater seizes "on" at least the thermostat will stop a tragedy. 

LifeGuard by Tetra is a tablet version of a tame 'chloramine-t' or 'halamid' compound that's easy to get and good on bacterial infections, in baths. 

Antimicrobial
If you're making medicated feed for a larger group of fish, this will come in handy. Dosing is available in the site. 

For me, filtration-of-choice
For aquariums, even small Koi holding facilities or small ponds. These sponge filters are cheap, easy to clean, and they clear hazes very well when used with some Accuclear or similar.

Rubber sided, round, nettable tanks
Make great hospital or quarantine facilities. They SHOULD cost about $200-300 depending on size, but this, lower quality unit (while panned in some reviews) may be good. Don't overfill and make sure it's propped up.

1200 Watt heater, on a thermostat held securely above the waterline, works GREAT as a large tank heater. That's all I'll say because there's risk of electrocution and all that. But then, even in a bucket you could get killed. Sound like fun?
I have several of these ALLIED PRECISION stainless ones that are a couple years old. Working still. 

Potassium Permanganate 
500 grams could be a lifetime supply but it's 50% more than the 100g cost wise, for 500% more amount. Dosing is in the site and the book.

What Does Ajax Eat?
I looked for something well formulated, with meat as the first ingredient. Something UNDER $2/lb and something they could deliver for free. And this was it. He looks and feels great on it.