Q: Is it possible that my Betta is chomping on his own fins?  I read the info on fin rot but the water has been clean and there is no dark or red edges.  His fins looked like someone munched on them, and the only fins effected are the ones possibly in his reach?

Question submitted by Karen, Acampo - CA

A: Well Karen, you gotta feed that betta every now and then LOL. Just teasing. The answer is YES, it is possible that your betta is chewing on its own fins. This is however a rare occurrence and there are a few other possibilities we need to consider:


If damage is done primarily to the tail, it might be that Mr. Betta is in need snaking on his own finnage. Why bettas do that is a puzzle to all of us. When asked they usually never give a straight answer and I finally gave up trying to get it out of them ;). A few did mention they wanted a hair cut to look more like Brad Pitt. I tell ya, vanity will make you do a lot of strange things! :)). Seriously though, bettas have been reported to take chunks out of their tails, I have seen it myself. Is it out of boredom? Is it the need to express their aggressive tendencies? Having no one to fight with, they turn on their own selves? Are they looking for protein? Do they think that piece of tail belongs to someone else? LOL.  No one really knows. How to stop this? Not sure either. He may never do it again so let's not worry about it just yet.


Maybe your betta did not take a chunk out of its own tail, but simply "blewn" it instead. Bettas fins are only a few cells thick and with length they can tear if the betta is overactive. Do you have plants in the tank or rocks? Decorations that have sharp edges, especially plastic plants, can tear a betta's fins badly so beware!


Fin rot is sometimes very sneaky and does not always "advertise" its presence by giving you the usual dark or red edge. So your fish might also have some rot scheme going :).

Whether fin rot or just injury, it is necessary to treat the affected area so to either stop or prevent a bacterial infection from settling in the damaged tissues. So I would treat your betta and  follow my fin rot course of treatment as explained in the disease section of this oh so informative website (shameless plug hehehehehehe).  Remove any sharp edge decorations if any are present. If betta is too overactive, pop a valium in his tank (JUST KIDDING!!!!!). Actually there is nothing much you can do to slow down a hyper betta, but then again time and old age will do the trick in less time than it took me to type this LOL. All of us old farts can attest to that ;). 

Goodluck and I hope this helped you.

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