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Old 08-01-2012, 05:23 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Norway
Hole in head disease

Yesterday I went to my local pet shop, and totaly fell in love with a yellow and blue CT male. He was so special I couldn't leave him, although it was obvious he wasn't healthy. He just lay at the bottom and barely moved..

Now he's in a 20L with some snails and shrimps (sorry, don't know how many gallons that is), and it looks like he has hole in head disease. He has many tiny holes on the sides of his face, and it looks like he's missing a piece of his face over the nostrils (I bet it sounds much worse that what it actually looks, because of my rusty english I find it difficult to discribe how he looks). It's not that visable, unless you really examine him. He doesn't have the best appetite, but he has eaten some blood worms, brine shrimps and pellets. I can't seem to find a lot information about the disease in the Norwegian forums, but found one article about it. It says that holes near the nostrils often comes from a bad diet lacking vitamin D and calsium, and that a good high protein diet with lots of vitamins and calsiums together with clean water might get the fish well.

Basicly I was wondering if any of you have experience with fish healing from hole in head disease? Did high quality food and clean water help, or do I have to medicate the fish? I really don't wan't to use salt, because of the tank mates..
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Old 08-01-2012, 05:28 PM   #2 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
Relatively mild cases of HITH can be cured by increasing tank maintenance, and improving the fish's diet with maybe supplements of vitamins. However, severe cases of hole in the head may need medication. A lot of these medications are meant to be added to food but unfortunately, many fish that develop hole in the head disease go off their food so it can be problematic trying to administer medication. Luckily, there are medications on the market that just have to be added to the water. Two such treatments are dimetridazole and metronidazole. These two medications are only available as a prescription in certain countries so you will have to consult your vet. There are various other treatments available off the shelf.

Hole in the head disease is believed to be the result of a deficiency of one or several of the following nutrients: Phosphorus, Calium, Vitamin C and Vitamin D. This deficiency can as earlier mentioned be caused by Hexamita and its effect on the digestive system but it can also be a result of poor water quality, poor diet or over filtration using chemical filtration.

Hole in the head disease is often very hard to cure, especially in its later stages, but an improved diet with more vitamins and increasing the water quality by cleaning the tank and performing more frequent water changes might help. It is also recommended to remove any chemical filtration such as active carbon filtration. Improving the diet of the fish can include adding vitamins to the diet, introducing vitamin rich flake food to the diet and removing (or at least cut down on) nutrient poor foods.

What are the parameters of your tank?
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Old 08-01-2012, 05:50 PM   #3 
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Thank you so much for the informative answer Unfortunately the vets here does not give out prescriptions for fish. I've read that "Esha hexamita" might be effective, but I would have to order it from the internet, and that would take a couple of days. I guess I'll order the medicine and keep changing the water.

PH: 7,5
GH: 8
NO2: 0
Temp: 26C

The ph could be a bit lower, but it should be OK for bettas? It's high because I keep snails in the same tank.

Last edited by sarap; 08-01-2012 at 05:59 PM.
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Old 08-02-2012, 04:07 AM   #4 
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I asked about the holes in the bettas faces a month or so ago. I had only noticed it in light colored or white bettas if you look up the lateral line in fish it will explain the pits are sensory organs.

I am not saying your fish does not have hole in the head disease, I just wanted to point out what I recently learned about fish in general. Learning about the lateral line really opened up a lot of understanding to me on why the fish act like they do when they are sick.

Your PH should be fine btw, the PH in my tanks is about the same.
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