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Old 01-30-2012, 09:07 AM   #1 
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My Betta has an odd hole in his side.

Hi, if anyone has seen this condition or may know what it is, please respond. It started with my Betta becoming very inactive and hovering at the bottom of his tank. I thought perhaps he had swim bladder and so I reduced his feeding to every other day. Over the next four weeks he wouldn't come up to the top of the tank to feed so I thought it was just a matter of time until he died. I continued to clean his tank every two weeks, changing his water completely and adding AquaSafe and EasyBalance as well as aquarium salt for gill function, and also replacing his water filter.

Nothing changed for another two weeks, and then out of the blue one night I thought, "Okay, I will try to feed him ONE more time as he's not eaten in about six weeks, and I'll see what happens." Well, he immediately tried swimming up to the top of his tank and I noticed he struggled horribly with trying to swim but he made it to the leaves of his fake plants, resting on them and nibbling furiously at the food. While he was swimming, however, is when I noticed the problem. There appears to be a large hole located next to his gill about half the size of his little side fin with fuzzy stuff in it. It's an actual hole in his side...his scales are completely gone in that area. There is also a large white patch behind his fin on the same side. I know it's not I've seen that before. My only guess is it is some sort of fungus, so I have treated his tank twice now with Fungus Clear, changing 1/2 of the water before the second treatment. I am not able to check the ph of his water while there is the fungus treatment in it but I keep his water very clean, and clean all his tank items thoroughly each cleaning. His tank is also heated to keep it at a constant 78F degrees so he is comfortable.

If anyone has seen this type of condition, please contact me and let me know what it is, if it's treatable, if the fungus tablets will cure it, and if not what will, or if it can be cured at all. I am desperately trying to heal him and keep him alive as I LOVE my fish!! Thanks to anyone who can help.

Also, when he eats, and I don't know if this is normal as I just noticed it, bubbles come out his gill.

Last edited by justagrrlinny; 01-30-2012 at 09:14 AM. Reason: Forgot to add something.
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Old 01-30-2012, 07:28 PM   #2 
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Location: Indiana
I'm so sorry :( I hope you get the information you need and your fishy gets better!
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Old 01-30-2012, 07:37 PM   #3 
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Location: Michigan
Oh wow.... Ok fill this out. I've never seen anything like this before.

What size is your tank?
What temperature is your tank?
Does your tank have a filter?
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?
Is your tank heated?
What tank mates does your betta fish live with?

What type of food do you feed your betta fish?
How often do you feed your betta fish?


How often do you perform a water change?
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change?
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?


Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
When did you start noticing the symptoms?
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
Does your fish have any history of being ill?
How old is your fish (approximately)?
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Old 01-30-2012, 09:36 PM   #4 
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Poor guy.. without pictures it may be hard to say exactly what it is.. my guess is either lymphocytosis or columnaris.. Most likely Columnaris with how you are describing his actions. But without pictures one can't say for certain. Columnaris is pretty deadly if not treated right away with the proper gram negative anti-biotics.
Until we know for certain with pictures I will go ahead and offer a treatment plan for you to help him out now-

Unsure the size of the tank, but move him to a QT tank, half gallon up to a couple of gallons- something manageable to do daily 100% water changes. You can also use a tupperware container taped/fastened to the inside of the tank if you have nothing else- just pre-mix the solution in a one gallon water jug to help with the water changes and measurements.

1 tsp per gallon of Aquarium Salt 3 times, 12 hours apart so that you end up with 3 times the normal concentration. Do NOT raise the temperature as fungus thrives in temps over 85*F. Lowering the temp may slow down the fungus, but won't stop it.. you still want to be in the safe range of 76-78*F.
Combine salt treatment with Maracyn I & II, combined with Jungle’s Fungus Eliminator.

Do daily 100% water changes, adding in the medications/salt in each time (after the initial salt and starting on the first water change until the last, just use 1 tsp per gallon of AQ salt, no more then that)- don't go past 10 days on the salt.. do medication treatment for the length it recommends on the packaging. That will kill off any bacteria growing on him, and the fungus.
Don't forget to add in the water conditioner.

As for other things I had noticed- go ahead and feed daily, 2-3 small meals per day is ideal over every other day. Their stomachs can and do expand after a meal, and true bloating/SBD will have other symptoms such as tilting and laying on the side, difficulty in swimming. Lethargy he was showing was him becoming ill. He will need his strength, so if you can get him to eat, then feed him daily.. 2-3 pellets per meal, twice a day, total of about 5-6 pellets per day is sufficient.

Weekly water changes is a must- depending upon size of tank, some require twice weekly.. even with a filter.

Below 5 gallons, filtered, you will want to be doing 1 50% water only change, and 1 50% water change with substrate vacuuming/siphoning.
Below 5 gallons, unfiltered, you will want to be doing 1 50% water only change, and 1 100% water change per week.
5-10 gallons, filtered, you will want to be doing 1 30-50% per week with weekly siphoning/vacuuming when doing the water change. (If live plants are in the tank then you will only want to vacuum once or twice a month.)
5-10 gallons, unfiltered, 1 50% water only per week and 1 100% per month.

You don't need to be adding in both of those conditioners- the AquaSafe is all that is needed- you can cause an imbalance in your tank with too many chemicals, and not enough water changes.

AQ salt will cause harm to him when over exposed/used.. they are freshwater fish, not meant to be in salt for any length of time outside of treatments.. and those treatment periods should not pass 2 weeks. Long term exposure to the salt can and will harm the function of the liver and kidneys, and could cause them to shut down. The salt is basically dehydrating them from the inside.. the salt is used for medicinal purposes, over exposure can also lead to lowered resistance to the beneficial properties of the salt.. so basically the bad bacteria becomes immune to it. The harm of using AQ salt on a regular basis far outweighs any benefits it may have (minute as it is) to help the gills.. bettas breathe from a labyrinth organ, use of gills is minimal and as long as weekly water changes are being made, their gills will be healthy.

As for the bubbles.. when they gulp at their food on the surface, sometimes they will take in some air. It's just their lungs pushing out air that was in them when the new air was sucked in with the food.. no harm there.
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Old 01-30-2012, 10:22 PM   #5 
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Wow, GREAT information from all of you folks and I'm so very grateful. I will follow your treatment schedule to the letter and I hope it helps him, and heals him. Thank you so very much everyone!!
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Old 03-02-2013, 02:45 PM   #6 
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My Beta has the same hole in his side only its farther down about midway between his head and tail. It started as a small white dot but not as small as an ick spot. it grew fairly quickly and his behavior began to change. He eats spiratically now which is very unlike him. It literally looks like another fish would be biting his scales from his side only he's the only one in his tank. I have nothing rough that he could rub against in the tank either. I want to paint as clear a picture of this condition as I can without an actual photo... If he had no skin and scales this is what the infected area looks like. you can see the the perimeter has lifted scales that are turning white and falling off and the center u can see veins. I feel so helpless b/c I know that he must be in pain, I can tell by the way he moves now, and there's nothing that I can do to take it away. I've been to the pet store and they are clueless to what his condition is. They gave me drops but I don't think this is what he needs. I just want to help him instead of watching him suffer on a daily basis... Is epsom salt recommended for helping infections and if so what amount do I put in a gallon cylinder aquarium with no filter? I keep him where the sunlight can warm his tank but not so much he couldn't escape it if need be. I can't seem to find anything relative to this condition and I'm just as clueless and the pet store employees at this point...
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Old 03-02-2013, 03:57 PM   #7 
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You should search the forum for an illness related to blue bettas. I don't know what color yours is but the disease sounds the same someone had a big post about in the past week.
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