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Old 10-01-2013, 11:19 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Please help identify growth on betta

What size is your tank? 10 gallons
What temperature is your tank? 78-80 degrees
Does your tank have a filter? yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no
Is your tank heated? yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? african dwarf frog, snail, neon tetras, red cherry shrimp

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? flakes, blood worms, sometimes mysis shrimp and beefheart
How often do you feed your betta fish? once a day


How often do you perform a water change? once or twice a month
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 25-40%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Prime

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

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 40-80
pH: 7.6
Hardness: ~100GH
Alkalinity: 80 KH

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? dark growth
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? none
When did you start noticing the symptoms? one or two months ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? no
Does your fish have any history of being ill? no
How old is your fish (approximately)?1.5 years

First, I know I probably need to be doing more water changes because of the higher bioload and slightly high nitrates, I am starting now!

A month or two ago I started noticing a dark spot on the left upper side of my betta's body, under the front of the dorsal fin. At first I thought this might be a natural color change starting, but then the spot also starting bulging out. The area has continued to grow. This is only visible on the left side of his body. The area is a darker color and bulging out, like a growth or tumor inside his body. I couldn't get a picture of this but when lit well from behind, when his entire body is somewhat translucent, the entire area of the dark bulge is black and not transparent, when the rest of his body is. Here are the pictures I could get:

I have read about lots of different fish diseases and ailments, googled, and searched the forum but have no clue what this could be. His behavior hasn't changed and he is eating well. Nothing else has changed. He did tear a fin recently but it is healing well. The only thing I can imagine is this is some mysterious tumor. I was thinking maybe infection from injury, but he has been going strong for a couple months now. Should I just go ahead and quarantine him or might this be something totally benign and it would only be stressful?

I'm hoping someone more well-versed might recognize this and have recommendations for treatment, but if anyone at all has any guesses I would love to hear them!
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Old 10-01-2013, 11:28 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Red River, NM
My only guess is that it could be a tumor. I would message Sakura8 or one of the other moderators so they can help you.
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Old 10-02-2013, 12:51 AM   #3 
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Simi Valley, California
The second pic makes me think of body rot or some kind of infection, but the others look like a tumor. As you know, your nitrates are way too high. You should be doing a 25% WC weekly IMO. Hopefully now you will start keeping on top of it, I know how easy it can be to put it off, I've done it myself, but never for a whole month, a few days at most. I'm sure you've, like most of us here, put a lot of time and money into your tank and fish, so you should try to do all you can to keep their water at a safe level. :)

I hope it's not a tumor though, as that's uncurable... :(

Hopefully someone comes along who can help you more.
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Old 10-03-2013, 02:05 PM   #4 
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Thank you. Yes, I have been bad at putting it off for a little too long each time for the past half year and have finally started feeling unavoidably guilty. I've got a reminder set on my phone now to do changes once a week.

So, it sounds like tumor is the best guess so far, I'll have to look into that more.

Does anyone have any experience with tumors? How long can a betta live with one? Is there anything to slow growth?
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Old 10-03-2013, 03:52 PM   #5 
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Ok today I've noticed that the 'darkness' is spreading up into his dorsal fin slightly. I can't quite tell but I'm afraid it's deteriorating some of the base of his dorsal fin.

I was able to get a nice x-ray picture.

Any other ideas?

Has anyone heard of fin rot starting INSIDE the body and moving outward? Fin rot would make some sense with my lack of responsible water changes, but I've never heard of it presenting itself like this.

I think I'm going to go ahead and quarantine him with some clean water, warmer temps, and a little salt.

I feel like using any medication at this point would be unnecessarily hard on him since I have no clue what this is. Is there any way to know if something is definitely bacterial, viral, etc?
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:07 PM   #6 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Elk Grove, California
Hi eat6298 and welcome to the forum. Hmm. It's really interesting because pretty much all of the other growths or lumps I've seen end up being translucent under light while the body is solid. My guess then is that this may be some kind of blockage, not a tumor. That's a really, really great pic, by the way. It perfectly illustrates the blockage/lump.

Here's a pic of betta anatomy that I found:

Based on this pic and the pic above, it looks entirely possible that this is a blockage in either the intestine or a possible kidney issue. Have you noticed your betta pooing at all? He could be pretty constipated. If you quarantine him, keep the tank barebottom so you can see if he's pooing or not. I'd suggest keeping him in just clean water for the first week or until you can tell if he's going. If it's starting to look like he's not, then add 1 tsp of epsom salts per gallon to the tank. Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) are a laxative that may help him. Feeding him foods rich in fiber such as frozen daphnia and brine shrimp may help too. I think daphnia is higher in fiber but brine shrimp is a lot easier to feed. You can also feed freeze-dried if that's easier.

The only time I can see the discoloration going into his dorsal is in the x-ray pic. Does it still look like that under normal light?
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:11 PM   #7 
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Thank you Sakura!

No, the darker color doesn't go into his dorsal fin, I think I'll retract my statement about worrying it was deteriorating his fin. He has crazy amounts of finnage, probably to a fault, and it's always hard to see what's going on, if he has a tear, etc. I got him to flare for me and the dorsal seems ok. The mass does definitely have 'arms' that extend at the top on both sides, where his body meets the dorsal fin, which you can see in the last 'x-ray' photo.

I'm going to go ahead and quarantine him now and just keep the water clean and keep a close eye on things. I will give a poop update when I can!
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:50 PM   #8 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Elk Grove, California
Okay, sounds like a plan. He's a handsome guy. Good luck and keep us updated. :)
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Old 10-04-2013, 03:08 PM   #9 
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Found a poo this morning. This is pretty normal right? He does seem to be enjoying his quarantine tank at least... he built a bubble nest which he hasn't done in a couple months.

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Old 10-04-2013, 03:27 PM   #10 
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I also took a couple more pictures today... might not help much but just trying to be thorough.

The first is a view from the top so one can see exactly how much the mound protrudes. The second pic shows this area on the other side of the betta, where there's not any protrusion or color difference yet, but there is a dark line where the scales are starting to lift up somewhat.

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