I've noticed a white patch on my betta's nose. It's easy to see because he's a dark blue. He kinda wedges himself near the heater to sleep, so I thought maybe he'd scraped his nose. I keep the water clean and warm, so I figured it would go away. It hasn't. It's gotten worse.
He'd been normal and eating, but today when I checked on him, he was lying at the bottom of the tank on his side. I thought he was dead but when I moved the decorations, he zoomed up to the top. I tried putting a pellet in the tank to see if he would eat, but he wouldn't. I immediately cupped him (as he's in a divided tank with other boys) and when I did, I got a good look at his nose. I've included a pic.
Should I continue to keep him cupped and see if removing him from the place he wedges himself will help? Also, should I use salt to treat? I don't want to put him back in the tank if there's any chance he has some sickness that the other boys could catch.
Hi Melodica. What a handsome boy. There are a couple of possibilities here. One is that he burned himself on the heater, creating an infected ulcer. Although bettas usually don't burn themselves on heaters quite as often as other types of fish (especially scaleless ones like loaches), it's definitely not unheard of. Another possibility is that he did indeed scrape his nose and it's become mildly infected. Third possibility is a burst lymphocystis cyst. If you have not noticed any white lumps on his nose before this one burst, then it's probably not lymphocystis though.
I would keep him isolated at least for a few days just to make sure it's not contagious (lymphocystis, for example, is a contagious but usually nonfatal virus that cannot be treated). Adding 1 tsp of AQ salt per gallon will help with healing and preventing further infection. If you have API Stress Coat and/or Kordon Fish Protector, add those as well.
One reason he may not eat is because he can't. It may be painful to eat or he may not be able to see and/or smell his food with his nose all bunked up like that. If his behavior is more or less normal otherwise, then I wouldn't worry too much about him not eating just yet.
Thanks so much for responding. I really appreciate the help!
He wedges himself up near the heater and the filter outflow, which has a soda bottle baffle on it. When I first saw the white on his nose, I thought he'd scraped it on the baffle since he sleeps there. The only thing I noticed before was the white spot in that same place on his nose. One day it was fine, the next it was white. It's been there for a week, maybe two. I kept the water extra clean to try to help it and added more Stress Coat, but, as you can see, it hasn't improved.
I've been keeping him in the cup floating in the tank for the past couple of days and changing the water daily (with water from the tank - temp constant at 82). I don't have a QT tank that I can heat reliably and the way he was laying on the bottom when I found him worried me, so I figured he would be better off in something small where he could easily get to the top for air. Should I mix salt with a gallon of water (and maybe some of the IAL that I have) and change his water with that instead of the water from the big tank?
There are changes in his behavior. He's very lethargic and doesn't dart like they usually do when I touch their fins. He also doesn't come to the side of the cup and look at me like usual. As I mentioned, he isn't eating either, though you may be right about the pain. I put a pellet in and he grabbed at it quickly, but then spit it right back out.
Nobody else in the tank has any sores or physical issues and they are all eating and acting normally, so that's a relief, but I want to get him better too. After I do, he's going in a different area away from that baffle and heater! I just feel so bad for him. I know that nose has to hurt and he looks so pitiful.
Hi Melodica, sorry I couldn't reply right away - spent the morning at the vet clinic. :p
Google lymphocystis and see if any of the images match the lump you saw on his nose before it burst.
If it's easiest for you to mix up the water and IAL (yes, if you have IAL use it ^_^) in a gallon jug, then definitely do that. It's what I usually have to do, as I tend to float my sick bettas in Gladware containers.
I'm hoping that his lethargic behavior has more to do with his nose being painful or inhibiting sight, not with him being sick. :/ I would still try salt treatment for at a week before seeing if the wound requires an antibiotic; if it does need a medication, I would recommend API Furan-2 or API Triple Sulfa (don't use sulfa meds if you're allergic to sulfa drugs though).
Hey Sakura! I understand. I just thank you for helping me!
I looked up lymphocystis and I'm honestly not sure if his nose looked like that or not. I didn't get a good, close look at it before getting him in the cup. I know that it was all of a sudden white one day, so if it was some sort of bump it got big overnight. I don't think the area has gotten larger since I first saw it.
Is there any way of knowing that's what it is? I just don't want to put him back in with my other boys (even if he heals up) if he's got something that's possibly contagious.
He's still moving around, but he looks very depressed and when he opens his little mouth to gulp air it looks so painful. I'm going to do the salt and IAL treatment and hope that at least helps him feel better.
I got another picture tonight. I just can't tell if the wound looks better or worse. What do you think?
Also, I dropped a pellet in his water and he tried three times to get it in his mouth, then gave up. So he apparently wants to eat. I just can't think of any way to get food in him without him having to open his mouth. I feel so awful. Like I should or could have done something to prevent this. :(
I can't feed him at all now. His top "lip" is completely gone! It's like it's rotting off. There's also some greyish wispy stuff coming out of the area. I was reading and the thing that kept coming up with those symptoms is columnaris. Do you think that's what it might be?
If the lump is getting worse, then it's most likely no longer lymphocystis; if it was, it's gotten a nasty secondary bacterial infection. Columnaris is a definite possibility. You probably want to start treatment since it's progressing further. I recommend API Furan-2 or API Triple Sulfa but don't use sulfa drugs if you are allergic to them.
Again, if you've got Stress Coat and/or Kordon Fish Protector, use that as well to protect and soothe the wound as much as possible.
For feeding, you might try target feeding thawed frozen baby brine shrimp with an eyedropper; the tiny size may make it easier for him to eat. However, baby brine shrimp can quickly foul the water and it's easy to overfeed so you may want to try to feed him just before you have to do a water change.