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Old 02-12-2012, 07:41 PM   #1 
XiaoYu
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Betta with indent or sunken in nose portion; possible hole in head?

My fish has this strange dent or hole above his upper lip about less than half a milimeter wide, but lengthwise goes across his face (parallel to the lip) for the length of his lip.

Any help or ideas is greatly appreciated!

Housing
What size is your tank? 2.5 gal
What temperature is your tank? between 70-74 (our house makes it hard to keep an even temp; my fish has been living in a changing temp all his life, so he's as used to this as possible)
Does your tank have a filter? yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no
Is your tank heated? with an exterior lamp
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? none

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Hikari betta bio gold pellets, typically 2 in the morning and 2 in the evening. Occasional freeze dried bloodworm (now that he will eat them) and biweekly frozen pea bits, weekly frozen brine shrimp.
How often do you feed your betta fish? twice a day, since it's a small amount

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? 3 or 4 times a week, 10% ish each time so that in the course of a week it's 30-40%
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? see above
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? since i use bottled distilled water, with some spring water mixed in to get the pH to stay around 7, i do not use additives.
(my well water is like liquid rock/super high pH, so i can't use it)

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
I tested them last week.

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: between 10 and 20, the colors on that chart are so close that 20 and 40 look identical to me.
pH: right now is 6.9
Hardness: i don't know since i don't have this kit
Alkalinity: ditto

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? He's had a bump on his nostril for over a month. He had the same problem last year, and I managed to treat that successfully. I thought it would run the same course this time but it didn't.
I looked at him today and there is a noticeable dent in his face between his lips and his eyes!
I also noticed yesterday he either injured his bottom fin or he's got some fin rot there... which is weird.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He's been hiding a lot lately, and he's been jumpy/jittery. He's not eaten today. He would be interested in food, bite at it, but not get it, and then back off. This is not his typical aggressive self. I fed him some pea just a few minutes ago, but he barfed it back out. I'll try again in a little bit. (he's hiding in his castle right now. :\ )

In fact, he hates pictures, but he held still while I photographed him today. He's never held still like this before. (my camera is red... and you know how male bettas love/hate red)

When did you start noticing the symptoms? The bump was ongoing, so I wasn't concerned, but the hole/dent I just noticed today. As for the fin injury, I'm not concerned since I know he does it to himself and he typically heals up just fine - but I thought I'd mention it in case it may be relevant.

Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? When the bump resurfaced I put a little salt (by a little, i mean less than 1/4 tsp in the 2.5 gal tank) in and also about 2 drops of Stress Coat plus.
I know, some people hate salt, some people hate Stress Coat.
Typically I run my tank without either in the water unless I see he's hurt a fin, then I add a few grains of the salt to help ward off fungus as the rips heal.
He's never exhibited problems with salt or stress coat in the past.

Does your fish have any history of being ill? I hope I've documented this well enough above. Last year he had a bump on his nose, it went away, went to the other nostril, then went away. I decided, with the help of this forum, it was probably lymphocystis. Frequent water changes, and a little salt really helped him.
I'm worried because this dent in his face is new, and I don't know what it is or how to treat it.

How old is your fish (approximately)? About 2 years old.

Maybe I should also mention there is a slimey film on top of the water. It goes away when I change the water, but it doesn't take long for the slime to come back (about a day or 2). It cakes on the edge of the sponge. It's white on the sponge/hanging out on the sides of the filter.
I remove as much as I can when I do a water change.

Here are some pictures.

As you can see, it's not a smooth line from the top of his head to his lip. It used to be smooth.


Here, you can see the slime on the top of the water. His eye to the left of the picture, down from it there's a white spot and then across there's another white spot.. That gash/dent thing there that's a white and darker red is what I'm talking about. That's not his mouth--that's the dent in question.


Here's another side shot where you can see the dip in his face. (please excuse spots. heh. i don't wipe the outside of the tank all the time. it's the inside that counts, right?)


This last one I edited with yellow arrows to point at the dent. That whole strip there is indented or sunken in. :(


(took these pictures before doing the water change today. it's clear ontop now)
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Old 02-12-2012, 08:27 PM   #2 
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oh, that's really strange. =( i don't have any advice for you, i just wanted to mention that my guy's water does the exact same thing. sort of a clear film that turns white when broken apart. weird!
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Old 02-12-2012, 08:58 PM   #3 
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Orphansparrow - Thanks that is helpful and relieving to know at least.
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:12 PM   #4 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XiaoYu View Post

Housing
What size is your tank? 2.5 gal
What temperature is your tank? between 70-74 (our house makes it hard to keep an even temp; my fish has been living in a changing temp all his life, so he's as used to this as possible)
Fish do not get used to fluctuations.. each time the temp fluctuates too quickly up and down it is putting the fish at risk for shock and death. A betta is a tropical fish, and requires a stable temp of around 78-80; 70-74 is real cold in their world.. a few degrees makes a difference in their overall health and life span. Kept in cold waters will lower their immunity, cause a slower metabolism and lethargy and could reduce their life as they will be more susceptible to problems.
Is your tank heated? with an exterior lamp
Heat lamps will fluctuate the temp too much to be safe. Regular desk lamps of 60w and lower actually don't heat the water.. in case you are using one of them.

Even if he has been living like this his whole life, doesn't mean it hasn't/won't affect him.. fish can live in unfavorable conditions for a while, but it will catch up to them at some point. Always best to make sure to appropriately care for them throughout their lives to give them a chance at a full, healthy life.

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Hikari betta bio gold pellets, typically 2 in the morning and 2 in the evening. Occasional freeze dried bloodworm (now that he will eat them) and biweekly frozen pea bits, weekly frozen brine shrimp.
No need to feed peas, and recommended not to feed them on a regular basis.. even bi-weekly. Due to the short GI tract of bettas and absorption, and the fact they are poor nutrition for the bettas (they are insectivores), it is not recommended to use at all.. some do for constipation, but it's a one time shot, not a regular thing, and not a good ideal.

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? 3 or 4 times a week, 10% ish each time so that in the course of a week it's 30-40%
For a tank that size, with filter it's best to do 2 50% water changes per week- one water only, one substrate vacuuming. Doing only less then 40% per week with no substrate vacuuming the water is not getting cleaned enough, and the waste is being built up in the substrate- the filter doesn't remove waste, just hides it. Have to do regular vacuuming to keep the water safe for them.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? since i use bottled distilled water, with some spring water mixed in to get the pH to stay around 7, i do not use additives.
(my well water is like liquid rock/super high pH, so i can't use it)
Bottled/Spring water is not ideal to use with fish as it lacks the necessary minerals the fish need. Tap/well water is more healthy for the fish.. more necessary.. a betta will adjust to a high pH, but it shouldn't not get the minerals it needs to stay healthy.
The pH uppers and downers will cause more harm and shock then leaving it alone- very much recommended to use your tap/well water with water conditioner over anything else.


Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? He's had a bump on his nostril for over a month. He had the same problem last year, and I managed to treat that successfully. I thought it would run the same course this time but it didn't.
It may be an abscess of sorts- AQ salt shouldn't be tossed in- always ideal to use the correct dosage, for a specific amount of time (over exposure will lead to kidney/liver problems such as failures). He may of hurt himself on a hard piece of decoration or rock in the tank, causing damage as well..
I looked at him today and there is a noticeable dent in his face between his lips and his eyes!
Doesn't look as if there is a dent, but there is a slight bump between his eyes, causing it to look as if there is a dent.
If it's not an open wound, nor red with irritation, nor does he have any scales missing from that section, I would have to say he has healed on his own.
I also noticed yesterday he either injured his bottom fin or he's got some fin rot there... which is weird.
Can't tell from the pictures- is the fin just missing sections, or are the edges black and crusty?
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He's been hiding a lot lately, and he's been jumpy/jittery. He's not eaten today. He would be interested in food, bite at it, but not get it, and then back off. This is not his typical aggressive self. I fed him some pea just a few minutes ago, but he barfed it back out. I'll try again in a little bit. (he's hiding in his castle right now. :\ )
Don't try the pea.. that is basically the treatment for a constipated goldfish :) peas will offer him nothing, no nutrition and no good will come of it. The food- fish have ups and downs when eating, sometimes they will eat, sometimes not so much.. he may not be eating if he isn't feeling too well, offer him a pellet twice a day until he resumes eating.

In fact, he hates pictures, but he held still while I photographed him today. He's never held still like this before. (my camera is red... and you know how male bettas love/hate red) Never heard that before hehe

When did you start noticing the symptoms? The bump was ongoing, so I wasn't concerned, but the hole/dent I just noticed today. As for the fin injury, I'm not concerned since I know he does it to himself and he typically heals up just fine - but I thought I'd mention it in case it may be relevant.
I believe the dent is a trickery of the eye from the bump on his head. It doesn't look as if he is missing any tissue.

Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? When the bump resurfaced I put a little salt (by a little, i mean less than 1/4 tsp in the 2.5 gal tank) in and also about 2 drops of Stress Coat plus.
I know, some people hate salt, some people hate Stress Coat.
I would do a 50% water change today and one tomorrow to try to remove the salt- the salt will in the long run do more damage then good.. salt is good for rot, ich, etc.. not bumps on the head. I recommend AQ salt regularly when it is called for when a fish has an external issue, I'm not hating on it, just in opinion to use only when needed. Stress Coat is widely popular and good to have around the house, a lot of people use it as their water conditioner.
Typically I run my tank without either in the water unless I see he's hurt a fin, then I add a few grains of the salt to help ward off fungus as the rips heal.
He's never exhibited problems with salt or stress coat in the past.
I wouldn't worry about doing that in the future unless he has rot, ich or fungus.. as with the limited water changes you are doing, you are not removing the salt when it is needed to be removed. A 10-14 day period is max on how long a betta should be in the salt- over exposure will lead to harm, and for the bacteria/fungus to become resistant to it. A split fin will normally fuse on it's own in a day or two, Stress Coat will help fin regrowth, correct water changes will keep the rot at bay.

Does your fish have any history of being ill? I hope I've documented this well enough above. Last year he had a bump on his nose, it went away, went to the other nostril, then went away. I decided, with the help of this forum, it was probably lymphocystis. Frequent water changes, and a little salt really helped him.
Lymp you will see it grow, as well as it will "pop".. if that was the case for him, then that may be what you are seeing.. even though I believe the eye is deceiving, I am looking at pictures, and not him in person- he may have a slight indentation that could of been left from the last lump he had.
I'm worried because this dent in his face is new, and I don't know what it is or how to treat it.
Unless you see it as an open sore, missing scales then I wouldn't worry too much over it- from the pictures it looks as if it's normal on him, in a sense- it doesn't look like damage.

How old is your fish (approximately)? About 2 years old.

Maybe I should also mention there is a slimey film on top of the water. It goes away when I change the water, but it doesn't take long for the slime to come back (about a day or 2). It cakes on the edge of the sponge. It's white on the sponge/hanging out on the sides of the filter.
I remove as much as I can when I do a water change.
That is protein, very common in tanks.. you can leave it there or use a paper towel to gently remove it. It won't harm him.. I get it on my girl's tank all the time.
I don't mean to sound rude, but wanted to point out a few possible changes to help keep your guy healthy as he gets into old age.. I wish I could be more help with the dent, but other then just keeping his water clean, I don't think there really is anything one can do until he starts exhibiting other signs of illness, or the bump gets bigger. As for him hiding more- he may be stressing out, which would also be why he isn't eating. The water may be too cold, or needs to be changed. I would do a 50% water change today and tomorrow to help remove the salt (if he wasn't acclimated properly, it could have an affect on him.. the older they are, the less they tolerate), and hopefully the water changes will be enough to bring him back up in spirits- you'll be surprised what a decent water change will do. Siphon each week to make sure the waste is picked up to avoid ammonia from spiking.

Good luck and keep us updated.

Last edited by Myates; 02-12-2012 at 09:14 PM.
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:24 PM   #5 
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Just because I said a lot and doubtful it will allow me to post more.. let me give you a bit of something to help you out, as I know how it feels when worry strikes..

Lumps, and bumps are almost impossible to diagnose. It may be a tumor, or maybe even a boil. If it is a boil, it will come to a head, and disappear...

If you feel hopeless and want to try something- remove him from his tank and the AQ salt, and place him in QT with 1 tsp of fragrance/dye free Epsom Salt per gallon- as with all salt treatment, 100% daily water changes will be needed, replacing with new Epsom Salt each time- it may help with any swelling he has, go ahead and keep him in there for 3-5 days with the Epsom (and daily 100% water changes) if you decide to go this route.. while he is in the Epsom salt, you can do the water changes on his home tank to clear out the AQ salt.
If the lump on the head does not go away, it may be a tumor- and if that is the case there is nothing you can do, just keep up on the water changes to keep him healthy.

Unfortunately, lumps and bumps can be any number of things when it comes to a fish..
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:53 PM   #6 
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Mmm, I understand.

The fluctuation is gradual. I don't let it bob up and down wildly. It goes around 70 at night right now, and as the day heats up the water will slowly go up to 74, sometimes 76.
He actually prefers it around 74-76... In the summer at 80, he really just gets mellow. (our house sucks for regulated temps) I'd use a heater---but the tank is acrylic and only 2.5gallons. Can you put a heater in an acrylic tank?

The lamp does heat it. I've noticed the difference with it on versus off. I'd use the aquarium light, but the light makes the tank like a mirror box... Talk about stress.

As for food...
I usually even forget about changing up the food. He might get a tiny bit of pea once a month. Just recently he was acting a little bloated (swimming a little funny) so I gave him pea. He seemed fine with it. Got better.
Only fed him pea this time since he couldn't or wouldn't eat the pellets.
I guess it's a brine shrimp day tomorrow if he won't eat hard food.
I do understand that bettas are carnivores. But I've read vitamins are good for them once in a while. Pea does contain small amounts of vitamin A. (and yeah, pea is great for constipation)

50% twice a week? For serious? I've read quite a few guides and most recommended 30-40% a week.
I guess I can try.

I do vacuum my gravel every time I do a water change. I just didn't think to add it to the list. And I scrape the algae too, if you really care to know.

My well water pH, sitting still, is an 8.0. With a filter running (which adds oxygen, an alkaline) who knows how high the pH would run... probably close to a 9. The water is full of calcium and lime.
I can't chance it. I'd rather add additives. Are there any good brands?

I also read a ton on pH. I'm not stupid enough to use pH up or down.
If I do ever end up using something, it will be a small piece of 'for aquariums' driftwood. (and i'll test its potency first, trust me, i read all about pH change shock... ugh.)

--
An abscess is possible.
I don't simply toss in salt. I look at my chart and determine, mathematically how much salt could be in there (based on percents changed in a week, and the amount added the last time any was added). When I dose, I do tend to underdose - in hopes that a little less would do the trick and be less offensive to him.
Typically there is no AQ salt in his environment. I weaned him off it since the last major bump issue.

You could be very right that it's a bump between his eyes and not a dent.
That was my first thought looking at it.
Since he's a red fish, it's hard to tell what is redder or more inflamed.
I wouldn't say it's healed - since this is a new condition.

Can't tell from the pictures- is the fin just missing sections, or are the edges black and crusty?
Which fin? His anal fins have some black edges, and the one lost a piece and it never grew back (so one's longer than the other).
His pectoral fins have black edging.
All of his other fins don't have black, but the new rot or damage I referred to is on the bottom fin toward the front. It looks like he damaged it, probably swimming into his castle.

My Charlie is usually one active little booger. He's not afraid of much, and his first reaction is flare and attack. He hates it when I wear red or blue - he's more likely to come at (and attack) the side of the tank when I stand there in those colors.
If I put my red camera near the tank, usually he flares and swims like a maniac trying to scare it away.

Anyway.
I can try changing the water more at a time, and I can try to keep it a little warmer.

Thank you for taking the time to write that all out.
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Old 02-13-2012, 12:25 PM   #7 
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This morning he wasn't interested in food at all. He didn't even try to eat a pellet.
All he would do is lay still as death in the bottom. I could see his gills moving a tiny bit.

Now at noon I tried once more to get him to eat. When he 'woke up' from one of those sleepy states, he swam up, attacked the food, like one head long rush and did a quick turn, slamming part of himself against the side. It was like he was trying to steal his food and make a quick get away.
He went and laid on his side in the bottom behind the plant with the pellet half hanging out of his mouth. He's showing almost no movement, in that betta coma. I can see his gills moving.

I feel guilty. I shouldn't have given him a pellet. I should have defrosted some brine shrimp.

The diving at food on the surface is a new behavior. He's only been doing it this last week. Scares me.

...it's a random thought but maybe he developed this head bump in one of his crazy food attacks?

Last edited by XiaoYu; 02-13-2012 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 02-13-2012, 04:14 PM   #8 
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i want to mention about the heater, i have one that i use in my 2.5 gallon glass tank, but i also used it before in my 2 gallon acrylic tank i had a couple months ago. i keep a sticky thermometer on the outside, and it keeps the temp. from fluctuating. i got mine from walmart for about 6 bucks. it's not the best, but at least it keeps the temp. more even throughout the day and night. :)
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Old 02-14-2012, 04:48 PM   #9 
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Thanks! That's very helpful!
I wasn't sure if I could even use a heater in an acrylic tank, but if you did so can I. In the 2 gallon, what wattage did you use?
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Old 02-14-2012, 04:52 PM   #10 
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Small update - Charlie seems a little better today.

I've been vigilant to keep the temp at 76. And I'm trying the 50% twice a week, as recommended.

He ate about 4 brine shrimp and was actually more interested in food. And he's not coma-sleeping as much.

As for the bump.... it kind of looks like a double bump - one in each nostril with a big swollen spot in the middle. I noticed the right nostril had some white stuff coming out of it. (pus? fungus?)
Since the treatments for bumps/scrapes and hole in head are similar (barring the antibiotic route) I'm going to follow that regimen and see where we go.

Thanks for all your help, Myates and orphansparrow!
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