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3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi everyone,

We have a young male betta we purchased from PetSmart on Feb 18, 2020. He had a dark blue spot on the top right side of his head near his gills when we got him, but we thought nothing of it other than a 'character mark'. Here's a picture of him when we received him:

The spot has now gotten noticeably larger and actually started to bulge out like a tumor:


We're concerned for his health and none of the 'typical' betta diseases seem to fit what he has. He's acting normal still, with plenty of energy and consistent eating habits. Any insight or treatment recommendations would be much appreciated!

I've filled out the following form:

How many gallons is your tank? 3.5 gal (Top Fin Delight)
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes - 20W
What temperature is your tank? Currently 79°F (26°C)

Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? No

What food brand do you use? NutraFin Bug Bites - Betta Formula
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Pellets (Dry granules)
Freeze-dried? No
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? As much as he can eat in 2 mins twice a day (most days)

your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? Once every 1.5 - 2 weeks, with weekly monitoring using API 5 in 1 Test Strips
What percentage of water did you change? 20%
What is the source of your water? Brita-filtered tap water
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Vacuum & Dip
What additives do you use? What brand of conditioner? API Water Conditioner, pH Up to bring pH to 7

Water Parameters:
What are your water parameters? Please give exact numbers. If tested by pet store please get exact numbers. "Fine" or "Safe" won't help us help you. Important: Test your water before the regular water change; not after one.

Nitrite: Near zero
Nitrate: Near zero
pH: 7.0 ~ 7.5
Hardness (GH): Unknown
Alkalinity (KH): Unknown

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? First noticed spot when purchased - noticed increase in spot size and bulge in mid-April 2020
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? Dark spot has increased in size and began to bulge out like a tumor
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? Unchanged. Still active, curious, good appetite.
Is your Betta still eating? Yes
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? No
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? No
How long have you owned your Betta? Since Feb 18, 2020
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? Yes - the head spot existed at time of purchase but was smaller and there was no bulging.

21,426 Posts
There's really not much you can do about tumors. Sometimes they go away but sometimes they don't.

What you can do is make sure he has the cleanest environment possible. This means, in a 3.5 gallon a 50% water change and vacuum every week. If Ammonia and Nitrites register and are .25 ppm and up, a tank needs an immediate 25% water change and vacuum.

If the substrate is gravel, stick the vacuum deep in the gravel and vacuum until the water runs clear.

You can add Indian Almond Leaves or plain, decaffeinated Rooibos Tea. You can either float or make a strong "tea" with either one. Both have mild antibacterial properties. Which would be good if the tumor should burst.

3 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the response Russell!

Here’s an update a month later:
We’ve increased our water change and vacuum frequency to weekly. The original dark spot/bulge has now gone mostly white in colour and continues to slowly cover more and more of the Betta’s skin. However, it appears to be less bulbous/tumor-like than it was before. Is there any chance this could be a treatable skin disease/infection? Or rather more likely to be untreatable skin cancer? Here are some current pictures:


3 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I would defer to Rainbo on this. She has experience with such things and all I could do is repeat what I find on the Internet.

Rainbo is off for a day or so but I will alert her to your thread.
Thanks Russell - do you know if Rainbo has been able to review this thread yet?

I'm in love with his colors, he is gorgeous!
Thanks - certainly caught our eye when we were picking him out! :)
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