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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello betta fish community! This is my first time posting. I am hoping to get help with my poor friend, whom I call The King, who has been sick for over a month.

My explanation is long, but please hear me out! My betta has had quite the treatment journey, so I figured it would be helpful to share some background. I love this fish dearly and I really want him to get better, but I don't know if I can justify (or even afford...) spending the quoted $250 to have a local aquatic vet to treat him!

About 1.5 months ago, I noticed a lump on my fishie's side. After some research, I declared it constipation and treated him using the standard recommendations for this. I was overfeeding him and his tank was too cold, so it seemed like a pretty solid diagnoses. After 1 week, though, I noticed a little white "worm" coming from where he poops (photo attached) and rediagnosed him with an internal parasite. I had gotten him a nerite snail about 4 days before the bump was noticed and 11 days before this "worm." Additionally, twice before I had heard his gravel "rustle" and looked up from my desk to see him near the bottom of the tank swimming normally, which makes me think he was darting. I started treating him for an internal parasite 1 day after spotting the worm.

I mixed frozen bloodworms with Seachem Metroplex and fed him 5-6 bloodworms twice a day (I now know that this is far too much, but at the time I was just eager to get him medicated) for 4 days. The man at the local aquarium store I bought the Metroplex at said he should start pooping parasites in 2-3 days, so when I wasn't seeing improvement for after 4 I took my fish to the local petco for a second opinion from their aquatic specialist.

Based on my fishie's lump and the attached photo of the original worm, the specialist diagnosed him with hookworm and told my his chances are slim. He sold me Kordon Copper-Aid, which I used on my fish for 1 week. Upon further investigation, though, I determined this diagnosis was inaccurate so stopped that treatment. The original worm was not hooked in my fish like a barb, and came out quickly, easily, and on its own. There were no other worms present and no wounds.

After 48 hours of no treatment (so the copper would leave his system, as directed by an employee at a different, larger aquarium store) I started treating him with PraziPro. Every 48-72 hours (usually 48, because his lump is so big and I've been very concerned about him) I would give him a 100% water change with a fresh dose of PraziPro. After one week of this, I started giving him the Metroplex/food treatment in addition to the PraziPro.

A few days after starting the Metrpoplex, I started noticing white strings in his poop. He was pooping a lot, and maybe half (or more) of his poop were these white strings. A picture of these is attached. They were like off-white slightly translucent strings, approximately the same diameter as his poop.

I was excited because I though these things where parasites. I continued his treatment as before, but after maybe 5 days I noticed very few of the strings in his poop. I continued the treatment for another week, but eventually stopped because it seems as though my diagnoses has been incorrect. Doing 100% water changes and feeding him only medicated bloodworms seemed seems stressful, and I didn't want him to have to undergo this without reason.

His lump has been slowly and consistently increasing in size. It is lopsided, and more like a cyst or tumor shape as opposed to bloating like in dropsy. It was originally more lopsided (maybe 65% one side, 35% other) but lately it has grown to be more even. On the slightly larger side, his skin is stretched to the point where there are gaps between his scales. Because it is concentrated to the bulges, I think the slight pine coning is just due to the bulges pushing out his scales.

Additionally, his breathing has been concerning. His "breaths" have been heavier and often faster than I think they should be.

His behavior has been mostly normal. He still eats and responds to me opening the top of his tank. He has a hard time swimming due to the size of his bulge (it seems to weigh him down) but otherwise swims fine, so I don't think there's a problem involving his swim bladder.

Summary of treatment:
1 week constipation treatment
4 days Metroplex
1 week Copper-Aid
2 days nothing
1 week PraziPro
2.5 weeks PraziPro and Metroplex
4 days nothing

Here's my current info:
How many gallons is your tank? 1 gallon
Does it have a filter? not currently (activated carbon, so removed for treatment)
Does it have a heater? Yes
What temperature is your tank? 78-82
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Yes, but only for a few days
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? Had a nerite snail for a few days before lump noticed

What food brand do you use? Omega One Betta Buffet
Do you feed flakes or pellets? flakes
Freeze-dried? Not currently. Used to feed him freeze-dried bloodworms sometimes as a treat
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? Twice a day, 2 medium-size flakes/feeding

Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? Not enough! Maybe twice per month, but he had a filter
What percentage of water did you change? About 50%
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Dip out water
What additives do you use? Conditioner

Water Parameters:
What are your water parameters? Unknown (sorry!)

Hardness (GH):
Alkalinity (KH):

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? About 1.5 months ago
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? Lump has increased in size
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? Doesn't swim much because his lump weighs him down, but he's otherwise normal
Is your Betta still eating? Yes
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? Yes, see above
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? No
How long have you owned your Betta? Was he or she a rescue? 1 year, 7 months. No, he is from Petsmart


563 Posts
Very strange. Is he pineconing? (Scales sticking out)
I'm not very good at this but I think it could be a tumor which I've heard you can't do anything about.

3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your response, bettagerl! It's possible that it's a tumor. An aquatic vet I've talked to suggested it could be a cyst. Do you happen to have any experience with cysts?

563 Posts
I couldn't find much information. But from what I did find, cysts will either go away on their own or get worse. And there isn't much you can do :(
I think Epsom or aquarium salt will help though. I don't know the dosage but it could help probably.
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