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Discussion Starter #1
I have a mature Betta that has a nose growth that is increasing in size. His normal post-water change bubble farms have not appeared in two water changes. His food has recently changed and we had been putting in almond leaves but have not in one water change. I am wondering if I should medicate or perform some other treatment?

Thank you for any help you can offer!

Housing:
5 gallon tank
Filter with activated charcoal disposable cartridge and sponge
Tank is heated
Tank is stable at 79F
No type of aeration but the pump does circulate the surface
No tank mates

Food:
TetraBetta Plus (relatively recent change from Hikari I think)
Pellets
I do not think these pellets are freeze dried
My Betta is fed twice per day usually 5 pellets morning 3 night

Maintenance:
Every two weeks
50% water change
City supply water (good quality but hard, wood in tank)
Vacuum substrate to remove water
Water conditioner is Imagitarium brand

Water parameters:
Ammonia: unknown, but tank is planted with 5 live plants
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: 6.2
GH: 40
Carbonate: 20
KH: 80

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms?
4 weeks ago
How has your Betta’s appearance changed?
Growth on nose has increased in size
How has your Betta’s behavior changed?
No bubble farm. Resting on top of plant leaves more often
Is your Betta still eating?
Yes, and normally
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how?
No but am considering it now, and looking for direction on how to do so.
Does your Betta have any history of being ill?
No
How long have you owned your Betta?
14 months
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased?
No

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Hi,

I don't feel comfortable suggesting a med to you right now, but I will say that with 0 nitrates, your tank is most likely not cycled, which means there could be ammonia present. I would suggest you test for that. You can take your water to a fish store as most will test it for you.
 

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Hi,

I don't feel comfortable suggesting a med to you right now, but I will say that with 0 nitrates, your tank is most likely not cycled, which means there could be ammonia present. I would suggest you test for that. You can take your water to a fish store as most will test it for you.
Actually I'm going to disagree here. This tank has been running for more than a year, and has live plants. It most likely is cycled, and the majority of Nitrates produced are absorbed by the plants... resulting in a negligible level to test. A single betta doesn't produce all that much Ammonia, which means not that many Nitrates either.

-

That said, the lack of an Ammonia test suggests that you're using strip tests, correct? If so, please make sure that they are fairly fresh, since test strips will start to go bad once exposed to air, and can give false readings after they have expired. The usual lifespan is about one to two months after opening before the test pads are oxidized too far to use.

Also, normally I caution against replacing a filter's cartridges, but am I interpreting it correctly that you also have a sponge which stays in the filter, and isn't changed? If so then you are fine. All-in-one cartridges should not be thrown away until they are literally falling apart; however many filters nowadays are including a "bio media" sponge, or plastic rack, intended to stay inside the filter and provide a home for BB to grow. If your filter has this feature then you can replace the cartridges if you like. (Personally, I still don't replace them- rinsing it gets the gunk out, and you only need fresh carbon if you are removing medicine from the water)

If you do not have a separate "bio media" then it's possible that removing your cartridges has indeed caused your tank to not be cycled. In that case, I suggest you get a test for Ammonia and read our great thread on cycling: CYCLING: the two-sentence tutorial


As for the nose growth, it is most likely nothing to worry about. There's a slight chance that it is an abscess in which case it will "open", at which point antibiotics can be added. But I don't think that's particularly likely given the location.

Any other cause, like a cyst or tumor, will also not be treatable unless it ruptures. It also doesn't look like the result of a physical injury to me.


His behavior may be the result of the change in food- Tetra is actually not a great brand, since it contains a lot of plant ingredients that bettas have a hard time digesting. If you are willing to switch his food (again, sorry) to something better, I am happy to give suggestions.

However it may also be a coincidence, and he's simply starting to feel his age. Most bettas are around six months when sold, and you've had him for 14 months, so he's nearly two now. Bettas often live to be around three to five years old with good care, so while I don't think he's about to shuffle off just yet, he's probably going to slow down a bit.


Really, my main advice going forward is to switch your water change schedule from 50% every other week, to 25% weekly. A smaller and more frequent change will mean the water is always a little bit fresher, with less time for anything bad to build up and potentially harm or irritate your betta, as well as keeping the parameters like pH more stable.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I want to say thank you to JoshER and Rana for their thoughtful replies.

- We had been wanting an excuse to buy a proper test kit, and I worried about the accuracy of the test strips. Our new liquid based test kit showed the following:
Ph 7.6
Ammonia 0.0
Nitrate 0.0
Nitrite 0.0
  • The filter is mostly a non-removed sponge with a small charcoal cartridge that is periodically changed.
  • More frequent but smaller water changes sounds like a good idea. Our beta has always perked up after changes, so making them more frequent makes obvious sense.
  • If it is an abscess or cyst and bursts antibiotics seems like an appropriate step.
  • Interesting about the Tetra food, I had just read the label (it was ordered online) when your replies came. It was obvious to me the food was lower quality and his change in mood was closely associated with his change in food. I've received fresh food and am moving him back starting today.
Thank you for sharing your experience. I guess my only follow on question would be that the Ph from the new test kit shows a totally difference story than the test strips. I know Betta's aren't that sensitive but 7.6 seems like maybe I need to make a Ph correction?

Thanks again for the assistance.
 

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No need to adjust the pH. 7.6 is fine Betta. These fish can adjust to any pH as long as it is stable. It's the fluctuating that is dangerous and products which "adjust" it up are down cause fluctuating pH levels.

Do not let the store sell you anything to adjust.
 

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Happy to help! It sounds like you're taking great care of him so hopefully this nose bump is just a "beauty mark" as he gets into middle age. :)


And yup, 7.6 is perfectly fine for a betta. If it were 8 or higher I personally would want to add in peat or driftwood to help lower it slightly, but others have no problems at all keeping and even breeding bettas at such a high pH. Your test strips were most likely not very accurate, but you can also have a water sample tested at a pet store to double-check your new kit's readings if you want.

The pH will also usually be higher straight out of the tap or after a recent water change because the organic matter in the tank slowly uses up the buffering chemicals over a longer period, and this results in a pH drop over time. This is natural and nothing to be alarmed about, though if you have very soft water you'll want to keep an eye on the pH between water changes.

(Edit- I had the carbon dioxide mixed up: CO2 off-gassing will raise pH, not lower it, so I removed it from the above paragraph. But in an established tank the net difference over time is still for pH to decrease down.)

The reason bottled pH products aren't a good idea for most cases is because they will wear off, so once you start to add it you will have to keep dosing it on a regular schedule. Missing even a single dose will cause the pH to swing rapidly which is much more stressful than keeping the original "unsuitable" pH in the first place.
 
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