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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My betta has had these two white spots (strangely, almost symmetrical) on his head for at least 5 days, likely more. The one on his left side seems to be embedded, while the one on his right side is sticking into the water a bit.

He is eating fine but is sticking to the top of the tank a lot, near the water surface while resting on some hornwort that is floating in the tank. He is likely getting additional stress from medication and very frequent water changes, though.

I took advantage of his eating and treated with Seachem Kanaplex (medicated food and in the water column) for epistylis. I just did the third dose today but he hasn't shown signs of improvement from the previous two, in fact the left side has grown a bit since starting while the right side has remained the same.

Due to the limited number of spots and the way they look, it doesn't seem like ich. However, after a couple of hours of trying to find something similar online, epistylis and ich are the only things that seem to come close visually...

Any ideas on what this might be other than epistylis and ich? Or is my ID right and Kanaplex is just not doing the job?

Thanks for any advice.





 

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Good job on the pictures. I'm inclined to believe that it's not ich. Why do you think it's epistylis?

My personal best guess is that it's some sort of tumor growth, or some sort of encysting parasite that's invulnerable to treatment while encysted.

How long have the white spots been there? Do they change shape (increase/decrease in size) ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Good job on the pictures. I'm inclined to believe that it's not ich. Why do you think it's epistylis?

My personal best guess is that it's some sort of tumor growth, or some sort of encysting parasite that's invulnerable to treatment while encysted.

How long have the white spots been there? Do they change shape (increase/decrease in size) ?
Thank you for your reply.

I considered epistylis because of the white spots reaching out into the water column rather than being flat to the fish like with ich. However since the spots are not spreading I am assuming it is neither of these now.

I have been aware of the spots for 6 days. My first treatment attempt consisted of an increased temperature, salt (1 tablespoon per 3 gallons), and Kanaplex. I have finished the Kanaplex treatment with little to no results (both medicated food and the water column). Originally I was treating in his aquarium, but since the treatments may have been stressful on the shrimp that also inhabit the tank, I moved him to a 5G bucket with a heater, sponge filter, and some excess plants.

A couple of folks on Reddit suggested that it might be fungal, so I lowered the temperature to his regular temperature and am continuing with the salt and also now an Ich-X treatment (methylene blue) as an anti-fungal and anti-parasite. I'm a bit nervous to try anything stronger before I know what I'm actually treating.

I can't really tell whether the condition is improving or staying the same. It kind of seems like the white spots have gotten smaller, or at least the one that was dangling out into the water column. The "pit" on his left side has grown larger over time though, at least from the beginning and maybe not after treatment started. It doesn't match hole-in-the-head disease. I don't know if it's just coincidence that the spots are practically symmetrical on his head. That seems weird to me.

No signs of appetite change - he eats like a champ still.
 

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So it's definitely not HITH. That's usually preceded by lateral line or some other form of erosion, which your betta's not displaying any of. I agree that it's most likely not ich or epistylis given how long they've been there.

I think that any further diagnoses would require you to take the fish to a vet. My thinking is that it's still 1) a tumor (benign or malignant, most likely benign based off of growth), or 2) an abscess of some kind. I'm leaning more towards it being a tumor, since it seems like somewhat of a relative occurrence. How old is the fish?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So it's definitely not HITH. That's usually preceded by lateral line or some other form of erosion, which your betta's not displaying any of. I agree that it's most likely not ich or epistylis given how long they've been there.

I think that any further diagnoses would require you to take the fish to a vet. My thinking is that it's still 1) a tumor (benign or malignant, most likely benign based off of growth), or 2) an abscess of some kind. I'm leaning more towards it being a tumor, since it seems like somewhat of a relative occurrence. How old is the fish?
I think I've had him for a little under a year. So he's probably closing in on two years or so since he was an adult when I purchased him.

Do you recommend I continue my current treatment? If it's most likely a tumor or abscess, would it be better to return him to his tank and continue monitoring the condition to see if it changes at all without medications being present? It's probably been a rough week for him given the salt, medications, and varying temperatures.
 

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I think that if it's a tumor or abscess, that medications aren't going to be super helpful. ~2 years is around the lifespan of a betta if I remember correctly.

I don't think your current treatment plan would be effective on a tumor or abscess. Therefore, it would probably be less stressful on the fish to return him to his tank and continue monitoring the condition. Feed high quality foods, and if the dots change, then take the fish to a vet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Alright, he's back home in his tank now and I'll continue to monitor him each day and see if the spots change at all. I usually feed him frozen bloodworms, frozen brine shrimp, live baby brine shrimp, or the occasional dry food if I'm short on time in the morning.
 

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I'm thinking it's fungal. Looks like it's around his eyes too. He's been through a lot. Maybe don't treat him anymore. The treatment can be as bad as the disease. Treat him like a king instead. Let him have his favorite foods. Set the temperature to comfortable. When the time comes and he looks like he is suffering, dose the tank with clove oil. So sad. I have a soft spot in my heart for Bettas.
 

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Please do not dose your tank with clove oil when it's time to put the fish down. Put the fish in a bucket and dose that with clove oil instead.
 

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Please do not dose your tank with clove oil when it's time to put the fish down. Put the fish in a bucket and dose that with clove oil instead.
Would the clove oil kill the plants? Probably. I have always used a bucket. But I feel terrible watching the fish pass in such a sterile environment away from the security of it's home tank. Maybe just the initial 4 to 6 drops per gallon to put it to sleep then remove it.
 

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OP has shrimp. And I don't recall any studies on how clove oil affects a tank later on when you're dosing it. Maybe the active ingredient persists in the water for a long time, or binds to substrate and is released over time. And that doesn't even factor in if plants or organisms in the tank could uptake the ingredient, therefore requiring OP to dose more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Just thought I would update this thread after about a month has passed.

I stopped all medications and returned him to his original tank after doing multiple water changes to remove most of the initial salt treatment I had done on the tank. As mentioned, I continued to feed him good quality foods to capitalize on his good appetite and returned the temperature back to what he was used to...

...and now the spots are now very small or completely gone, and he's back to his normal activeness. He's swimming around more and still eating like a champ. The plants are also recovering well from some yellowing due to the salt. The shrimp seemed to be unaffected throughout the whole ordeal.

I'm not really sure what the diagnosis was or whether the treatment I did was actually helpful in his recovery, but I gained some knowledge about different medications and potential diseases, so I think this had a pretty great outcome.

Thank you for the help along the way, everyone.
 
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