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Help with sick Betta

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My Betta is showing signs of being sick. He is extremely lethargic, not eating, stays very close to the surface against the intake area of the tank and just today I noticed what looks like some tiny pin hole size lesions near his nose. Please see photos attached. His tank is a3 gallon Fluval Spec (filtered but with an extremely low flow), it's heated and a recent water test appears too be within good to acceptable range. For two days I've been treating him with "Microbe-lift Artemiss natural expellent for bacterial diseases" (I've removed the activated carbon and zeolite since adding the medication to his water). I'm assuming as of today that maybe it's Hole in the Head Disease, but I am not completely certain. PLEASE can anyone suggest better treatment or advise on another course of treatment?


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550 Posts
All bettas have those little pores near their mouths, although I'm not entirely sure what purpose they serve. If you look at close up pictures of bettas' faces, you'll see that all of them have them.

You'll need to provide more information for anyone to give advice:

What are the exact water parameters?

Is the tank cycled? How long has it been cycled?

What temperature is the water?

What do you feed and how often?

How long have you had him?

2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm using the Tetra Easy Strips to test the water, so bare with me...
Nitrate: 0 (safe)
Nitrite: 0 (safe)
Hardness (GH): 15 (hard)
Chlorine: 0 (safe)
Alkalinity (KH): 120 (ideal)
PH: 7.2 (neutral)

Yes, the tank is cycled. I've had the fish for about 4 months.

I have the heater set at 80 degrees.

I feed him Wardley brand Betta food (tiny pellets). I usually feed him 4 pellets in the moorning 2 at night, and since he's my office fish he does not get fed on Sundays.

He has one aquatic plant in the tank with a few small moss balls and one snail.

I do partial water changes weekly.

Thank you for any help you can offer.

Premium Member
5,705 Posts
The fact that you dont show any nitrates ( indicating, in the majority of cases, that you are not cycled) , nor have the test strip that can test for ammonia is concerning.

Being that this is an office tank, has there been any chances of not doing water changes as often as one should?
The reason I say this is because it appears to be a classic case of ammonia or nitrite poisoning.

First, I would do a water change unless have done one today.
Add a teaspoon of salt per 5 gallons of aquarium water ( just in case to help with osmoregulation)
Get a liquid water testing kit so can test for ammonia.

200 Posts
Any idea how old he was when you got him? A Betta approaching 2 years old could easily be prone to hold in the head disease. The holes don't look uniform enough to be normal--is the second pic with the black dot a bubble or a hole?

By all means, definitely do what you can to improve the water with the salt and cleaning as suggested and just watch him.

I've never found a reliable cure for hole in the head disease and I hope it isn't his problem.
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