Betta appears to have a hole in his side/stomach

squashedbananas206

Hello, I just registered here so I could post a question (I have found two seemingly similar cases of this but have seen differing advice so I decided to post my own).

I have a betta named Iggy (Igenous) who seemed to be on his last leg about half a month ago. I thought it was dropsy from his pineconing, refusal to eat for multiple weeks, and bloating. So I followed some basic care advice and hoped for the best. He has made a surprising recovery and now can’t eat enough. I realized a few days ago that he appears to have a hole in his stomach under his right fin (see picture). I was feeding him frozen brine shrimp and watched in horror as the brine shrimp eggs that happened to be in the tweezer-full he gobbled up came trickling out his side. He turns around and eats whatever comes out of him.

I did an 80% water change and cleaned everything in his tank as recommended by another thread. I also added a recommended dose of aquarium salt to possibly stop an infection. Since, the angry-ness of the hole has drastically gone down, but food still trickles out. I’m wondering if I should do a stronger medication (I own nearly every fish med out there because I had no idea what was wrong with him for so long). He is very energetic but has had trouble swimming for the last month, I think because of the injury. He swims a bit lopsided.

He is in a 5 gallon heated at 78 degrees, filtered, was cycled for a month before he came. I feed him HikarI micro pellets with min 43% protein (for the longest time he couldn’t eat anything bigger he would spit out his usual North Fin pellets, so we are using this and it seems to be a good size), in the mornings. And I’m the evening I rotate between frozen brine shrimp or mysis shrimp enriched with vita-chem and an occasional live fruit fly as a treat. Before he got sick he only ate pellets, everything else has been us spoiling him and to get him to eat. He is extremely skinny.

Before he got sick, his water test readings seemed fine, no large spikes. Now the water is the same with ammonia and nitrite at zero and nitrates at 5.0ppm as of today. When I was first treating him his ammonia was high because I removed his filter and was using ammonia lock to try to detoxify. His pH can be a bugger with my home’s water, but I use a instant pH 7 powder when needed.

I don’t want to put him down especially because he seems so energetic. It’s hard to tell if he is in pain.

I’m sorry that’s so much, I’m just looking for any advice here and I wanted to be thorough. Iggy is my 9th graders’ class pet and they have been asking about him ever since I took him home. I feel it’s my job to reach out for more help. Thank you in advance to the kind people of this site.
 

Attachments

  • 01C87916-1F39-431B-B37E-42227BF9F394.jpeg
    01C87916-1F39-431B-B37E-42227BF9F394.jpeg
    75.4 KB · Views: 132

aquafrogg

He definitely doesn’t look skinny to me, his stomach is nice and big and I think I see the fat deposit by his tail but I’m not quite sure (weird picture angle lol). Are you sure it isn’t coming directly out of the hole and not out of his gills? When my betta eats food that has tiny particles, some super tiny pieces come out through his gills. Usually when he eats soft pellets that soaked in water for a long time or brine shrimp. This is very odd.
 

squashedbananas206

He definitely doesn’t look skinny to me, his stomach is nice and big and I think I see the fat deposit by his tail but I’m not quite sure (weird picture angle lol). Are you sure it isn’t coming directly out of the hole and not out of his gills? When my betta eats food that has tiny particles, some super tiny pieces come out through his gills. Usually when he eats soft pellets that soaked in water for a long time or brine shrimp. This is very odd.
Thanks so much for the response. I failed to mention this was right after feeding him so his belly is nice and round. When I see him in the morning or after work he is pretty skinny. It’s so hard get a good picture of the hole because it is under his fin so unless he is pressed against the glass it’s almost impossible to see.

I’m pretty sure it’s from this hole. At first I thought it was from his gills and wasn’t concerned, but now I’ve watched pellets kind of push their way out, and when he turns a certain way you can see it’s not near his gill. Here’s a picture from a few days ago (when I thought it looked a bit worse) where a piece of food is hanging out. This happens when I feed the frozen food. The first time I saw it I thought it was a parasite, but it fell off and I scooped it out and it was definitely a shrimp.

Wish my camera was better quality it’s such a strange situation but I really appreciate you responding.
 

Attachments

  • 7FE20C88-2CE9-47E3-ABAE-222F73FEBC5C.jpeg
    7FE20C88-2CE9-47E3-ABAE-222F73FEBC5C.jpeg
    63.3 KB · Views: 98

Sien

Oh yikes...I have never seen that. It could be parasitic or a bad injury. I would stop feeding or feed super little for now. like 1 pellet every other day or every 3 days. IMO a bigger belly will make that wound stretch and open more, considering where it is placed. It looks like his stomach has popped...don't know how else to work what I am seeing. Idk what meds you could do or are comfortable doing. Maybe a parasite med and antibiotic? Not sure what others have to say med wise. Sorry I cannot be of more help, this is a unique one.
 

aquafrogg

Thanks so much for the response. I failed to mention this was right after feeding him so his belly is nice and round. When I see him in the morning or after work he is pretty skinny. It’s so hard get a good picture of the hole because it is under his fin so unless he is pressed against the glass it’s almost impossible to see.

I’m pretty sure it’s from this hole. At first I thought it was from his gills and wasn’t concerned, but now I’ve watched pellets kind of push their way out, and when he turns a certain way you can see it’s not near his gill. Here’s a picture from a few days ago (when I thought it looked a bit worse) where a piece of food is hanging out. This happens when I feed the frozen food. The first time I saw it I thought it was a parasite, but it fell off and I scooped it out and it was definitely a shrimp.

Wish my camera was better quality it’s such a strange situation but I really appreciate you responding.

Oh my gosh that is horrifying! Poor guy! I looked online and found a very similar situation (it was on another forum) but it was inconclusive. The post was from 2011. Someone on there recommended salt baths. I’ve never had this happen before so I am unsure if salt baths are needed. I’d worry about that going directly into his stomach. Make sure you keep your water extremely clean (25% water changes daily) to prevent infection and fungus because the hole is probably leeching tons of stuff from his stomach for bacteria/fungI to feed on. I’d probably just try to keep him happy and comfortable and see what happens. Because it’s connected to his innards I’m unsure of how well this will work out for him. Someone else may come along and disagree, though.
 

Sien

I agree with Sunflower regarding the salt baths. Thought about that too but with an open wound...sunflower stated exactly what I was thinking. Also agree with her on the daily water changes. Thinking of your guy
 

Dewclaw83

Well, you say you thought he had dropsy, which is a bacterial infection. When an infection occurs inside an organism, it can often eat its way to the outside.

I knew a cat who, during his neutering surgery, had a hair fall into where they were they were working and it got sealed in. A few weeks later he had holes rotting through his skin from the infection that originally started inside. He recovered I’ll ask his owners how they treated it tomorrow, we may be able to adapt it for a fish
 

squashedbananas206

Thank you so much, I really appreciate this, both of you. I’m wondering if we read the same thread, because the one I found that seemed almost identical also ended inconclusive with talks of putting the poor fellow down. I want to do what’s best for him regarding if he is in pain. I was doing water change every other day, but I will do daily now. I haven’t done a salt bath (I did a daily epsom before the hole when I thought it was dropsy) but I did add a very small amount to his tank after reading that one thread. Should I remove this with water changes? I haven’t added anymore since the major change when I was worried about what funk was in the water.

It’s so weird with just how seemingly mobile he is. I would expect him to be on his side at the bottom or on top, not trying to attack my tweezers when I feed him!

Thank you again, I’m sorry I’m so wordy I’m just new to forums and all.

Well, you say you thought he had dropsy, which is a bacterial infection. When an infection occurs inside an organism, it can often eat its way to the outside.

I knew a cat who, during his neutering surgery, had a hair fall into where they were they were working and it got sealed in. A few weeks later he had holes rotting through his skin from the infection that originally started inside. He recovered I’ll ask his owners how they treated it tomorrow, we may be able to adapt it for a fish


Oh my goodness! That’s crazy, yes please let me know. I have the Seachem medicines (kanaplex is one of them that I think I’ve seen in cases similar?) but I know that can be too aggressive so I wanted advice before doing anything.
 

Sien

Thank you so much, I really appreciate this, both of you. I’m wondering if we read the same thread, because the one I found that seemed almost identical also ended inconclusive with talks of putting the poor fellow down. I want to do what’s best for him regarding if he is in pain. I was doing water change every other day, but I will do daily now. I haven’t done a salt bath (I did a daily epsom before the hole when I thought it was dropsy) but I did add a very small amount to his tank after reading that one thread. Should I remove this with water changes? I haven’t added anymore since the major change when I was worried about what funk was in the water.

It’s so weird with just how seemingly mobile he is. I would expect him to be on his side at the bottom or on top, not trying to attack my tweezers when I feed him!

Thank you again, I’m sorry I’m so wordy I’m just new to forums and all.
Well the fact he is still active and feeding is good. Fish can hide pain very well, but they are also way more tolerant of it than us humans! Hopefully Dewclaw83 can come back with some good news. I would just stick with the daily water changes, go ahead and do one now if you have not. Will also get rid of some salt in the tank.
 

squashedbananas206

Thank you Sien I’m sorry I’m new to forums and I realized I missed your previous response. I will definitely lessen feeding. I think I may have over done it after he hadn’t eaten in over two weeks, so what you’re saying about the tummy popping makes sense to me. His pellets are the micro ones but I will do a small amount once a day, maybe less if he doesn’t look like scales and bones. I just did a water change before I posted and I will do another tomorrow after work.

Everyone has been so kind to me and patient, I can’t thank you all enough! He’s a tough guy, but he doesn’t deserve this.
 

Sien

Thank you Sien I’m sorry I’m new to forums and I realized I missed your previous response. I will definitely lessen feeding. I think I may have over done it after he hadn’t eaten in over two weeks, so what you’re saying about the tummy popping makes sense to me. His pellets are the micro ones but I will do a small amount once a day, maybe less if he doesn’t look like scales and bones. I just did a water change before I posted and I will do another tomorrow after work.

Everyone has been so kind to me and patient, I can’t thank you all enough! He’s a tough guy, but he doesn’t deserve this.
Sounds like a great plan. No need to apologize over anything ! I am glad you have had a welcoming and kind intro to this forum. We are all passionate about this hobby and here to help.
 

squashedbananas206

I definitely lucked out with the right people seeing this. Iggy, myself, and my class of anxious 9th graders thank you (don’t worry, he won’t be making the trip back to class ever, but they still get updates on him). I’ll check back again to see if anyone else has any thoughts or if Dewclaw83 was able to get more info. I’ll update any new developments. You all rock!
 

aquafrogg

I definitely lucked out with the right people seeing this. Iggy, myself, and my class of anxious 9th graders thank you (don’t worry, he won’t be making the trip back to class ever, but they still get updates on him). I’ll check back again to see if anyone else has any thoughts or if Dewclaw83 was able to get more info. I’ll update any new developments. You all rock!
Best of luck!!
 

AvalancheDave

Sounds like Aeromonas. Going to need serious antbiotics for that. I'd look for a vet.
 

aquafrogg

Sounds like Aeromonas. Going to need serious antbiotics for that. I'd look for a vet.
But I thought that was just ulcers on the top layer of skin (not sure if epidermis is the right term for fish as it is for humans) not deep inside organs?
 

AvalancheDave

But I thought that was just ulcers on the top layer of skin (not sure if epidermis is the right term for fish as it is for humans) not deep inside organs?

It's often found in the ascitic fluid of fish with dropsy. It's fairly common and can cause a variety of symptoms. Nearly all bacterial infections are Gram negative aerobes so the treatment is the same.
 

squashedbananas206

It's often found in the ascitic fluid of fish with dropsy. It's fairly common and can cause a variety of symptoms. Nearly all bacterial infections are Gram negative aerobes so the treatment is the same.

Forgive me, I was doing a bit of research, and what you’re talking about sounds very scary and also a lot like what I’m looking at.com not seeing the red ulcers, but the infection itself makes sense. The medications are definitely not the over the counter kind, so I will look into vets near me and see if any would be willing to see a fish/prescribe for a fish (and what bill I would be looking at). It looks like Thomas Labs used to manufacture Oxytetracycline which I think could be a medication for this, but they discontinued (maybe it’s a regulated thing now I’m not sure).

Thank you so much.

AvalancheDave would Amoxicillin work for Aeromonas? On the Thomas Labs website it’s listed as works against but it says some gram-negative bacteria, so I’m unsure. What about kanamycin? I have that in hand now so I figured worth the ask. Thanks in advance! It’s late here on east coast so I might not respond tonight, but I’ll check back on lunch tomorrow. I really appreciate everything!
 

AvalancheDave

AvalancheDave would Amoxicillin work for Aeromonas? On the Thomas Labs website it’s listed as works against but it says some gram-negative bacteria, so I’m unsure. What about kanamycin? I have that in hand now so I figured worth the ask. Thanks in advance! It’s late here on east coast so I might not respond tonight, but I’ll check back on lunch tomorrow. I really appreciate everything!

Fish vets:

fishvets.org | Find a Fish Vet | American Association of Fish Veterinarians

Not a complete list though. After trying that site I Google "fish vet <state>" then "exotic vet <state>" and go through each website to see if there's any mention of fish. That's tedious.

Amoxicillin and erythromycin are mainly used for Gram positive bacteria. I don't know if amoxicillin s absorbed from the water but erythromycin isn't so it's mind-boggling why people add it to their tank water.

The recommended dosage for Kanaplex is 17-34 times less than what's recommended in veterinary texts so that's probably why people don't see much success with it. Aeromonas isn't a super bug but some strains are resistant to a fair number of antibiotics. Kanamycin has a reasonable chance of working but not when underdosed 17-fold.
 

Sien

Fish vets:

Amoxicillin and erythromycin are mainly used for Gram positive bacteria. I don't know if amoxicillin s absorbed from the water but erythromycin isn't so it's mind-boggling why people add it to their tank water.

The recommended dosage for Kanaplex is 17-34 times less than what's recommended in veterinary texts so that's probably why people don't see much success with it. Aeromonas isn't a super bug but some strains are resistant to a fair number of antibiotics. Kanamycin has a reasonable chance of working but not when underdosed 17-fold.

Erythromycin is not absorbed through water? Do you have any articles on that, I’d love to read up on that because I’ve thought it was a good antibiotic.
 

squashedbananas206

AvalancheDave and Sien thank you so much for all the information, I’m learning a lot! So I did some looking around, and there is a fish vet in my area who specializes in pond fish, but has done home visits for someone with angelfish who lives nearby. I’m going to try to contact that person to ask about their experience before I will contact the vet.

I just did a 25% water change. I’m not feeding him today as he appears not too skinny. He’s quite mad, but I used to fast him once a week so I think it’s good if the feeding is putting pressure on his wound.

Just for curious sake, would kanamycin be something I should add to his food to try to help? Or would that be silly because of the dosage thing AvalancheDave mentioned? I have seachem’s focus medicine binder (it came with the other medications, but I have never used any of them). I don’t want to mess with something I don’t fully understand, just trying my options
 

Similar Aquarium Threads

Replies
3
Views
301
FishRescueStory
  • Question
Replies
24
Views
543
RamRam12
Replies
9
Views
319
Rachaeljuno
Replies
4
Views
389
Axanna
Replies
8
Views
544
bcfishtanks

Random Great Thread!

New Betta Threads

Latest Aquarium Threads

Top Bottom