Very sick Betta - Unusual Symptoms


HI All,

I'm new to the forum. Joined for the purpose of trying to find an answer to what is wrong with my male betta fish, Arnold. I've owned many bettas but never seen this problem before. Behind his front dangly fins where he should be passing poo has been swollen for about 5 days now. He stopped eating about a week and a half to two weeks ago. He is *not* floating on his side. Top fin is up. Colour good, but lethargic. There is something protruding from his anal area, but it is far too large to be poo and is a pinkish-white in colour. It looks very painfu, almost to the point of splitting the skinl. It does not look like pictures of dropsy, swim bladder problems, velvet, ich, or any other disease I can kind record of. If anyone has any experience or suggestions, please let me know. I clean his tank with only hot water. I use BettaSafe, Prevent Ich and a little aquarium salt as tonics in his water. I don't want to euthanize him unless absolutely necessary-- want to give him a chance to work this out. Thanks for your help.

Here's another shot of the problem area...


You should post him in the betta area or the disease area. You will get more help there

I don't know anything on bettas and sorry I can't be of any help
  • Moderator


moving to the betta section.


How fast did that swollen area appear? What's his diet and tank water parameters? When'd he last have a pea dinner? From the pics, there's a chance it might be a tumor or ulcer (An ulcer's my #1 guess & treatable with OTC medication for bacterial infections) or even a slight chance of constipation (doesn't look like that tho) but that's just a guess and more likely wrong than right given that i'm not an expert. The added info will hopefully lead to the correct cause (and treatment) for his current problem.


Hello, welcome to the group. It looks like you have a very sick fish. I'm not sure what that is. I've not seen anything like it, but I've only had my bettas for a few months so hopefully someone with some more experience pop in and help ya. In the mean time, I'll give you my advice. I tend to agree that it may be an ulcer. If I were you, I'd get some maracyn and maracyn 2 and treat with both... because it would cover a wide range of problems, and I'm not sure that it would be good to take too long for diagnostics at this point. I don't know how long you want to wait, but keep in mind that i'm new to this.

LZ Floyd

Welcome to the forum cjoy66 and Arnold.  Sorry to hear Arnold is not feeling well.

If the area I'm looking at is what you are speaking of, it does not seem to be constipation.  Though I wouldn't rule constipation out as a problem as Arnold's stomach area does seem to have a bit of a bulge.  As for the problem you noted, I don't have an answer, but there is a lot of fish disease information at .  And, the page that caught my attention relative to what I was able to see in your photos of.

One thing that I noticed was the length of Arnold's pelvic fins (the front dangly ones).  They seem abnormally short and I was wondering if they had always appeared that way.

Once again, sorry to hear Arnold is ill, and we wish him well.  Please keep us updated.



HI welcome to both of you. I'm trying to study your pics. It's very hard to tell what it is. It could be an ulcer. If it is an ulcer you need to stop putting salt in his aquarium, which you should do anyway. Salt is meant ot be used as a medication and only if absolutely necessary. Bettas are not salt water fish, they freshwater fish and the salt could actually do more harm then good.

It also looks like it could be a tumor.What are his water parameter's? Where do you have temp set at? Bettas like there water temps to be around 80-82 degrees. Is he the only fish you have in the tank? Depending on the the temp you have the water at you might want to increase his temp to 85 since he is ill. The increased temp will help. Just increase it a degree an hour until you reach 85. Do you the kind of heater that you can make adjustements to like that? You might white to get maracyn and maracyn 2. They treat both gram negative and gram postive diseases, so if you use both together we might be able to tackle it. I'm sorry I can't seem to tell you exactly what the problem is. I hope he get's well soon. Natalie


It looks like a tumor, either benign or malignant or it could be a cyst. If it's a malignant tumor there is nothing you can do. Cysts sometimes go away on their own. It could be internal parasites too. Does it look like a worm hanging out of him? Have you been feeding him green pea treats at least once a week and being careful not to overfeed. Constipation can cause bloating and pressure on internal organs and eventually bacterial disease. I would begin treating with a combination of Maracyn and Maracyn-Two (two different antibiotics covering gram positive and gram negative bacteria.) They can be used together. It may help bring his appetite back. You should feed small portions of green pea ,frozen not canned and microwaved or defrosted with skin removed. Cut VERY small pieces and get him to eat 3 small pieces twice a day for a few days. Then back to his regular food but go easy on the portions.
He needs to go on the antibiotics immediately. Even waiting a day could mean the difference between life and death.
Also, could you tell us what size his tank is, if it is cycled and does it have a filter and heater? What are his water parameters (ammonia, nitrites, nitrates)? He NEEDS to have warm water to heal and stay healthy. Bettas need water about 80-82F. If he is constipated at all colder water will only make it worse. Bettas kept in water 80F - 82F will never get ich.
If he is kept in a bowl it will be very difficult to medicate or help him. Bettas need tanks at least 3+ gallons and preferably 5 gallons or more that are cycled and filtered/heated. Pet stores will have everyone believe that Bettas are fine in bowls but it is not true.
Please keep us updated and we are here to help in anyway we can.

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