White patch on betta's head, help :(

PuddleBee

I am a first time fish owner and am admittedly a bit over-anxious about taking care of my betta fish (his name is boba and i love him). I noticed a few days ago that he has a white patch on top of his head and I can't for the life of me remember if it's growing or not, and I don't have photos to check. It wasn't there 2 weeks ago but it's for sure been there for a few days. I attached some photos down below for reference.

I admit I probably didn't get the best tank for him at first- it's a 3 gallon tank with a filter and a small heater but I'm a poor college student so none of the supplies are top notch. I'm working on reading up way more on bettas and getting better supplies for him- I just got a new fluval spec tank for him (5 gallons, integrated filter, great reviews) with a new heater and thermometer, filter sponge (since the reviews said the tank's filter is on the strong side for bettas), and whatnot. I've been changing 50% of the water in the tank every week, and conditioning the water beforehand every time. I'm also in the process of ordering some water test strips (really should have gotten those when I got the fish but I didn't know enough about the hobby to know to get one). :(

What I'm really wondering now is how to treat this and what it is. I don't believe it's columnaris but it's for sure something I'm a bit anxious about since I know it's deadly a lot of the time and I don't want to lose my fish. :( Somewhere else on this forum I saw a fish with an abrasion on its head, which I'm also considering. He's been a very active fish ever since I got him and is still quite active and feeding readily (swims to the top of the tank when I approach it since he knows I'm going to feed him, the greedy lad). I'm obviously not an expert on betta behavior but I don't believe he's lethargic or breathing rapidly, and I haven't noticed anything else that concerns me.

I'm going to put him into his new tank tomorrow, will be ordering some aquarium salts, antibiotics (just in case), and water test strips. Thank goodness for same-day delivery ;-; I would love any and all advice on what this might be and how to fix it as I love Boba dearly <3
 

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BigManAquatics

Can't tell if it is fuzzy or not, could be possible fungus other than columnaris. Also looks like it could be a scrape of sorts, which aquarium salt should help.

Good on you for the test strips. Yeah, someone going to come point out "you should get a liquid test kit", but the truth of the matter is often times, accuracy as far as actual numbers isn't near as important as knowing the presence of what your testing for and testing with test strips is better than not testing at all! (Not a gear snob or shamer, here)
 

Magnolia35

It does look like a wound to me— is there anything in your tank he might’ve gotten stuck in or hurt himself on like sharp objects or rough surfaces? I found when my betta managed to hurt himself I just did consistent water changes every day or two until he healed up (though his injury was less severe), so I reckon if you do that and whatever other more experienced betta keepers suggest he’ll probably be just fine. Best of luck to you and little Boba, hope he gets better soon :)
 

ANudibranch

Hello PuddleBee! So to me this looks like fish fungus. It is a fungal disease that originates from previous infections. The affected betta usually has cotton-like growths, white fuzz films, slime (mucus-like discharge), or white lumps and bumps on the skin. It can be prevented by avoiding primary infections and injuries and keeping the aquarium clean, i.e., changing and conditioning the water regularly. Antibiotics such as Methylene Blue and Fungus Clear can cure fish fungus. It can also be treated effectively by the Bettafix Remedy mentioned below.

The sickness can become fatal if it is not treated early enough.

Also do you condition your water before putting it in the tank? Or use conditioner at all? If not I recommend Seachem Prime.

Good Luck!
I also did just see Magnolia35 post and I could also agree with this. either way it should be an easily resolvable problem.
 

PuddleBee

Can't tell if it is fuzzy or not, could be possible fungus other than columnaris. Also looks like it could be a scrape of sorts, which aquarium salt should help.

Good on you for the test strips. Yeah, someone going to come point out "you should get a liquid test kit", but the truth of the matter is often times, accuracy as far as actual numbers isn't near as important as knowing the presence of what your testing for and testing with test strips is better than not testing at all! (Not a gear snob or shamer, here)
I don't think it's fuzzy- at least not visibly. I am hoping it is just a scrape, but there's so much info about this kind of thing that I'm getting overwhelmed ;-;

I'll be using the aquarium salt as well as some generic bettafix (in case it is just a scrape) to see if that helps at all, and possibly some antibiotic as well. It'll probably be good to have some on hand just in case even if it does turn out to be something else. Thank you for the insight! I'm going to try to save up a bit for a liquid test kit but if you think the strips will work for now I may just stick with those for the time being.
 

BigManAquatics

I don't think it's fuzzy- at least not visibly. I am hoping it is just a scrape, but there's so much info about this kind of thing that I'm getting overwhelmed ;-;

I'll be using the aquarium salt as well as some generic bettafix (in case it is just a scrape) to see if that helps at all, and possibly some antibiotic as well. It'll probably be good to have some on hand just in case even if it does turn out to be something else. Thank you for the insight! I'm going to try to save up a bit for a liquid test kit but if you think the strips will work for now I may just stick with those for the time being.
I have both, but i usually turn to strips first because time is a luxury i don't often have! The salt and frequent water changes should be fine if it is just a scrape. Thats what i would do for a week or two before adding anything else if no change or it gets worse.
 

PuddleBee

It does look like a wound to me— is there anything in your tank he might’ve gotten stuck in or hurt himself on like sharp objects or rough surfaces? I found when my betta managed to hurt himself I just did consistent water changes every day or two until he healed up (though his injury was less severe), so I reckon if you do that and whatever other more experienced betta keepers suggest he’ll probably be just fine. Best of luck to you and little Boba, hope he gets better soon :)
I have some silk plants in the tank and a couple of decor pieces that he may have swum under or into. I'm hoping some more open space in the new tank will help prevent it, and I may look into a leaf hammock in case it's somewhere he's resting that's causing it. In the meantime I'll probably be using some aquarium salt and generic bettafix, and possibly some antibiotics in the event that it is an infection. Since I'm moving him to a new tank tomorrow I hope that'll help with water conditions and I'm going to be vigilant about water changes. Thank you for the reply, I'm learning a lot from everyone!
 

BigManAquatics

I have some silk plants in the tank and a couple of decor pieces that he may have swum under or into. I'm hoping some more open space in the new tank will help prevent it, and I may look into a leaf hammock in case it's somewhere he's resting that's causing it. In the meantime I'll probably be using some aquarium salt and generic bettafix, and possibly some antibiotics in the event that it is an infection. Since I'm moving him to a new tank tomorrow I hope that'll help with water conditions and I'm going to be vigilant about water changes. Thank you for the reply, I'm learning a lot from everyone!
Yeah, bettas will often wedge themselves into and under places they shouldn't be. Curious critters they are! Often like cats that way...and definitely get scraped up in the process sometimes.
 

PuddleBee

Hello PuddleBee! So to me this looks like fish fungus. It is a fungal disease that originates from previous infections. The affected betta usually has cotton-like growths, white fuzz films, slime (mucus-like discharge), or white lumps and bumps on the skin. It can be prevented by avoiding primary infections and injuries and keeping the aquarium clean, i.e., changing and conditioning the water regularly. Antibiotics such as Methylene Blue and Fungus Clear can cure fish fungus. It can also be treated effectively by the Bettafix Remedy mentioned below.

The sickness can become fatal if it is not treated early enough.

Also do you condition your water before putting it in the tank? Or use conditioner at all? If not I recommend Seachem Prime.

Good Luck!
I also did just see Magnolia35 post and I could also agree with this. either way it should be an easily resolvable problem.
I do condition the water, yes! I do 50% water changes once a week and condition the water every time.

If it is a fungus, do you suggest I use the antibiotics ASAP or try just aquarium salts and frequent water changes to see if that helps? I'm not sure if using antibiotics on a fish without an infection is harmful for it. I have generic bettafix and did use that in his current tank today but will likely be having to start that in the new tank tomorrow as well. Thank you for the response <33
 

BigManAquatics

There are some anti-fungal meds out there that should work if it is indeed a fungus.

One thought on test strips: can save money by cutting the strips in half length-wise. Doubles your supply!
 

PuddleBee

There are some anti-fungal meds out there that should work if it is indeed a fungus.

One thought on test strips: can save money by cutting the strips in half length-wise. Doubles your supply!
What do you suggest for meds? I can get pimafix and/or melafix and aquarium salts delivered within 24 hours but I don't have a car so I will likely have to order anything else online. I've not read up a lot on pimafix or melafix, so I'm unsure what to use. Is it worth it to get something like pimafix and use it quickly rather than wait and get something like methylene blue/other highly rated antibiotics? Since it's not clear whether it's a fungus or not I'd appreciate any thoughts on what product to get especially since I can only get certain products quickly :]
 

BigManAquatics

What do you suggest for meds? I can get pimafix and/or melafix and aquarium salts delivered within 24 hours but I don't have a car so I will likely have to order anything else online. I've not read up a lot on pimafix or melafix, so I'm unsure what to use. Is it worth it to get something like pimafix and use it quickly rather than wait and get something like methylene blue/other highly rated antibiotics? Since it's not clear whether it's a fungus or not I'd appreciate any thoughts on what product to get especially since I can only get certain products quickly :]
I know ich-x also is a anti-fungal med, but using it can stain your tank a little bit, but is nice to have around as well in case of ich, too. I haven't used the -fixes myself. I am assuming you have a petco or petsmart or something similar for the same day delivery?
 

PuddleBee

I know ich-x also is a anti-fungal med, but using it can stain your tank a little bit, but is nice to have around as well in case of ich, too. I haven't used the -fixes myself. I am assuming you have a petco or petsmart or something similar for the same day delivery?
yep, I do. Currently they only carry the -fixes; did a bit more reading on those and I'm not too thrilled with what I found so I think I will hold off for now. Ordered aquarium salts and the water test kit for same day delivery and got a few more highly rated anti-fungal medications from Amazon that should show up around Friday. I'll keep going with the bettafix I have and introduce the aquarium salts tomorrow, so that should be a start. Will keep my eye on him and use the anti-fungals if it hasn't cleared up at all when they arrive. Thanks again for all your help <3
 

ValkyrieLips

I would stay away from bettafix and antibiotics because they can be incredibly stressful for the fish and should only be used as an absolute last resort. They do much more damage then good when used for minor problems.

Imo the best thing you can do to help him heal is keep is water pristine and try the salt. I usually start off slow with a low concentration around 2 TBSP for the whole 5 gallon. I also recommend increasing your WCs to 50% every 2 days and make sure to dissolve the salt in your WC water first. Each 50% WC you'll then just have to add another tbsp of salt to keep up the concentration. Treatment should not exceed 2 weeks, but it usually takes much less time then that.

edit: I also wanted to mention that any decor that he could have gotten stuck in/under should be removed. More space won't stop him from trying to squeeze into places he shouldn't. I learned of their affinity for small spaces the hard way with my betta.
 

camposagrado48

Picture's are a bit blurry but it seems that he is just changing color. Usually as a betta ages they will remove or add color in their patterns. I would suggest a better quality picture.
 

PuddleBee

I would stay away from bettafix and antibiotics because they can be incredibly stressful for the fish and should only be used as an absolute last resort. They do much more damage then good when used for minor problems.

Imo the best thing you can do to help him heal is keep is water pristine and try the salt. I usually start off slow with a low concentration around 2 TBSP for the whole 5 gallon. I also recommend increasing your WCs to 50% every 2 days and make sure to dissolve the salt in your WC water first. Each 50% WC you'll then just have to add another tbsp of salt to keep up the concentration. Treatment should not exceed 2 weeks, but it usually takes much less time then that.

edit: I also wanted to mention that any decor that he could have gotten stuck in/under should be removed. More space won't stop him from trying to squeeze into places he shouldn't. I learned of their affinity for small spaces the hard way with my betta.
Yeah, he is quite the curious fish!! My main concern was actually the space in between a decor piece and the tank wall; I did notice him trying to squeeze through there instead of just swimming under or over that spot, so when I set up the new tank I made sure that that particular piece had space for him to swim all around it. I'm trying to minimize any corners he might squeeze into as he is quite active.

I started the aquarium salts yesterday- I did start with just a tablespoon since that's what the packaging recommended for 5 gallons but I may add a bit more the next time I do a water change. I conditioned the water but did NOT add any bettafix to it before I introduced Boba to the tank. He's as active as ever and has been exploring the tank pretty regularly so I'm hoping that's a good sign!!

Thank you for the recommendations! <3
 

ValkyrieLips

Yeah, he is quite the curious fish!! My main concern was actually the space in between a decor piece and the tank wall; I did notice him trying to squeeze through there instead of just swimming under or over that spot, so when I set up the new tank I made sure that that particular piece had space for him to swim all around it. I'm trying to minimize any corners he might squeeze into as he is quite active.

I started the aquarium salts yesterday- I did start with just a tablespoon since that's what the packaging recommended for 5 gallons but I may add a bit more the next time I do a water change. I conditioned the water but did NOT add any bettafix to it before I introduced Boba to the tank. He's as active as ever and has been exploring the tank pretty regularly so I'm hoping that's a good sign!!

Thank you for the recommendations! <3

Ahh I totally understand. I have also had to betta proof my tank and make sure there are no spaces my betta could get stuck in. He's also very curious and even scraped a few scales off when I first got him.

That's a very good sign. I would still wait a couple of days to see how quickly the wound improves before increasing the concentration. The most I've had to use was for a fungal infection and it was only 2 TBSP per 5 gallons. It shouldn't take too long to heal after the salt treats the infection.

No problem! :)
 

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