White Spot on Betta Caudal Fin

Emilykt13

This is my 2 year old male Betta fish, Bud. I’ve had no health issues with him previously, but he recently developed a large white spot on his caudal fin rays. I’m concerned this is a fungus or tumor. He’s become more lethargic, but is still responsive and eats. He lives in a 10 gallon tank with a heater and filter, and no tank mates. Anyone have any idea what this issue could be, and if so possible treatment? Posted this in Betta forum and someone recommended I post here as well.
 

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grac3

Looks like a tumor? I could be wrong, but if I'm not, then there's nothing you can do
 

Emilykt13

Thank you for replying! So far, tumor has been everyone’s guess. I appreciate the feedback
 

Rose of Sharon

If it's not a tumor, it may be a cyst. You may want to keep an eye on it to see if it bursts. If so, you may want to add some aquarium salt to the tank to aid in healing. Just follow the instructions on the package, but don't use the aquarium salt for more than 2 weeks. This will help to prevent infection. You could also try Stress Guard by Seachem. It acts like a fish bandage.
 

grac3

Don't add salt to the tank! Do salt baths instead
 

Emilykt13

If it's not a tumor, it may be a cyst. You may want to keep an eye on it to see if it bursts. If so, you may want to add some aquarium salt to the tank to aid in healing. Just follow the instructions on the package, but don't use the aquarium salt for more than 2 weeks. This will help to prevent infection. You could also try Stress Guard by Seachem. It acts like a fish bandage.
Do you recommend using sea Chem directly in the tank, or in a separate bath as needed? He is the only one in his tank so no other fish to consider here. Thank you so much!!
Don't add salt to the tank! Do salt baths instead
How long do your recommend doing a salt bath for, if necessary? Is that something I should do daily, or less frequently?
 

grac3

I think you can use seachem directly. For aquarium salt it should be 10-15 minutes and you can do it daily or every other day, depending on his condition. You do not need to do any baths right now, as the tumor/cyst is still intact. Just keep him as comfortable as possible and it doesn't hurt to add an almond leaf or two.
 

Rose of Sharon

You can add aquarium salt directly to the tank as long as you follow instructions. The other option is to do a bath. The only reason why you would not want to add aquarium salt to the tank would be if you have invertebrates. Doing fish baths can sometimes be stressful on the fish.

The Stress Guard can also be added directly to the tank.

The decision is really up to you. Whatever you feel more comfortable with is the way that I would go.
 

Emilykt13

Is aquarium salt okay to use with live plants? I have a planted tank with just a few artificial structures in it as well. Thank you!!
 

Rose of Sharon

Is aquarium salt okay to use with live plants? I have a planted tank with just a few artificial structures in it as well. Thank you!!
I would only recommend using aquarium salt if the cyst/tumor bursts.

Some plants do ok with aquarium salt, and others don't. If you are worried, then you can do a bath. I have live plants (anubias, pothos ivy and java moss), and have used aquarium salt, and the plants have not been affected. I guess if you have sensitive plants, then a bath would be best. Dissolve the aquarium salt into some tank water, and then add it that way. If you go with the bath, take out some tank water and dissolve the aquarium salt first, and then add the fish. The key with the bath is that the temp needs to match the temp of his tank. If it's too cold, that might cause a problem.

If you add the salt directly to the tank, then remember that you shouldn't use it for longer than 2 weeks.

I would also recommend that you do some samll frequent water changes to keep the tank water pristine in the meantime. I would do maybe 20% every other day for a while. That should be pretty easy to do and not take a lot of time. Clean water is the very best medicine.

I do hope this helps, and I hope that he does get better!
 

Emilykt13

I would only recommend using aquarium salt if the cyst/tumor bursts.

Some plants do ok with aquarium salt, and others don't. If you are worried, then you can do a bath. I have live plants (anubias, pothos ivy and java moss), and have used aquarium salt, and the plants have not been affected. I guess if you have sensitive plants, then a bath would be best. Dissolve the aquarium salt into some tank water, and then add it that way. If you go with the bath, take out some tank water and dissolve the aquarium salt first, and then add the fish. The key with the bath is that the temp needs to match the temp of his tank. If it's too cold, that might cause a problem.

If you add the salt directly to the tank, then remember that you shouldn't use it for longer than 2 weeks.

I would also recommend that you do some samll frequent water changes to keep the tank water pristine in the meantime. I would do maybe 20% every other day for a while. That should be pretty easy to do and not take a lot of time. Clean water is the very best medicine.

I do hope this helps, and I hope that he does get better!
This was SUPER helpful, I will be doing water changes as you recommended, as others told me I was changing the tank water too often (I had been doing daily 50%, I’m sure causing him more stress) . If it does burst, I’ll likely follow your advice for salt baths as well. I’ve also gotten Stress Guard by SeaChem and will be using that as directed to hopefully aid in healing. Thank you so much for all your advice!!
 

Emilykt13

This is my 2 year old male Betta fish, Bud. I’ve had no health issues with him previously, but he recently developed a large white spot on his caudal fin rays. I’m concerned this is a fungus or tumor. He’s become more lethargic, but is still responsive and eats. He lives in a 10 gallon tank with a heater and filter, and no tank mates. Anyone have any idea what this issue could be, and if so possible treatment? Posted this in Betta forum and someone recommended I post here as well.
Since making this post, I’ve not seen an improvement in his energy and actually have seen him what looks like struggling to stay buoyant. He sits at the bottom of the tank and when he tries to swim up, it looks like he has to put a large amount of effort to not sink. I figured this is a swim bladder issue, but not sure what it could mean.
 

Rose of Sharon

Is he bloated at all? Can you post an updated pic? Has the cyst/tumor grown?

What is your water temp? Water parameters ok?

Also, is there a way that you can lower the water level a bit so that he doesn't have as far to swim to get to the top? Or are there places that he can lay at the top of the tank?

Just need a bit more info.

One last thought- if you have had him for 2 years, and you bought him when he was at least 6 months old or older (many are already 1 year old when they are sold), then he is or is almost 3. Unfortunately, that makes him a senior citizen in betta years. Most have a life span of 3 years. They can live to be older, but the majority don't live much longer unless they are bought from a very reputable experienced breeder with parents that have superior immune systems. Most pet store-bought bettas don't tend to live 4 or 5 years, especially with the overbreeding of bettas. They are very genetically weak due to that overbreeding.
 

Emilykt13

Is he bloated at all? Can you post an updated pic? Has the cyst/tumor grown?

What is your water temp? Water parameters ok?

Also, is there a way that you can lower the water level a bit so that he doesn't have as far to swim to get to the top? Or are there places that he can lay at the top of the tank?

Just need a bit more info.

One last thought- if you have had him for 2 years, and you bought him when he was at least 6 months old or older (many are already 1 year old when they are sold), then he is or is almost 3. Unfortunately, that makes him a senior citizen in betta years. Most have a life span of 3 years. They can live to be older, but the majority don't live much longer unless they are bought from a very reputable experienced breeder with parents that have superior immune systems. Most pet store-bought bettas don't tend to live 4 or 5 years, especially with the overbreeding of bettas. They are very genetically weak due to that overbreeding.
Thank you for your reply, he is going on 3 now, I got him a year and a half ago and he was likely already 1 at the time, so he is an old boy. His water temperature is set at 80 degrees F, and he does have lots of space to rest up top such as betta hammock leaves. I have my 10 gallon filled to the top, but could easily take some water out if that’s the best option.

As for the cyst/tumor, I haven’t seen any change. It has not burst or gotten smaller or bigger. he doesn’t not appear more bloated. The only change I have noticed is his energy and buoyancy seem to be less. In these pics he is at the bottom of his tank wedged behind his heater. Sorry you can’t see him well, he doesn’t move as much anymore and is often just sitting this way wedged somewhere. I’ll try to get better pics when he moves and I’m able to better see him. If he is ever at the top of his tank, he’s either sinking as he tries to swim, or has to rest on a leaf to stay up.

I really appreciate all your help with this!
Is he bloated at all? Can you post an updated pic? Has the cyst/tumor grown?

What is your water temp? Water parameters ok?

Also, is there a way that you can lower the water level a bit so that he doesn't have as far to swim to get to the top? Or are there places that he can lay at the top of the tank?

Just need a bit more info.

One last thought- if you have had him for 2 years, and you bought him when he was at least 6 months old or older (many are already 1 year old when they are sold), then he is or is almost 3. Unfortunately, that makes him a senior citizen in betta years. Most have a life span of 3 years. They can live to be older, but the majority don't live much longer unless they are bought from a very reputable experienced breeder with parents that have superior immune systems. Most pet store-bought bettas don't tend to live 4 or 5 years, especially with the overbreeding of bettas. They are very genetically weak due to that overbreeding.
Thank you for your reply, he is going on 3 now, I got him a year and a half ago and he was likely already 1 at the time. His water temperature is set at 80 degrees F, and he does have lots of space to rest up top such as betta hammock leaves. I have my 19 gall on filled to the top, but could easily take some water out if that’s the best option.
As for the cyst/tumor, I haven’t seen any change. It has not burst or gotten smaller or bigger. The only change I have noticed is his energy and buoyancy seem to be less.
Thank you for your reply, he is going on 3 now, I got him a year and a half ago and he was likely already 1 at the time, so he is an old boy. His water temperature is set at 80 degrees F, and he does have lots of space to rest up top such as betta hammock leaves. I have my 10 gallon filled to the top, but could easily take some water out if that’s the best option.

As for the cyst/tumor, I haven’t seen any change. It has not burst or gotten smaller or bigger. he doesn’t not appear more bloated. The only change I have noticed is his energy and buoyancy seem to be less. In these pics he is at the bottom of his tank wedged behind his heater. Sorry you can’t see him well, he doesn’t move as much anymore and is often just sitting this way wedged somewhere. I’ll try to get better pics when he moves and I’m able to better see him. If he is ever at the top of his tank, he’s either sinking as he tries to swim, or has to rest on a leaf to stay up.

I really appreciate all your help with this!
Here’s a better picture and video. This is how he spends most of his time sitting this way at the bottom.
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846DAC5A-DD87-427E-AA4F-17A481B7EB96.jpeg
 

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Rose of Sharon

Poor little baby!!!! I am so sorry that you and he are going through this!

My first inclination is that this is being caused by his age. HIs poor little body may be breaking down. It might help a little if you lower the water level so he doesn't have to exert so much energy to get to the top.

If he can't rise to the top easily, that is indicative of a swim bladder issue (not constipation or fluid build up). It is hard for him to regulate his swim bladder, adding or expelling air as he needs to. If there is an internal infection, then usually you will begin to see a bulge and/or fluid retention.

If he is struggling to breathe, you could add a little aquarium salt to the tank to help with that. If he is not struggling to breathe, then you won't necessarily need to add any aquarium salt.

I personally would not try to treat him with any kind of med or antibiotic unless you are pretty sure that it is an infection. Antibiotics will kill off the beneficial bacteria in your tank and can be stressful for the fish. It's not good to use antibiotics unless you are pretty sure about what is happening.

If he wants to eat, then feed him. Keep him warm, and maybe do those very small water changes to keep his water pristine.

I hope he bounces back from this, but when they get to the point that they are not really moving, and when they start to refuse to eat, it is usually a sign that they are at the end of life. :(
 

Emilykt13

Poor little baby!!!! I am so sorry that you and he are going through this!

My first inclination is that this is being caused by his age. HIs poor little body may be breaking down. It might help a little if you lower the water level so he doesn't have to exert so much energy to get to the top.

If he can't rise to the top easily, that is indicative of a swim bladder issue (not constipation or fluid build up). It is hard for him to regulate his swim bladder, adding or expelling air as he needs to. If there is an internal infection, then usually you will begin to see a bulge and/or fluid retention.

If he is struggling to breathe, you could add a little aquarium salt to the tank to help with that. If he is not struggling to breathe, then you won't necessarily need to add any aquarium salt.

I personally would not try to treat him with any kind of med or antibiotic unless you are pretty sure that it is an infection. Antibiotics will kill off the beneficial bacteria in your tank and can be stressful for the fish. It's not good to use antibiotics unless you are pretty sure about what is happening.

If he wants to eat, then feed him. Keep him warm, and maybe do those very small water changes to keep his water pristine.

I hope he bounces back from this, but when they get to the point that they are not really moving, and when they start to refuse to eat, it is usually a sign that they are at the end of life. :(
Thank you for your reply! The one thing giving me hope is that he wakes right up and swims up every time he gets fed. He’s still eating and is very food motivated. That’s just the only time I see him active anymore. I’ve been using StressGuard by SeaChem for a few days now (I’ve been doing every other day as opposed to the daily instructions). I do about 20% water changes every other day and test the water when doing so. No apparent issues regarding water tests. Thank you for advising to remove some water too, I think this is a good idea for a way to make life a little easier on him when feeding. I don’t notice him struggling to breath, but honestly I’m not certain what to look for regarding this.

I’m sure it’s an old age issue, I just want to keep him as comfortable as I can for as long as is possible. Everyone’s help has been amazing in doing so
 

Rose of Sharon

You would know if he was struggling to breathe. You would see his gills opening and closing very quickly, and his mouth would be doing the same.

Sending good thoughts your way!!! :)
 

Emilykt13

You would know if he was struggling to breathe. You would see his gills opening and closing very quickly, and his mouth would be doing the same.

Sending good thoughts your way!!! :)
Okay, I don’t see this happening. Thank you so much for clarifying! You’ve been extremely helpful in this process!!!
 

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