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Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11544
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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I have a male betta I've had for 2 yrs. He has a "bulge" on

Customer Question

Hi there! I have a male betta I've had for 2 yrs. He has a "bulge" on his left side mid body. The bulge is fairly large & is concerning to me! I read your recommendation regarding a possible 's win bladder issue' with another Betta, however I have my doubts about with this particular fish/situation. I've owned many Betta's over the years & am familiar w/ both swim bladder issues & constipation. Here's a few facts: 1) originally it was on both sides but the other side was less severe & went down quickly. 2) I suspected he might have cut himself on a new "house" (u know how sharp those "Windows" or holes can be!) & he loves to swim through them quickly! 3) This has been there for months w/no change- during which time he's "skipped" feeding here & there. 4) He's in great spirits & eats enthusiasticly! 5) He also has no trouble swiming @ diff levels of the tank w/most of his time spent on a leaf of his 1 live plant or in his "house" that he loves! Still concerned tho! He's very special to me... Other than he's my little buddy, he was imported from Thailand and he's a TRUE purple, which in my experience is quite rare! Sorry for such a long message! Any advice would be greatly appreciated!! :)
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Is the fish bleeding a lot?
Customer: No. Again since the original incident happened some time ago, im honestly trying to remember what led me to believe he might of gotten cut...
JA: Phew. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about the fish?
Customer: He's in a 5 gallon tank w/ a heater & filter. W/ 1 snail, lol. 🐌 Do have some water quality issues, but do regular water changes. Like to further discuss the water isdues w/the vet too! But other than the unsightly buldge, he seems happy as a clam. Oh, & i do feed twice a day & i know that not every one agrees w/ that but a Betta breeder/show person, (& my importer), strongly recommend my feeding schedule & ive been doing it w/out issue for 2 years now. Thats it. 😊
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Anna replied 9 months ago.

Hello and welcome,

I apologize that no one has responded to your question sooner. Different experts come online at various times. I just logged on and saw your question. My name is ***** ***** I’m a biologist with a special interest in fish. I'm sorry to hear of this incident.

You're right that this does not sound like a swim bladder disorder. As for feeding twice a day, I do that, too, and have for years.

If the original cause of this lump was an injury, there are two possibilities for what it might be. One is an abscess. However, if an abscess was present for months, chances are good that the infection would have spread, leading to additional symptoms. It could also be internal scar tissue, which would not cause symptoms.

There are two other concerns with swelling like this; neither related to an injury. Kidney disease can cause swelling on one side. A fish can go for some time with that, but eventually it would cause illness, usually dropsy symptoms. Another possibility is a tumor. Many tumors in fish are benign. Unless they interfere with eating or swimming, a fish can live out its lifespan with such a tumor.

The only way to get a certain diagnosis is to take him to an aquatic vet, who can palpate the swelling and determine what it is. Unless it is an abscess, there won't be a reliable treatment. If you want to do that, this link will take you to a directory of fish vets. You'll want to enter your state, check the private practice box, and the ornamental aquatic animals box.

If you don't want to see a vet, you can try a medicated antibiotic food. I would also add aquarium salt at the rate of one teaspoon per gallon of water, and StressCoat according to directions on the bottle. If the swelling is related to an injury, these steps may help.

I'll be glad to discuss water quality with you. Just give me the details - test results, etc. Thank you.


Expert:  Anna replied 9 months ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Expert:  Anna replied 9 months ago.

Hello again,

Do you need any additional information?