Betta Fish with Lump on his Head


Lump on Betta’s Head provided by LH

LH wrote,

I’ve seen your site and figured I’d get an opinion on my fish if you don’t mind taking the time. I’ve had him since the end of January and about a month after I got him, he had a spot on his face that just grew. I thought it may have just been a scrape but it hasn’t gotten better, just worse. I tried to avoid medications because I’m scared of them doing more harm then good, but the lump on his head just seemed too big and kind of cottony so I treated him for fungus. It didn’t really help much. For the most part he has been on a diet of brine shrimp. He lives in a filtered 5 gallon tank that and I do about an 80% water change every 2 weeks and treat the water with aquarium salt. His appetite is healthy, but I would really like to do something about his problem before it gets too bad. Lately I’ve been trying salt baths, but over the last one, he lost too much colour too quickly. Today (before said salt bath) I had noticed that little white bits were a part of his lump too. I took some pictures, I will enclose the best.

A follow up with your opinion would be appreciated. Thank you for your time

(He doesn’t have any other dots on his body, those are just bubbles) he also had a bit of fin rot off and on, but it never got too bad. Right now his fins are in good shape. He a little bit lethargic and has trouble keeping balanced, but he is still enthusiastic.

A: Most betta illnesses can be easily identified but occasionally I get one that really stumps me. The Nippyfish reader above sent in this photo of her betta showing an unusual lump on his head with specs of white. I have speculated that it could be a tumor or perhaps a parasitic infestation of some sort. Despite what you may read on some websites, tumors are not very common among bettas. Most of the time lumps can be attributed to constipation or fluid retention which is commonly misdiagnosed as a tumor. This, however, is neither of those. The white specs are also unusual, which makes me think it could be parasites. Is it possible the lump is filled with some sort of bug which we are seeing poking through the scales? Perhaps gill flukes? It does appear to be near the gills but it is hard to tell if it is an infection of the gills specifically. Could the white we are seeing be the result of slime coat build up from the salt baths? I am just tossing out ideas because truthfully I don’t really know what has caused this. I’d love to hear our readers’ thoughts and ideas as well. Have any of you seen this in your fish?

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Christie F is a Betta splendens hobbyist that enjoys spending time caring for her fish and helping new betta keepers learn the ropes. More posts by:

20 Comments for this entry

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi, I have a betta with a similar lump on his head. There's no white specs but the lump appears to be directly above his eye and red. I checked online and everything seemed to point to tumor. Would love to know if there's something I should look for that might cause a different diagnosis. How are parasites treated?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi, my betta has a big lump on hes head too and a fat upper lip. I just did a 100% water change. any help would be nice.

  3. Krystle says:

    My fish's lump has gotten huge and white. I've been trying to change the water and use fungus medication in the water. When I change it, it looks like it goes down a little. I don't think it is a tumor because of it's changes when I change the water.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I have a betta with the exact same spot in almost the exact the same area. He's had it for about 5 months now, and I am completely stumped. At first I thought it was parasites so I treated him with parasite meds for two weeks and it made no difference. A month later I tried some tetracycline, but that made no difference either. He still has his appetite, but he mostly rests on the bottom of his tank now. I keep his tank clean and just don't know what else to do for him.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Same thing. Lump that grew bigger over about 5 months, so I dont think it's a parasite. He is in a community tank, and all other fish are healthy. It's a kind of a tumor. It kind of "opened" 2 days ago, became white, and betta is going down:( I leave him as is, he is quite comfortable between plants, and hopefully he might survive the crisis. But I feel there's big chance he will die.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Update: I had to put him asleep. There were no infection, but he stopped eating.
    Now that I have two new very young males, I can see clearly that these bumps are a natural part of their anatomy. A gland may be? Then these structures become overfilled or infected, with deadly consequences. However, I could not find any scientific description of these structures.

  7. Anonymous says:

    We have a Betta who's about a year and a half old. He's had this white bump dead center of the top of his head for at least a year, but it never seems to bother him and, until recently, it never got worse or spread. When it first appeared we treated him for ick, but that didn't help and it never spread, like I said, so it's most likely not ick anyway. I've seen a lot of people asking about similar white bumps but nobody knows what it is. I really don't want him to die, but I'm worried if it's a tumor there's nothing I can do. If anybody has any ideas please post them. Thanks.

  8. Anonymous says:

    i bught a betta that already had a lump on top of the head the reason i bought it is because i know people will look at it and think something is wrong instead i see it as a beauty mark and something unique … by the way my betta is white with little flairs of pinkish red on the fins with a beautiful lump on top of the head in which is blue i named it ERAGON :P

  9. Anonymous says:

    I have a two year old red beta who has recently acted very weird. He hardly comes up for food, he just lays on the bottom of the tank, and he has a huge but similar lump the same color as him on the top of his head. Is there anything to do??

  10. Anonymous says:

    I need advice so bad. I have had my male Betta, Pink for 2 years. He has never been sick. About 4 weeks ago his lips have enlarged so big he can't get his food. He also has a tiny looking hole on each side of his mouth. No white cotton looking stuff. I think he is still alive because he tries and sometimes is able to suck in some blood worms. I have tried so many treatments it is a wonder he is still alive! Why is his mouth, lips so swollen, and what can I do?? Please help. Thank you.

  11. Ashley Mercier says:

    Hiya,was looking on the web and came across this article,My bata Curly(His name)Has a clear bump on his head,it appeared like maybe a couple of months after i got him,He was fine he eats good still try’s to attack my finger and is energetic,then i started to see other bumps on him on his side but it was white then one on his lip,I thought it was ick so i treated it but it didn’t go away,so i thought maybe it was a boo boo maybe he hurted himself ,just now i looked at him and the top of his back fin on his back usually its curls down that why i name him curly,but on the top there is a clear bubble looking thing,that makes his fin rase up,usually its curled down but it floats up,and he’s sitting on the bottom of his tank he eats but he docent look happy,his color i notice is dull now,im kind of scared because i don’t want nothing to happen to him,ill be very sad so im trying to find whats going on with him,if anyone knows or is having the same problem Plz let me know.

  12. samantha says:

    my betta has the same thing, for like 4 months he hadlike on top of his lip cut and yesterday I did a water change but the lips look like thire were gona fall so today he had a bumb on his head, rigth now I went to check on him but the bumpp had a white thing on top of it so I was looking on the web for a cure or what was it but nobody knows they say it could be a tumor . Someone plz help

  13. Lauren Ramey says:

    My poor fishy got his white bump today :( its just above his left eye and is pretty small right now, anyone know whats wrong or how to treat it?

  14. jenni says:

    my betta has the same thing. Iv had him for about a week but he all ready had them when I got him from meijer. he eats fine and was seeing himself on the side of the tank today. he was getting all mad xDD it was so cute! theres only 2 but I hope they just go away T-T I love him…please what do I do

  15. jenni says:

    there right on hos head with white specks…

  16. Amelia says:

    Hi I have a 2 year old blue and red crown tail male beta, Alpha (his name) I got him from a freind that could no longer take care of him he has been acting the same as allways but I noticed a small white-ish bump on the right side of his head right behind his Gil I don’t know if I should be worried about his health or not. It’s like I said he hasnt been acting differently or any thing and he is completely full of energy He has Been spending more time at the bottom of the tank. I’m worried for him cuz I really don’t want him to die.

  17. Amelia says:

    Please tell me should I be worried? Or am I stressing for nothing?

  18. Lori says:

    Did u get my long message about Big Red? I don’t know if it went through if not I will send it again, I don’t want to him to die

  19. Lori says:

    Ok I guess u didn’t big red stopped eating stayed in his house at the bottom hiding I thought he was dead so I moved his house then he 1/2 swam1/2 floated to the top I was sick about it he has a big bulg on his body on both sides down by his tail now he can’t swim he floats and know has one Popeye . He’s in a tank with a few other fish, I added some treated tap water when it went down that’s when he started acting weird but he never did this before! The city changed our water! So I test for everything ph it was all off the charts terriable so I took him out with a little water and every hour add a cup of distilled water untilll he had a gallon, tested perfect! Then treated his eye,went to thefishstoreandbought some antibiotic powder for bacteria and fungus.changed the whole tank out and Medicaide it for everyone, but he’s still in the other small tank for now floating around sad not eating! Today when he saw me he wiggled his littlest fins near his gills and moved around on his side gave him more antibiotic gave him a pellet won’t eat still the same ! Someone HELP ME

  20. Jana says:

    My two bettas got it too. Does anyone know what it is? they eat well, but no medication is working. the thing on them progress!
    I am afraid it is Lymphocystis, which means I have to kill them.

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