My betta has a wound on top of her head.

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Mar 16, 2024
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This is Val, I got her 2 days ago from a breeder via shipping. When the parcel arrived, I noticed that she was not in good condition, a nasty wound on her head, a lot of missing scales, and pale fins. I tried to contact the seller to ask if she already looked similar or already like this before shipping, I didn't really get a response so I'm assuming she got these injuries from the shipping process? I'm not really sure, all I know is that she's not looking too good. Though her behavior seems fine, always active, exploring the tank, trying to eat everything that moves.

I've got a few photos of Val, any help and advice would be greatly appreciated. I really have no clue what to do since this is my first time getting a betta in this condition.


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Welcome to the forum.

Since I have no idea of your Aquario background and level.

A good description of the current setup and current water parameters, mates, filtration, etc... Are the first things required to asses the range of intervention you have.

A betta only tank can be addressed a lot more aggressively than a betta in a community tank.

For a betta only tank.

At the moment: Ultra clean water, a little aquarium salt and something like Melafix is enough to prevent infection.

If you have a slightly acidic water, it would provide great help, You can also add botanicals, black water or almond leaf extracts, these provide conditions less conductive for fungus expansion.

Warm water.. Betta are thriving at 80F. Good food, Insect based and high quality pellets, frozen bloodworms.

Since the wound is very fresh... Good prevention and great nutrition is the best path to healing.
It's a good sign that her behavior is normal and that she's active and eating well. With that in mind, I think the best thing you can do is make sure to do frequent large water changes as a form of first aid. She's already helping herself heal by having a good appetite, so maintaining very good water quality should help her get the rest of the way. Sorry that breeder you bought her from seems to be rather irresponsible... This is a tough way to find out who not to buy from. Best wishes to her recovery
I forgot to include parameters sorry.
The pH is 7.0, though I'm trying to lower it down with jackfruit leaves and driftwood, I'll use indian almond leaves once when I find some.
Ammonia at 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 5.0ppm
No filter unfortunately, and I'm doing 30-40% water changes more often.
Temp is 79.36 F (26.31 °C)
Food: Daphnia, Earthworms, Mosquitos (not intentional she just eats the ones that get past the lid) and pest snails (also not intentional, they mainly came with the plants, kept them anyways for cleaning, but she ate all of them)
She seems to be recovering a bit now, I noticed that her left ventral fin grew longer, though the right one is still shorter, her fins and tail are starting to show shades of red which I'm guessing is her natural color? some scales are coming back, the wound is still visible but getting slightly darker with each day.
I have aquarium salt available and a small tubs for salt dips/salt baths, but I haven't used them. For now I'll keep the water clean and keep her well fed. Thanks for the help though
If you have no filter you need to be really hot on water changes, ie daily to keep things super clean, especially while she heals. If you need to go down the salt route add it to her tank as its less stressful than lifting her out, although I'm not sure how adding salt to a tank with no filter would affect the tank. I will wait for someone more knowledgeable to comment.
You are in really good shape to face this event.

Since you don't' have a filter, If you want to add salt to help with slime and gill function., do it with a perfectly diluted solution at water changes.

A flat Thea spoon per 4 gallons of water is enough to disturb many unicellular organism While being beneficial for your fish and perfectly safe for plants and beneficial bacteria.

Consider adding something to create water movement in some place. While they live in somewhat stagnant water doesn't mean there is no exchange going on.

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