Betta Fish Tumor – Causes & Treatments

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Betta fish are quite hardy pets. They do not require much effort or time from their human parents, but they do offer much love in return. But owning such amazing tropical pets does not mean that it will be all roses and unicorns.

Indeed, these little creatures can get sick just as any other living being. And the ultimate disease is surely a tumor. In order for being able to recognize the causes and therefore to proceed to prompt treatments, here is all you need to know about Betta fish tumor.

Why do Bettas Get Tumors?

Just as some humans, individual Bettas can, unfortunately, be genetically predisposed to develop a tumor. And this is also the most common cause of such unwanted illness.

However, some tumors can be caused by other factors, with most of them being related to poor maintenance. These can include either a poor diet choice, or the presence of viral infections, or even unhealthy water specifications.

Can a Tumor Be Removed from Bettas?

In theory, external tumors can be removed from these tiny creatures, as long as operated on by a surgeon who specialized in tropical fish. However, just as in people, there are many factors that define when a tumor is operable and when it is not, such as the size and the affected body parts.

There have been several cases of successful tumor removals from a Betta, but there is really no guarantee that it will never grow back.

Internal tumors are invisible to the observer and they are usually diagnosed when already into an advanced phase. However, on the positive side, there are some types that can be efficiently treated without the need of surgical removal.

An example is the gills tumor, which is frequently caused by a thyroid complication and can be simply treated with iodine water medication. Most of the time, successfully.

How Long Can Bettas Live with a Tumor?

Unfortunately, there is no general rule which can be applied here. Depending on the tumor type and its location on the fish body, it can either stay there for months without provoking any negative side effects to the Betta or spread and affect organs of life importance.

Whatever the case may be, it is really important to monitor the fish’s behavior and see if there are any changes. If a Betta continues to eat and swim normally, it is probably not suffering and there is a high chance it may survive for some more time. But it is impossible to predict a timeline.

In some cases, what seems to be a small external tumor without any visible negative effects, can quickly bring to the fish dying. Tumors and cancers can be spreading on the inside, too, without the owners noticing until it becomes too late.

A Betta may seem perfectly fine one day, eating and swimming around the aquarium, and it can die the next morning. Sadly, there is no way to know how the disease is going to affect a certain fish.

Prevent Tumors in Betta Fish

When a Betta has a genetic destiny to suffer from a tumor, there is nothing that its human parents could have done to prevent it. On the other side, what they can do is properly take care of their aquatic pets in order to at least prevent those tumors which are caused by some other triggers.

First of all, it is always highly recommended to purchase your fish pet from a certified, professional breeder with good references.

Do not just head to the closest massive pet store and buy a Betta from a choice of poorly maintained fish. Some of them, unfortunately, tend to inbreed their Bettas and treat them with hormone therapy for faster growth and quick money earning.

However, this can obviously lead to long-term health complications, including the development of a higher chance of eventually getting a tumor.

Adding to that, Bettas are generally extremely sensitive to water quality, so it is vitally important to constantly measure the specifications and to perform regular water changes. The same goes for infections developing inside the aquarium.

Whenever a new fish or even a new plant is introduced to the tank, it is necessary to make sure these are not carrying any dangerous viruses. And if it turns out there is an affected fish anyway, it immediately needs to be placed into a quarantine tank.

And, finally, a high-quality and nutritive meal plan is just as crucial.

To conclude, tumors and cancers are highly dangerous and difficult to treat among fish just as they are among people. That only adds to the importance of simple, preventive measures which can often lead to saving your pet’s life.

How to Euthanize Your Betta Fish?

Sadly, when a tumor or cancer persists and decides to make Betta’s life painful and difficult, the best way to help the fish out is to put an end to its miseries by euthanizing it.

There are many euthanizing suggestions available online (I’ve also written an article about how to humanly euthanize a betta fish), such as the use of clove oil or alcohol, or even ones that recommend freezing fish alive.

However, the most humane thing to do is to ask your vet for advice. He or she will recommend medicinal products such as the TMS powder, which is highly efficient and certainly not painful.

Wrapping Up

Seeing a lump on the body of your favorite tropical fish is always hard. In some cases, it can be a sign of a minor and easily treatable illness but, in others, it can mean that there is a tumor present. And this is never easy, but there is not always the need to over worry.

Indeed, some tumors can be operated or treated with medication, while others will simply stay there unchanged and still allow your pet to live a normal life. Whatever the case may be, it is vitally important to react as soon as possible and ask for advice from a professional.

And remember, simple preventive measures can often mean the difference between life and death.

avatar I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.

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