Hello, everyone. Thanks for giving this a look.
A bit of background information: This is my second fish. My first was a veiltail betta that I had for over a year before he succumbed to a treatment resistant illness (and likely old age which made it harder to fight). My first betta was in a 3.5gal. After I decided medication was doing more bad than good, I moved him to a 10gal, medication free with lots of healthy plants. That was just about a year ago that I got that tank running. That is what my imbellis is living in now. I ordered him online in August, when the seller said he was three months old. He’s still young, so I’m hoping he’ll get better quickly!
Some more necessary information: The tank has three pieces of driftwood, a rock, three individual anubias plants, one vallisneria, a moss ball, a bit of greater duckweed, as well as some catappa leaves on the surface. There is a zebra nerite (pushing two years old!) and one ghost shrimp. The heater is at 78 degrees. I use a sponge filter with low flow (can be adjusted). I JUST ran all of the parameter tests: pH is 7.4 (as my tank has always been, no matter how much I’ve spent on IAL), ammonia is 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 0. Also used my GH
test kit for the first time. That seems to be the only unusual thing here - the water tested in the highest band, with 200-400ppm.
On my fish’s illness: Only other problem he’s recently had is a bit of one ventral fin was lost. It doesn’t look like fin rot at all, so I think he must’ve gotten caught on something, or the shrimp was being defensive. I only noticed the hole in his head this evening. Not to be over dramatic, but my fish is my life! I’m always checking on him, so I don’t know how I didn’t notice until now. He’s eating eagerly, and I was just watching him working on his bubble nest all day! Seems like a happy guy to me, so I don’t know what’s wrong. I would like to think this is just another little injury (and maybe I’d need to reconsider tank decor), but I’m pretty sure it’s gotta be HITH.
I’ve attached some pictures of my fish, as well as a zoomed out picture of my tank setup. As a wild betta, he’s always changing colors, so the pale coloration in the pictures isn’t of concern. Thanks to all of you who have read this - I know I tend to ramble when it comes to my fish. All help wanted!!