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Old 03-25-2011, 02:41 AM   #1
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HITH aka: Hole in the Head

3 days ago a strange growth appeared on the left side of my lovely Opaline Gourami's (Gen. U. S.Grant) face. It's just below his left eye, it's kind of bumpy like a wart, but no change in color so it's very hard to see except at just the right angle.
I promptly removed him from the tank. He lives with 14 Lake Malawi Cichlids.
I then examined him very close and found 2 holes in the top of his head. It looked like the description of HITH, never having seen it before I had to guess. I already had a bottle of Jungle Hole-N-head Guard so I fallowed the directions and treated him. And just in case it was contagious, I treated all the fish in the main tank.
The next day the tank with my Gourami (Grant) had tons of clear stringy stuff floating in the water. Which confirmed my fear that it was HITH.
I was reading the entire label and I came across a statement that I need to find out what it means.
The label states " HITH is common to Gouramis,Discus, Oscars, and other South American Cichlids.
Does that mean that Cichlids from Africa are safe from HITH. Or are they just a likely to get as the South American Cichlids?
Should I keep treating the main tank even though none of them are showing any signs of HITH?
I'm really worried about my Cichlids.
Grant is appears to be getting better. he hole are almost gone and the stringy mucus is gone. The growth is smaller, but I still don't know what caused it.
Any one have a clue what the growth could be?
And is there something else I can do to keep my other fish from getting HITH?
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Old 03-25-2011, 07:35 AM   #2
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If it has white discharge and is going away with a med then it is the parasitic form (either Hexamita spp. or Spironucleus vortens) Which I have never seen in African cichlids.

There is not much you can do to prevent HITH (the parasitic form), fortunately it is easily treated with the right med.

To prevent head and lateral line erosion (the non-parasitic form) you need high quality water and food, and a little luck.
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Old 03-25-2011, 05:11 PM   #3
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If it has white discharge and is going away with a med then it is the parasitic form (either Hexamita spp. or Spironucleus vortens) Which I have never seen in African cichlids.

There is not much you can do to prevent HITH (the parasitic form), fortunately it is easily treated with the right med.

To prevent head and lateral line erosion (the non-parasitic form) you need high quality water and food, and a little luck.
SO, even though my Opaline Gourami has HITH, well is recovering from it, it's unlikely that he could have exposed my Africans before I removed him from the tank?
Any idea about the growth? It was the size of a nickle 4 days ago and now it's 1/4 of the size of a dime. It's almost gone, could it be contagious? Or is it something that's just Gen. Grants?
Thank you for answering so quickly, I hate worrying.
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Old 03-25-2011, 09:04 PM   #4
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Any pics?
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Old 03-25-2011, 10:20 PM   #5
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Any pics?
I wish, I made the mistake of loaning my camera/camcorder to a friend. It came back minus the power cord. I haven't been able to replace it yet.
I know without seeing it, diagnosing is pretty much impossible.
But, I'm not sure it would show up in a pic. anyway. The skin is raised
a little (now) but it has never had any discoloration. Which is why it was
so hard to see in the first place. But it was why I moved him from the tank.
Then I saw the little holes in his head from the HITH.
While I treated the HITH with meds. I added Epsom's Salt for the swelling/growth under his eye.
Well the holes are nearly gone. Just superficial now. and the thing under his eye has shrunk down to just a slightly bigger than his eye.
Without a pic. that's the best I can do. Plus it's even smaller now that it was this morning. so I don't think I have anything to worry about. It's going away.
Thank you for you time, it is greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-25-2011, 10:54 PM   #6
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Everything I've really ever read said that HITH is mostly about water quality and lack of nutrients (usually from a non-varied diet). I just got a rescue Oscar fish with possible HITH so I certainly hope so!
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:03 PM   #7
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Oscars get HLLE, they rarely get HITH. In the case of HLLE and oscars it is usually water and food quality. In rare cases it is carbon in the filter.

However, with HITH it is parasite based.

People lumping the two together is one of the factors leading to all the confusion and debate over them.
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:04 PM   #8
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Oscars get HLLE, they rarely get HITH. In the case of HLLE and oscars it is usually water and food quality. In rare cases it is carbon in the filter.

However, with HITH it is parasite based.

People lumping the two together is one of the factors leading to all the confusion and debate over them.
Oooooh. Thanks. I banked some more knowledge from you then. Thanks.
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Old 03-26-2011, 02:10 AM   #9
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Oscars get HLLE, they rarely get HITH. In the case of HLLE and Oscars it is usually water and food quality. In rare cases it is carbon in the filter.

However, with HITH it is parasite based.

People lumping the two together is one of the factors leading to all the confusion and debate over them.
Again I want to say thank you for sharing your knowledge and education with the rest of us.
I used to have to Opaline Gourami, but one was killed by a Red Zebra I had.
Grant has been acting despondent is the only word for it. He's been sickly off and on since Jackson died. Not sick with any specific illness, just sick.
Everyone else in that tank is flourishing the younger ones are growing like weeds, but not Grant.
I keep nursing him back and he'll be fine for a couple weeks and then something else will be wrong with him. Like the side of his face swelling up for no apparent reason.
I know this will sound awful but at least with HITH I have something to treat.
Last month he had Popeye in one eye. I treated it with Epsom's Salt and daily PWC, in 4 days the swelling was gone but his pupil was at a permanent pinpoint. But once again he bounced back healthy, if it was only for 3 weeks.
Then the side of his face swells and then he gets HITH. His immune system hasn't had enough time to recover between illnesses.
I don't know what to do with him any more to get him healthy.
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Old 03-26-2011, 10:48 AM   #10
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I don't think an opaline gourami belongs in a tank with mbunas. Whether you see it or not they are probably beating him up and that is causing your repetitive problems.

When a fish gets sick two things happen. There is a pathogen present and a stressor that allows that pathogen to take hold. Few pathogens can develop into a disease in fish without the fish being stressed. You may treat the pathogen, but if you never remove the main stressor they will come back or another pathogen will take hold. This leads to a cycle of disease after disease.
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Old 03-26-2011, 12:45 PM   #11
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I don't think an Opaline Gourami belongs in a tank with mbunas. Whether you see it or not they are probably beating him up and that is causing your repetitive problems.

When a fish gets sick two things happen. There is a pathogen present and a stressor that allows that pathogen to take hold. Few pathogens can develop into a disease in fish without the fish being stressed. You may treat the pathogen, but if you never remove the main stressor they will come back or another pathogen will take hold. This leads to a cycle of disease after disease.
Everything was fine until the Red Zebra became an adult. Then I had a lot of sick stressed out fish. I didn't know what to do. I'd taken babies back to the my FS but not grown ones. And I didn't want to knowingly pass a killer fish on to a friend, so he could decimate their stock. At one point I went out and bought a complete set up for a friend so I could give the harassed fish to her so they would survive. But we had to wait for it to cycle. During which time Sonny killed 3 more female Mbunas and Jackson (the Gourami).
I couldn't take it anymore. I called the FS in tears about the whole thing. They were awesome about taking him back. I got 3 beautiful little girl Mbunas in return and my tank has been peaceful since. Everyone is doing really well. The fish that were being harassed and unable to get out to eat, finally started growing . They've almost caught up in size, after being so small for so long.
If the others were picking on Grant wouldn't he try to avoid them? I'm not saying your wrong about them.
Your a bit to brilliant for me to contradict you.
But other than his illness their aren't any physical signs of being picked on. Like fins being nipped or the very recognizable marks made by a Mbunas teeth.
So you don't think it's because his partner is gone?They had been together for four years. They had been tank mates before they got to the FS as babies. Or am I projecting human feelings onto my fish? Every pet I've ever had has always had another pet to keep each other company when I was away. It cut down on the separation anxiety.
I had a lab/Akita that lived to be 14 years old. I still miss her as much as I ever did. Well she had a cat, Thomas was supposed to be for my daughter but ended up being the dogs cat, I know it's weird, Any way in January 2003 I was forced to have Kita put to sleep. She had an inoperable tumor that caused internal bleeding. Afterwards Thomas, the cat, stopped eating and never went out to play or played inside. He would wonder from room to room looking for Kita. Finally in April 2003 we found him curled up under the mail box dead, no apparent reason.
Other than the not eating that's the same behavior that Grant has been displaying since Jackson's demise.
What should I do about him? I really doesn't matter who's right about why he's stressed and sick, bottom line he is stressed and sick. I have another tank but I don't think it would be good for his either.
It has Angelfish and Danios. Apart from Gouramis and Angels not getting along. After living in the Mbunas higher Alkaline pH for so long, switching him to the much more Acidic pH that Angels prefer would just be another stressor wouldn't it?
Why would a FS sell me the Mbunas and Gouramis together if they shouldn't be together? They were going make money either way, I was there buying fish, If it hadn't been the Gouramis it would have been something else.
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Old 03-26-2011, 02:04 PM   #12
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You can never rely on the fish store giving you the best advice, at the end of the day they are a business and need to sell you things.

Even if there is no visible damage, the stress is what matters. Imagine going to prison (being stuck somewhere by someone more powerful than you, mixed according to their decision, just like a fish tank). Even if you never got stabbed or jumped, you would be extremely stressed. This is what happens to fish. They don't choose what tanks that go in, what they are put in with, the water change schedule, or what they eat. Of course we don't want to think of our well-cared for tanks as prisons, but they are a lot more similar than most of us would like to admit.

If you acclimate slowly you shouldn't have any issues. I wouldn't say angels and gouramis don't mix. They can be hit or miss, but it is an option.
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Old 03-26-2011, 03:54 PM   #13
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You can never rely on the fish store giving you the best advice, at the end of the day they are a business and need to sell you things.

Even if there is no visible damage, the stress is what matters. Imagine going to prison (being stuck somewhere by someone more powerful than you, mixed according to their decision, just like a fish tank). Even if you never got stabbed or jumped, you would be extremely stressed. This is what happens to fish. They don't choose what tanks that go in, what they are put in with, the water change schedule, or what they eat. Of course we don't want to think of our well-cared for tanks as prisons, but they are a lot more similar than most of us would like to admit.

If you acclimate slowly you shouldn't have any issues. I wouldn't say angels and gouramis don't mix. They can be hit or miss, but it is an option.
The prison analogy is sad but true.
My Angelfish are new, I just got them and they are so small. I would hate to have the miss be that Grant kills any of my baby Angels,
Would some kind of divider wall or box help or would that just make for a smaller prison?
If he weren't sick I'd give him back to the FS, but unless I can get him healthy that's not an option.
All this is giving me a headache, I can't stand seeing an animal suffer and he is.
All this is made worse because he is my grandson, Casey's fish. Casey is 10 and has Aspergers. He was the whole reason we started the fish keeping to begin with. Except during times like this, the aquariums are very calming and tranquil. They help us all get to a better place in our heads.
It's funny though, the aquariums were suppose to help Casey calm down during times of stress. But we found out that after one of his anger outbursts and we were all stressed, that if we sat in front of the aquarium together we all became calmer and before long the three of us are giggling at their antics. And soon the stress of Aspergers on all of us is forgotten.
But back to our stressed fish. I just got a 10g tank it isn't cycled yet but after, would it be to small for him? Just to get him healthy so the FS will take him back.
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Old 03-26-2011, 10:14 PM   #14
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If you do enough water changes in the 10 it should be fine.
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Old 03-26-2011, 11:44 PM   #15
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If you do enough water changes in the 10 it should be fine.
I do 25% PWC twice a week and if the Nitrates are going up to much then I take out all the decor and plants and give the gravel a good vacuuming and a 50% PWC. Will that be enough for the 10g with 1 Gourami?
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Old 03-27-2011, 12:13 AM   #16
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Yes.
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Old 03-27-2011, 03:07 AM   #17
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Yes.
Thank you, as soon as it finishes cycling that's where Grant will go.
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