Hole In The Head Disease

What causes HITH or Hole In The Head?

HITH is one of the less common goldfish diseases. If the disease still remains a mistery because many studies were contradictory or inconclusive, there are many theories to what can cause HITH: environment, diet, 'The carbon theory', and Heximita infection.

Environmental causes are poor water conditions and stress. Just like our body degenerates if proper diet is neglected, so do aquarium fish. The carbon theory is based on the idea that the carbon used to remove harmful toxins in the water actually causes the disease.

Heximita is probably the main cause in most cases. Heximita is an intestinal parasite that absorbs the nutrients trough the intestinal wall.

What are the symptoms?

HITH starts with small sore on the hard, above the eyes. These sere grow and eventually penetrate trough the outer layer of the skin. Initially, small holes will appear in the head region and later will develop into a tubular eruption that has mucus trailing from them in cream or yellow colors. Click image to enlarge.

How to cure HITH?

You need to follow these steps:

  1. Feed your goldfish a balanced and vitamin enriched diet. Remove uneaten food
  2. Start doing 20-30% water changes every 3-4 days. Also vacuum the gravel
  3. Add one tablespoon of aquarium salt to every 10 gallons of water. Remember to dilute before adding to the tank
  4. Raise water temperature in the tank to 70-75oF
  5. Remove all carbon from filters

If these fail or in very advanced cases, it's a good idea to treat the tank for Heximita. Follow the directions for dosing indicated on the box(or bottle) and continue treating. The go back to treating per steps 1 to 5 listed above.

How to prevent HITH?

Follow steps 1) and 2) from the treatment list. Preventing HITH is relatively easy. You need to maintain high quality water by following a weekly schedule and also do not overcrowd your tank.

A healthy and rich diet does not only keep the fish healthy, but it also makes it very happy. They love fresh fruit and veggies on a regular basis. Use frozen foods, brine shrimp, daphnia or blood worms as occasional treats.

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