I don't know what's happening with my betta.

julesb

Hi! So I have had Kanye for about 2 months and I try my best to take care of him.

When I first got him he had a white body with black fins and one or two random black scales on each side. He lives with gravel and 3 fully grown betta bulbs in a 2.5 gal tank (I know 3-5 gal would be better, but 2.5 is the best I can do right now). I added a ghost shrimp 2 days ago too and since it hasn't died yet, I'm going to add 2 more. He's a platinum dragon male betta who's very active. His tank temp fluctuates between 73 and 85 degrees because I have to turn the heater on and off.

Recently, he's started to turn black on his sides. I'm not sure whether he's just changing colors, or if something is wrong. I did my best to research but only found many contradictory articles. I hoped you guys could help me figure out what's happening
 

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Salem

First off let me just say welcome to fishlore! It's always great to see more people doing their best to take care of bettas when it's so common to just not care about them. I'm sure you will be able to learn a whole lot about fish as a whole here and eventually help others learn too!
Is he exhibiting any concerning behaviour? If not it looks to me like its just a change in colour. It's very good to keep keep an eye out for changes in general though, good on you! He is a very beautiful little boy. I really like how you've positioned the plants and how they look in the setup. Their wide leaves make great resting spots and cover for bettas.
However, I can see that this little guy is going blind! If you look at his eyes you will see that a majority of them is covered in a shiny white. This is caused by the dragonscale gene he is named after. As you can see his body is covered in some thick looking scales, this is what that gene does. Unfortunately, it doesn't really stop at just the scales and with many dragonscale bettas it continues across the eyes.
There's nothing you can really do to stop or reverse it. Thankfully though it's really not a huge issue in terms of how much it affects his care. He may have trouble finding food if the scales on his eyes continue to cover them. To help him with this you can tap on the surface of the water to draw his attention to where you're about to drop his food. When it comes to redecorating or changing his tank it's a good idea to try to keep things in a similar layout. He will quickly learn where new things are and adjust accordingly but it can be a bit less stressful if it's not a huge change all at once.
A 2.5gal is on the smaller side but is definitely okay for mr Kanye here. If you are able to in the future upgrading to a bigger side would be a good idea but I know that tanks can be expensive and take up a lot of space. I actually kept my first betta in a plastic storage bin for the first few months of his life. It was 7 gallons and honestly I would have kept him in it longer if I had not found a 5 gallon on the side of the road.

Just as a question though as I'm not seeing one in the pictures- does he have a filter? I noticed your profile says you aren't aware of the nitrogen cycle- if this is accurate I recommend looking into that as it's very important when it comes to keeping aquatic friends.
 
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mrsP

Welcome to fishlore! I agree with Salem, you're doing great job with taking care of your betta. If you need any help with understanding cycling your tank, please ask, we're here to help you. However, it's generally simple, do regular water changes and keep aquarium clean, and it will go naturally and on it's own. If you boy eats well and behaves normally, I would think color change is natual and perfectly harmless.

edit: Concidering the problem with his eyes, it might be even a good thing to have him in smaller than larger tank, but I would still get him eventually to 5 gallon but not bigger than that.
 
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julesb

Thank you guys so much! He does have a filter and I change about 80% of his water every week/week and a half. I don't move anything around because I like the design. That fact about the platinum scale covering his eyes is really interesting! That explains why he bumps into the walls sometimes. I do think his vision is quite well though because as I mentioned earlier, I added a baby ghost shrimp to the tank a few days ago, and Kanye seems to see him quite well. Every time I take out the food jar he shoots straight up to the surface and has no trouble grabbing the food, and every time I put something he doesn't recognize in front of his tank, he stops and stares at it.

As for concerning behavior, he swims actively back and forth ALL the time (I'm not sure whether that's a good sign or not), sometimes likes to brush his bottom fin on plants, and bumps gently into the tank walls. I'll also catch him swimming back and forth keeping his nose touched to the glass occasionally.
 
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Fae

Thank you guys so much! He does have a filter and I change about 80% of his water every week/week and a half. I don't move anything around because I like the design. That fact about the platinum scale covering his eyes is really interesting! That explains why he bumps into the walls sometimes. I do think his vision is quite well though because as I mentioned earlier, I added a baby ghost shrimp to the tank a few days ago, and Kanye seems to see him quite well. Every time I take out the food jar he shoots straight up to the surface and has no trouble grabbing the food, and every time I put something he doesn't recognize in front of his tank, he stops and stares at it.

As for concerning behavior, he swims actively back and forth ALL the time (I'm not sure whether that's a good sign or not), sometimes likes to brush his bottom fin on plants, and bumps gently into the tank walls. I'll also catch him swimming back and forth keeping his nose touched to the glass occasionally.

Oh lord, if Kim couldn't take care of Kanye, no one can.... xD

Okay but seriously, that is one gorgeous fish!

Welcome to fishlore and thanks for reaching out! The nitrogen cycle is pretty simple btw and important to know. You can look it up for more detail, but put simply, it's growing bacteria to eat waste of fish/plants. 90% of it will be in the filter and the other 10% in the gravel and on surfaces. It's the brown gunk in the filter and slime on the walls. Sounds like your tank is probably already cycled, but just so you know, never wash your filter! You can squeeze the sponge/media/cartridge out in dirty tank water, but never clean it because you'll kill all of your bacteria. Similarly, never empty the tank and wash it, just wipe the walls with a sponge if they get cloudy.

Does Kanye flare his gills when he's swimming back and forth? His behaviour sounds like typical betta male patrolling. They're very territorial, so they like to establish a perimeter and keep a close guard on it. As long as he's taking time to rest and doesn't seem too stressed out, he should be fine. I think he's keeping his nose to the walls and brushing against things to help orientate himself. The nose thing is common amongst fish in a new tank tho. Did you know that most fish have no depth perception because of their eye placement? So they have no way to gauge where the tank ends until they get used to it. That's why new fish swim at the walls frequently.

Don't add any shrimp you'd be sad to lose. If he is territorial, and he starts to feel like they're a threat, he will kill them. I went through quite a few cherry shrimp with my Betta Flower until I caught on that he wouldn't kill the less colourful ones
 
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julesb

Oh lord, if Kim couldn't take care of Kanye, no one can.... xD

Okay but seriously, that is one gorgeous fish!

Welcome to fishlore and thanks for reaching out! The nitrogen cycle is pretty simple btw and important to know. You can look it up for more detail, but put simply, it's growing bacteria to eat waste of fish/plants. 90% of it will be in the filter and the other 10% in the gravel and on surfaces. It's the brown gunk in the filter and slime on the walls. Sounds like your tank is probably already cycled, but just so you know, never wash your filter! You can squeeze the sponge/media/cartridge out in dirty tank water, but never clean it because you'll kill all of your bacteria. Similarly, never empty the tank and wash it, just wipe the walls with a sponge if they get cloudy.

Does Kanye flare his gills when he's swimming back and forth? His behaviour sounds like typical betta male patrolling. They're very territorial, so they like to establish a perimeter and keep a close guard on it. As long as he's taking time to rest and doesn't seem too stressed out, he should be fine. I think he's keeping his nose to the walls and brushing against things to help orientate himself. The nose thing is common amongst fish in a new tank tho. Did you know that most fish have no depth perception because of their eye placement? So they have no way to gauge where the tank ends until they get used to it. That's why new fish swim at the walls frequently.

Don't add any shrimp you'd be sad to lose. If he is territorial, and he starts to feel like they're a threat, he will kill them. I went through quite a few cherry shrimp with my Betta Flower until I caught on that he wouldn't kill the less colorful ones

He's actually quite a friendly fish. He only flares when I hold up a mirror to him. I've been on this website for all of a day and I've already learned so many interesting facts! He's named after his attitude (he's pretty sassy lol). He definitely rests and takes breaks throughout the day. I'm really glad that he's exhibiting normal behavior.
 
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Fae

He's actually quite a friendly fish. He only flares when I hold up a mirror to him. I've been on this website for all of a day and I've already learned so many interesting facts! He's named after his attitude (he's pretty sassy lol). He definitely rests and takes breaks throughout the day. I'm really glad that he's exhibiting normal behavior.

That's awesome, yes he does sound very healthy. Bettas can be so sassy and and angri, it's part of their charm imo. Flower is also named after his attitude, but ironically because he is a ball of rage and fire
 
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julesb

That's awesome, yes he does sound very healthy. Bettas can be so sassy and and angri, it's part of their charm imo. Flower is also named after his attitude, but ironically because he is a ball of rage and fire

That's awesome! I love that name! I love symbolic or funny names. He's mostly just sassy and curious. I just saw him open his mouth really wide and close it. Is that normal?
 
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Fae

That's awesome! I love that name! I love symbolic or funny names. He's mostly just sassy and curious. I just saw him open his mouth really wide and close it. Is that normal?

Haha I know exactly what you're talking about! I believe that's what we land-walkers would refer to as a yawn. It's adorable once you know but scary at first!
 
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julesb

Haha I know exactly what you're talking about! I believe that's what we land-walkers would refer to as a yawn. It's adorable once you know but scary at first!

Ohhhh. I feel so dumb on this website. I like it when Kanye opens his mouth and sticks his tongue out. It feels like he's saying "blep"
 
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SchirmerFish

I know it is sad. I have seen people kill there fish when ever there is even the strangest behavior because they do not care.
Bettas change colors my fish used to be all red with some blue but now he is blue with some red. My fish healthy and happy still. I would only be concerned if he starts looking lighter.
 
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Fae

Ohhhh. I feel so dumb on this website. I like it when Kanye opens his mouth and sticks his tongue out. It feels like he's saying "blep"

Shh the only thing that's dumb is when people refuse to learn. Even the people who seem really clever on here started the same way you did, by asking questions

That's awesome, I totally picture it as "AAAOOOGA"
 
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julesb

I know it is sad. I have seen people kill there fish when ever there is even the strangest behavior because they do not care.
Bettas change colors my fish used to be all red with some blue but now he is blue with some red. My fish healthy and happy still. I would only be concerned if he starts looking lighter.

People treat their fish so bad. It's a living animal just like a dog or a human and deserves the same amount of care and repsect.
 
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SchirmerFish

People treat their fish so bad. It's a living animal just like a dog or a human and deserves the same amount of care and repsect.
I know some people only have fish to decorate their house and not for having fish.
 
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julesb

Shh the only thing that's dumb is when people refuse to learn. Even the people who seem really clever on here started the same way you did, by asking questions

That's awesome, I totally picture it as "AAAOOOGA"

It's all so new and confusing. I never even knew there were so many parts and components of taking care of fish. Haha I just want him to be happy.

Also, do you recommend getting cherry shrimp?
 
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Fae

It's all so new and confusing. I never even knew there were so many parts and components of taking care of fish. Haha I just want him to be happy.

Also, do you recommend getting cherry shrimp?

Fish keeping can be as complicated or as simple as you make it. You can take a deep dive into all the technicalities, or just play it on easy and do whatever works for you. As long as you're looking out for your fishes best interest there's no problem with either method.

I love cherry shrimp, so I'm tempted to say yes. But since you have a 2.5g and you've already added ghost shrimp (which can get fairly large), I wouldn't. If you wanted to upgrade to a larger tank, or sell/give away the ghost shrimp, you could definitely get a small colony of cherry shrimp in there. Personally, I think they're a better choice than ghost shrimp, especially for the tank size. And they come in fun colours haha. But I would wait until your tank is older before getting into shrimp any further since they eat the bacteria and algae that only grows with time
 
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julesb

Thank you so much! I think that's a good idea. I'll likely upgrade to a 10 or 20 gallon in December and add some tetras and shrimp and such.
 
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