Pale Spots On Betta?

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Rachel3537

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Good morning all,
I really can't seem to catch a break with my fish...two weeks ago one of my platies died under mysterious circumstances, and now one of my Bettas is showing mysterious pale spots on various parts of his body. Because of finals starting two weeks from now and work, I've been awfully busy, meaning that I haven't been able to keep a closer eye on my fish, but I noticed that my betta had a pale spot near his top fin about three weeks ago. He's a double tail betta and his body is slightly bent at that angle where the pale spot was, so I just brushed it off as the light not reaching that portion of his body. However, the pale spot has grown significantly since then, and now I'm getting worried, and I don't know what could be causing it.

For behavior changes, I noticed that he eats when I'm watching him and close to his tank, but when I turn around or walk away he stops, despite food still being at the top of the water. He's always been a bit lazy, but he's gotten a bit more lethargic the last few weeks, which is also worrying me. Sometimes he sits at the bottom, while other times he hangs out on a leaf that's near the top of the tank.

Here are some pics I took of him before leaving for work. I don't have water parameters at the moment (I was running late for work and could not get them in time) but I do 20% water changes weekly and use 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of API aquarium salt in his tank. He lives alone in a 5.5 gallon tank that is filtered and heated, and the only tools for his tank that is shared with another tank is a gravel vacuum.

Can anyone tell me what is wrong with my fish?
 

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CanadianFishFan

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How long have you had him?
 
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Rachel3537

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CanadianFishFan said:
How long have you had him?
I've had him for a year now. I think he was about a year old when I bought him though.
 

Milliemae124

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He could be changing colour, beautiful betta by the way
 
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Rachel3537

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Milliemae124 said:
He could be changing colour, beautiful betta by the way
Thanks, he's a very pretty boy. And I guess that would make sense. Do Bettas scales often lose their shine when they change color? The pale spots on him are dull, too.
 
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Anyone?
 

live4wetsleeves

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Rachel3537 said:
Sometimes bettas change color. A betta fish may change color for a few reasons, among them stress, illness and age. I would start by double checking all your parameters: ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. All of these can cause stress. If anything is off, or even if it isn't, I'd recommend you do a PWC. It never hurts to do one just to flush some toxins. Another cause of discoloration is age. Much like graying hair in mammals, bettas often lose some of their vivid color as they age. The average life span of a betta is between two and five years, although with proper care healthy fish can live longer. Bettas are translucent when born with almost no color at all. The color generally intensifies until the fish is approximately 2 years old. After that point, the fish may begin to fade to a duller shade, particularly around the mouth and gills. There is also a lesser known genetic trait that causes marbled coloration. Marble coloration in bettas is a result of a mutation known as a “jumping gene." This gene is able to move between the fish’s chromosomes, resulting in an ever-changing color pattern. Marble bettas are just as healthy as fish without the jumping gene but may experience a variety of color changes throughout their lives. Some marble fish start out solid turquoise only to end up a few weeks later with a red-and-white butterfly pattern. It's rare and quite random but has been documented. I would say this is the least likely cause seeing as he hasn't morphed in the year that you've had him, this would indicate age or stress as your culprit. Illness is possible but it presents with a lot more than a minor change in color.
 
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live4wetsleeves said:
Sometimes bettas change color. A betta fish may change color for a few reasons, among them stress, illness and age. I would start by double checking all your parameters: ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. All of these can cause stress. If anything is off, or even if it isn't, I'd recommend you do a PWC. It never hurts to do one just to flush some toxins. Another cause of discoloration is age. Much like graying hair in mammals, bettas often lose some of their vivid color as they age. The average life span of a betta is between two and five years, although with proper care healthy fish can live longer. Bettas are translucent when born with almost no color at all. The color generally intensifies until the fish is approximately 2 years old. After that point, the fish may begin to fade to a duller shade, particularly around the mouth and gills. There is also a lesser known genetic trait that causes marbled coloration. Marble coloration in bettas is a result of a mutation known as a “jumping gene." This gene is able to move between the fish’s chromosomes, resulting in an ever-changing color pattern. Marble bettas are just as healthy as fish without the jumping gene but may experience a variety of color changes throughout their lives. Some marble fish start out solid turquoise only to end up a few weeks later with a red-and-white butterfly pattern. It's rare and quite random but has been documented. I would say this is the least likely cause seeing as he hasn't morphed in the year that you've had him, this would indicate age or stress as your culprit. Illness is possible but it presents with a lot more than a minor change in color.
Thanks for the info! I just did a water change about 1 1/2 hours ago, and checked the water parameters before and after. Unless 10 ppm nitrates can cause stress in fish, I can't say the water parameters are the problem (though I'll probably do more frequent water changes until I can figure out what is going on). I can honestly say that none of the adult bettas I've ever had changed color--if that is what is going on, this is definitely a first! (I do have a baby betta though...when I first got her, she was a transparent grey, but now she's a vibrant purple)
I do know my betta was much older than a juvenile when I got him (I don't know how to determine age in bettas, unfortunately), so I usually just put him around the one year age mark as a starting point. So if I'm right, he may be two years old, if not older. Do you think age may be causing this?
 

live4wetsleeves

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Rachel3537 said:
Thanks for the info! I just did a water change about 1 1/2 hours ago, and checked the water parameters before and after. Unless 10 ppm nitrates can cause stress in fish, I can't say the water parameters are the problem (though I'll probably do more frequent water changes until I can figure out what is going on). I can honestly say that none of the adult bettas I've ever had changed color--if that is what is going on, this is definitely a first! (I do have a baby betta though...when I first got her, she was a transparent grey, but now she's a vibrant purple)
I do know my betta was much older than a juvenile when I got him (I don't know how to determine age in bettas, unfortunately), so I usually just put him around the one year age mark as a starting point. So if I'm right, he may be two years old, if not older. Do you think age may be causing this?
If there aren't any obvious parameter issues then I'd say age is your culprit. Generally when bettas and most other species are sold they're anywhere between 6 months-1.5 years because they are better sellers when their color is developed. Based on the pictures it's just some minor fading. Keep an eye on him and pay attention to behavior. If something changes or his condition suddenly worsens then you know it's something else. I've had fish in the past that started to develop faded spots and then they were gone within the month. (The spots not the fish.)

I'll look back at the pics you provided just to do one more sweep and I'll update this post in a minute or two.

Update: Okay, so it definitely looks like it could be age, especially considering he's more than likely reaching that 2-5 year mark. Just keep an eye on him and update the thread if he shows any symptoms of anything else. If I had to guess, that spot will start to fade and it might blend in a bit better with the rest of his body. As for his funny eating habit, if he is actually eating it's probably nothing to worry about it. Bettas are just funny some times.
Oh! Also as for the lethargy, try changing around the tank decor. Bettas are easily bored and when mine used to get lethargic and lay around he'd perk up when I changed his surroundings to spice things up.
 
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live4wetsleeves said:
If there aren't any obvious parameter issues then I'd say age is your culprit. Generally when bettas and most other species are sold they're anywhere between 6 months-1.5 years because they are better sellers when their color is developed. Based on the pictures it's just some minor fading. Keep an eye on him and pay attention to behavior. If something changes or his condition suddenly worsens then you know it's something else. I've had fish in the past that started to develop faded spots and then they were gone within the month. (The spots not the fish.)

I'll look back at the pics you provided just to do one more sweep and I'll update this post in a minute or two.

Update: Okay, so it definitely looks like it could be age, especially considering he's more than likely reaching that 2-5 year mark. Just keep an eye on him and update the thread if he shows any symptoms of anything else. If I had to guess, that spot will start to fade and it might blend in a bit better with the rest of his body. As for his funny eating habit, if he is actually eating it's probably nothing to worry about it. Bettas are just funny some times.
Thank you so much for your help! I'm so glad it isn't anything serious, he had me worried for a while there.
 

live4wetsleeves

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Rachel3537 said:
Thank you so much for your help! I'm so glad it isn't anything serious, he had me worried for a while there.
Well just keep an eye on him, also I added a little more to my last post regarding the lethargic behavior. If anything changes, update the thread or feel free to direct message me. Also you're so welcome!
 
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live4wetsleeves said:
Well just keep an eye on him, also I added a little more to my last post regarding the lethargic behavior. If anything changes, update the thread or feel free to direct message me. Also you're so welcome!
Thanks for the suggestion, I moved around the decor a bit and added an extra plant and he's already becoming a little more active!
And I'll definitely update the thread if there's any changes in his behavior. Thanks again!
 
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