First let me just say I'm so glad to be a part of this forum, so I can see,learn, and complain about all things Betta related.
Anyway, I had a whole 2 pounds of gravel in my tank since I had it. I just took out the majority of it and left only enough to cover the bottom. It seem like no matter how much I cleaned the tank it look like there was a lot of dust and mess in there. So I took out the extra gravel and put it in a Ziplock bag and noticed how much food/poop/who knows what else. Now the water is crystal clear, and he has some more swim space, it also looks like a strangers tank. I realize at this point I'm just ranting (I'm Irish it's in my blood). Before every time I changed his water he would have little specks of the gravels paint on him. But back to the question Am I better off with out the extra, and could the abnormally amount of particles in his tank be caused by all the extra gravel.