I recently rescued a betta fish from a friend of mine (after months of pestering her about him... and telling her about the 10 gallon tank I'd put him in ;) ).
Can two years of HORRIBLE water quality result in minor scale loss? She changed his water once every 2-3 weeks in a container that holds a liter of water. Two scales have come loose and fallen off of the fish, and I see another one that is loosening and may fall off soon. I'm thinking that maybe all the ammonia caused damage/burns, and to his body the only way of fixing that damage is new growth? A lot of the scales around his face and gills do look frail, and kind of crinkly like overused paper. Ammonia burns? Hard to tell color, since he's dark red.
I have inspected him like fifteen thousand times with a Maglite (super bright flashlight) and do not see any other marks or discolorations.
He is looking and acting LOADS better in general. He still eats (I started feeding him a bit today - he'd been fasted for five days), amazingly, and does not appear to have any other issues besides mild SBD. He's starting to have normal buoyancy and is actually floating now and almost swimming normally (YAYAYAY!). He's being treated in water steeped with dried oak leaves and 1 tsp/gal Epsom salt, floated in his 80 degree tank while it cycles.
I am completely amazed and excited that he seems mostly well after all that he's been through. He spends most of his time on the bottom of his QT container, but now he's starting to perch upright on his fins, rather than lay half on his side. Once in a while, he swims around a bit and I can tell he's not working as hard to stay float. :)
I just want to make sure that his scale issues are not signs of anything.
The whitish mark behind his head is a loose scale. I guess the white stuff is the slime coat on that scale? It's like a flake of white that's over top of the scale.
The mark behind that is a missing scale, as is the one above his gill, which you can see in the first and last pictures.