I've had our betta Thomas for a week now and I have only seen him flare (only his gills for that matter) once at an aquarium figurine who obviously sassed him, lol... the reason why I'm bringing it up here is because I keep seeing things here and there on this forum that some bettas flare (gills, fins, everything!) to say hi, when they're hungry, emotion they're demonstrating when they're happy (seems odd, but OK lol), what have you..
Do some bettas never/seldom flare? My guy doesn't seem the "flare" type.
My boys never flare at me, only each other. And when I only had one, he never flared. Have you tried showing him a mirror? That sometimes works. Otherwise, don't worry. Maybe your boy has a zen personality where nothing bothers him!
Flaring and bubbles nests don't mean happiness. They are just natural instincts that IMO mean the fish isn't sick. My roomies have a fish in a 1/2 gallon bowl that is never cleaned and not heated and he still flares and makes bubble nests.
You aren't alone. My boy has only flared (that I've seen) once. I tried showing him a mirror but he just ignored it. Maybe he would more if he saw another betta but since I only have him (for NOW anyway) I don't know that yet
my delta, Ichi. NEVER flares his gills. he'll spread his fins wide, but won't flare his gills. even his fin spreading seems half-hearted. lol i don't think there's anything wrong with that. Ichi's just a chill dude(he lived in constant sight of my blind HMPK, before Theo died. 24/7 view, unless he wanted to go behind a plant).
Mine flares at everything. He doesn't like the thermometer placed in his tank, flares at the bottle of water I put down near his tank, pencils, pens, the lamp, his mirror, a pad, etc. He likes to defend his territory.
Sometimes I will be working and turn my head and he rushes from the other side of the tank and blow up his gills at me. It's funny.
I got one guy that can't flare. He tries and his fins streach out but the puffy thing doesn't puff up. I tested his ammonia level when i got him and it was a 4, so Im thinking ammonia burn scars are preventing it?