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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there! My new betta has some discoloration and what looks like loss of scales on his head. He also had some fin rot and I thought maybe it was part of the bacterial infection. I treated with Seachem Kanaplex and Jungle Fungus Clear and the fin rot has significantly improved and he has new fin growth but the loss of scales/discoloration is still pretty bad so I'm wondering if there is some other factor. Pics and all requested information below:

How many gallons is your tank? - 5gal
Does it have a filter? - Yes - Fluval 20 HOB (previously Aquaclear)
Does it have a heater? - Yes
What temperature is your tank? - 80 degrees
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? - no

What food brand do you use? - Aqueon Pro & Fluval Bug Bites
Do you feed flakes or pellets? - Pellets and Bug Bites
Freeze-dried? - no
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? - 2-3 Aqueon Pellets every 12 hours, 2-3 bug bite pieces once a day

Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? - Every 2 weeks
What percentage of water did you change? - 25%
What is the source of your water? - Tap water treated with Seachem Prime and Imaginatarium Betta Water
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? - Vacuum the Substrate
What additives do you use? What brand of conditioner? - Seachem Prime to treat the water, Seachem Stability when I was first cycling the tank

Water Parameters:
What are your water parameters? Please give exact numbers. If tested by pet store please get exact numbers. "Fine" or "Safe" won't help us help you. Important: Test your water *before* the regular water change; not after one.

I have an API Strips test kit - these are the numbers I am getting:

Ammonia: n/a
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: between 6.5-7.00
Hardness (GH): 60
Alkalinity (KH): 40

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? When I brought him home from the store, I noticed his top fins were a little tight and there were some yellow-ish scales on his head. I thought it was just stress from the small bowl and he seemed better when I first put him in the tank

How has your Betta’s appearance changed? About a week into being in his new tank he cut up his fins on some driftwood. I took the driftwood out but then I noticed the ends of his tail turning reddish and the "shredding" appearance starting to grow. I also noticed some more scale loss on his head and that was starting to turn red too.

How has your Betta’s behavior changed? His behavior has not changed at all, he is a very active fish, an excellent eater and super engaged with me and my husband, follows us around the room and gets excited when we get home from work.

Is your Betta still eating? yes, he eats so well

Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? As soon as I noticed the fins starting to suffer from what appeared to be fin rot, I treated with Seachem Kanaplex and Jungle Fungus Clear. I dosed the Kanaplex 3 times in 2 weeks and the Jungle Fungus Clear 2 times in the same 2 weeks. In between doses of Jungle Fungus Clear I did a 50% water change and after the final dose of medications I did another 50% water change. Since the treatments his fins have really improved and he has new fin growth, unfortunately his scales on his head are still worrisome.

Does your Betta have any history of being ill?[/B][/B] Not that I know of

How long have you owned your Betta? About a month

Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? He appeared to have some yellowish/missing scales and very slightly clamped fins when he was in the bowl in the store but the fins relaxed as soon as he was in the big, clean tank but the scales on his head have gotten worse.


643 Posts
It looks to me like that the streak on his head is simply his natural coloring rather than the result of an injury. Believe it or not, but a streak in that area is very common with some types of colors! A wound would be irregularly shaped and brightly red the first day it happened- I had a betta bang his head up once, and it was unmistakable as anything but an injury. (I'll share the pic if you want to compare, let me know)

In your pictures his fins don't look like they have finrot, just that they're a bit tattered at the ends which is very common in long-finned bettas. His fins look nice and healthy right now.

So my advice would be to stop using any medicines you still have in the tank (you can use new carbon to filter them out) and just increase his water changes from every two weeks to every week in order to help keep him & his fins healthy. You can also add in a tannin source, like India Almond Leaves, Rooibos tea, or driftwood, which helps keep tattered fins clean from infection.

And since your test isn't showing any nitrites or nitrates and you've only had the tank a month, you are almost certainly about to start going through the nitrogen cycle, so be sure to check out the stickies we have on cycling! :)

Super Moderator
18,362 Posts
Agree with @Rana that this is his normal coloration. We see it often in Betta with white or pastel bodies. I also do not see any evidence of fin rot or fins healing from fin rot. It looks more like damage or biting....and, yes, they do bite their own fins.

One thing I note is you don't have a way to test Ammonia. That is the most important test you perform. Get a liquid test (more bang for the buck than strips) and keep track of his tank's Ammonia levels.

Also, a five that is not cycled should have weekly water changes of 25%-50% to keep the water fresh and minerals replenished. We recommend weekly changes on any tank of fewer than 10 gallons.

2 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thank you both so much - I'm so glad it seems like normal coloration, I've never had such a light colored betta before and didn't realize he could change so much! I will definitely be purchasing a more comprehensive test kit! Thank you again!
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