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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've noticed recently that my male betta has been... I don't want to say "aggressive" but he's been fanning his fins and gills at me and doesn't seem to trust me anymore. He's a shy one, but whenever I walked up to his 5 gallon tank he would swim towards me and chase my finger. He would even kiss my finger when I stuck it in the the water :). But like I said, as of recently he's been hiding and flaring at me.

We had this ritual where he would get so excited about his food that I would point to it, and sometimes he would even bite at it if it was on my finger. Last night he swam around my finger several times (all while flaring dramatically) and wouldn't eat the flake until I took my finger out the water.

I've been trying to build up trust with him again but he's not having it. He gets excited about food but then he just swims off and hides from me. I placed a mirror in front of him and he didn't even flare! It's only with me :(

There have been no changes in his fins, his sides are flat and not bloated, he's not swimming sideways, nor is he obese; it's just his personality. Everything else is fine.

Any advice? :(
 

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he probably thinks it is time to breed. I have a male that gets like that when he feels the need to breed. Remember that bettas are territorial fish so any time their territory feels threatened they will flare to show that this is their territory.
 

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I think part of the problem may be that you are anthropomorphizing your fish a bit. Bettas are smart fish, no doubt, but they are still fish and they don't think/reason like you and I do. For instance, he wasn't kissing your finger, he was checking it for food. He knows he can occasionally find some on there, so he swam up to it and tried to get some food off of it.

He likely did not want to eat the flake with your finger in the water because he saw the finger as an intruder to be driven off, to prevent that intruder from eating the food. As Vivian said, bettas are extremely territorial and the slightest provocation can change them from a fish that outwardly appears friendly to one that flares and sees you as an invader.

By chance, is he making a bubble nest?
 

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Tangent: you really should get a quality pellet instead of flake food, flakes can swell in the stomach and cause sbd (same with freeze dried foods).

On topic: I can't recall who it was but someone pointed out that when their betta went through its color change he hid a lot more (before was very social) and went back to normal after he was done with the color morphing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Gah I'm such a dweeb to think he was kissing my finger XP He has been really cranking out bubble nests as of recently. I saw the beginnings of one a few days ago, but now it's gone. He made one last month that took up 1/4 of his tank. I'll stop feeling him flakes :)
 

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Then I'm inclined to agree with Vivian. He is probably getting very territorial because he feels it is time to breed. He should get over this in time.

One note though, don't go out and buy him a girlfriend unless you are prepared to feed, house, and ultimately rehome 100+ betta fry. He'll get over it without mating.
 

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You do appear to be anthropomorphizing him. but that does not mean you can not have a relationship with him that is meaningful to both of you. If you want to think he's kissing your finger, it won't hurt anything to think that.
 
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