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I have had my male betta fish (his name is Socks and I love him very much) for over 2 months now, but just 2 days ago, he has started getting aggressive. He has been continuously flaring his gills at all sides of the tank.

I have not changed any aspect of his surroundings, the lighting and color of the tank background are the same. I did a 100% water change using my regular methods, but he's still flaring his gills at everything.

I'm getting worried because I've never seen him flare his gills at the reflection before, and he's been doing it nonstop for almost 2 days. His back (caudal) fins seem to be getting a little ragged, maybe from swimming around and thrashing so much. But I do not see any signs of ich or velvet. I tried to switch out the background paper colors/designs, and even added/took out some toys, but he didn't stop flaring.

What should I do?? I don't want him to stress out too much.

Any suggestions or tips would be helpful, thanks so much!!
 

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Mine did that when I first got him, but it was only at the back portion of the tank which is black plastic. He flared so much he ended up tearing his tail. I bought some plastic craft mesh and put that up so he can no longer see himself. He calmed down instantly and became an entirely different fish. You could try something like that, and see if that helps. Maybe start by covering three sides of the tank and slowly removing one at a time to see where it is that the reflection is causing him the most stress.

Another thing I tried was to suction cup silk plants to sides of the tank to cover the areas where he was flaring the most. This worked for a bit, but he knew where the reflection was and would force his way through the find it, so it ended up not working out for me. But maybe it will for you. Hope this helps!
 
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