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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone!

I recently got a betta, and I notice that his fins are not open and taut like most bettas--they are very flimsy, and they don't flare out like they are supposed to. On top of that, my betta also has some white spots on his head and his gills. Is he sick? I asked the guy I bought him from if he is sick and the guy got offended and just told me that it's just that bettas are of different colours and asked if I was paranoid. But I looked up the same colour of betta on google and none of them have white spots on their heads; they're all blue.

I went on a facebook group and asked, and one guy told me I was using active soil and that the pH is too low. So I changed about 50% of the water and put it some baking soda. When I observed, his fins stand up and flares when he stops swimming. Are his fins clamping as well?

I just want to know if I'm taking care of this guy right and he's not suffering. Need all the help I can find. Thanks guys!


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
How many gallons is your tank? 3.4L/0.9 gallon
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What temperature is your tank? 25C/77F
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? Something the store I bought my betta from recommended me.
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Pellets
Freeze-dried? No
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? Once a day, 5 small pellets. I let him fast once a week.

Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? When I bought the betta he already had white spots on his head.
What percentage of water did you change? I recently did a 50% water change and added some baking soda to the water because someone on a betta enthusiast group told me that because I'm using active soil it lowers the pH of the water and it's not good for the fish.
What is the source of your water? Tap water
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? I just take out water
What additives do you use? What brand of conditioner? I'm not home right now so I'm not sure what water conditioner I use.

Water Parameters:
Ammonia: I haven't tested it for ammonia since I dont have an ammonia kit
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: Before water change and w/o baking soda: Less than 6.4, after water change w/ baking soda: 8
Hardness (GH): 0-4
Alkalinity (KH): 4-8

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? A day ago
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? He has looked the same since I bought him four days ago.
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? Nothing noticeable
Is your Betta still eating? Voraciously.
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? Just a water change with baking soda.
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? I don't know.
How long have you owned your Betta? 4 days.
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? His scales were a little red because the owner I bought him from put him with other male bettas and they fought. Since he has been in my tank his scales have grown back. But the white spots on his head and near his gills have been there since I got him. The white spots on his head are very similar to ich/ick from what I've googled. They are round and it looks like white rings.

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Ich looks like tiny grains of sugar or salt. Teeny, tiny. (see photo) Your boy looks more to have a marble gene and the white is his natural coloring. Can you get a close-up of his head? I tried enlarging but it is a bit fuzzy. Still looks like natural coloring but I would like to be sure.

Fish Organism Fish Tail Marine biology

Also, I never, ever mess with the pH. Betta can get used to stable high or low pH (mine live in +/-8.0). However, fluctuating pH can cause a myriad of problems.

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1,297 Posts
It really looks like his natural color, nothing more.When looking at the Questionnaire answers I do take notice to some minor flaws. One: Tank temperature is 77 degrees. Bump it up to between 78-80 degrees Betta require a constant 78 degrees and do well.

Two: water parameters. are unknown. recommend you getting a master test kit. and test every day. Question here is Did you cycle the tank? Answer would be I cant tell because I haven't tested the water. You may have a large Ammonia build up and never realize it. High levels of ammonia, and there are two kinds of ammonia. one is toxic or free ammonia The other is ammonium (non toxic or locked ammonia). When you get a test kit you will find the ammonia test will read both types of ammonia. (or total ammonia) I recommend buying a SeaChem ammonia alert, which only reads toxic ammonia With regular water changes of 25% to 50% once a week you will be able to control the water parameters.

You added baking soda to treat a disease that you may or may not have. (never treat a tank with any chemicals or cures with out knowing what the problem is)
Betta can tolerate a PH level of between 6.0 and 8.6. the recommended PH in any fresh water community tank would be 7.0 (neutral)
I see by the pictures you have posted the tank is planted. This would be the reason for a lower PH. Living plants will lower the PH balance because of the nutrients they use from the tank water. Do not keep trying to change the balance unless the PH balance drops below 6 or goes higher than 8 the plants will take care of that. ( for the most part) and your betta will not be affected.

Reasons for Ick in a tank : First one being when doing water changes you add cold water lowering the tank temperature rapidly. Make sure the water you put in is within one degree +/- of the tank temperature. Using a thermometer while filling a bucket with conditioned water either by using Seachem Prime or API water conditioner. These two products are well used here by others on the forum and recommended. If these are not available any water conditioner that will remove heavy metals and chlorine from the water is needed when changing the water.
Second reason: And this is a very big issue. Ick will be introduced to your tank from outside sources, ie: newly added fish, from a store, or a different tank with a different water parameter. Always float a new fish for at least 1/2 - 1 hour to reach the right temp. in the bag and tank.
If you suspect your new fish could have any type of disease, (do not put them in an established tank with other fish. Use a separate tank (one we call a hospital tank ) and quarantine those new arrivals for at least a week to see if any symptoms develop.
Never treat a single fish in a community tank with chemicals. This could cause the loss of fish that are not infected. Use a hospital tank and follow the directions on the label to the letter.

Ok overload. Start over with the right information from all above and cycle the tank. (you can cycle the tank if you have one betta in it with the fish in.) You need to test daily and do the water changes either every 2-3 days of 25% or once a week (after the tank is cycled) at 50%. Good luck, I know if you follow the answers here you will have a pristine tank and healthy fish.
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