Q: CL wrote,
I have a Betta, my first fish. He is in a three gallon tank that has a filter and light. It’s the Eclipse System Tank and has a replaceable carbon filter. I feed him freeze dried blood worms. I see that after looking at your blog that is not good and I am changing that to frozen. He is a beautiful deep purplish blue with a black velvet head. Well, until two days ago. I noticed his top fin feathers changed to white then seem to get bigger and looked rather lavender but still edged in white. His black head first started getting golden rings around his eyes. Now today his head looks like it has reddish spots almost like he rubbed it off. I put in Betta Fix last night in his tank. After looking over your blog I am not sure I doing the right thing. He swims, begs for food and seems happy but he is looking rather shabby. I also read in your blog to take out the carbon filter before treating the water but I didn’t do that because I didn’t know until today that I should have done that. Will that hurt him more? (I was also overfeeding him) Someone said maybe he was conditioning.
Your blog has helped me in so many ways. It is wonderful and I sure thank you for your time and caring.
A: Thanks for writing in. Looking at the photos and description you provided I can’t tell for certain that anything is really wrong. The whitish/purple coloration on the fins and red coloring on the head could certainly be indicative of natural coloration. It’s very common for a Betta’s coloration to change shortly after you bring him home. When the fish goes from cold dirty water at the store and is placed in a clean warm environment their true colors begin to intensify in their vibrancy and often the change can be quite drastic. I have observed this color change happen anywhere from the first couple of days up to a month or more after arrival. As Bettas age, their color changes as well so you may notice even more surprises over the next year. When the fish reaches the end of his natural life you may again notice the color changing but this time it will become dull and faded.
Just to be on the safe side, I recommend doing the usual water tests just to make sure there isn’t anything off. It’s good to do them regularly anyway, especially when the tank is just getting established. The most important tests for your set up are ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, gh and kh. For more information on water parameters visit: All About Water
To touch on your feeding question, frozen blood worms are a great source of food but alone they don’t make a complete and balanced diet. The freeze dried ones aren’t all bad but they can cause constipation if overfed and tend to hold in water. Just be careful to only feed a couple at a time and soak them in a cup of tank water for 10 minutes or so before feeding. You may want to mix in a couple of other types of food just to make sure your Betta is getting a good variety. For food ideas check out the Feeding page on Nippyfish.net.
Thanks for your email and congratulations on your first Betta.
Photos provided by original emailer