Fredrick is a supplier of pet food and care products, and he’s a true animal lover. He loves to write about dogs, bettas, bees, and pigeons.
Betta fish have delicate bodies that are vulnerable to injuries and infections. These two factors can cause scale loss which exposes the fish to more health problems. And in case you didn’t know, scales protect fish from predators and harsh environment, and also help with movement.
In this article, I will discuss the reasons for the loss of scales in betta fish. I will also discuss how to deal with the problem and how to prevent it in the future.
1. Your Betta Has Been Physically Injured
This is the most common cause of the loss of scales in bettas, and it can be due to the fish scraping themselves against sharp or rough objects in the tank. It can also be due to the harsh handling of the aquatic pet.
To prevent this problem, you need to ensure that all the objects in the tank are not sharp or rough enough to bruise your fish. In addition, you need to be very careful when handling the fish to avoid dislodging their scales.
2. Your Fish Has Been Burned by the Heater
Some heaters can become so hot to the extent of burning the betta skin and causing scale loss. This can really be dangerous because there is the formation of a wound that exposes the fish to infections.
To avoid this problem, you need to use only high quality heaters that are right for your tank. There are fake or low quality heaters out there that heat excessively, and they should be avoided at all costs. For any burned betta, you need to condition the water and keep it super clean to avoid infections.
3. There Is a Problem With Water Quality
Water that is of poor quality can cause an unbelievable number of health problems to your fish. Water with high levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate and low or high pH is of poor quality and can be corrosive to the scales of your aquatic pet.
Therefore, it is recommended to use only high quality water. You need to occasionally test the water to ensure that the above parameters are at their optimum levels. You can also use conditioners to deal with water hardness and high levels of chlorine. I usually use the API Betta Water Conditioner which is quite effective in neutralizing chemicals that harm fish. It also reduces inflammation and many other health conditions that affect fish.
4. They Have a Fungal Infection
A fungal infection causes white fuzz films and cotton-like growths which can weaken the scales and even pull them out. This infection is common around the fins and tail and on the ventral side.
Fungal infections result from injuries and other infections, and you need therefore to always treat your betta when they get wounds or bacterial and viral diseases. Other things like changing the water regularly can help with fungal infections.
5. They Have Furunculosis
Furunculosis is an infection that causes open red sores and ulcers on the skin of fish. It deteriorates the skin and weakens the scales, and if it is not treated early, it can lead to the loss of scales and even death.
The disease can be prevented by improving the water quality. You need to change and condition the water regularly to keep it clean. As for the treatment, you can use medications that contain tetracycline, ampicillin, and kanamycin. For other betta infections, you can check out this article on common betta diseases and how to prevent and treat them.
6. They Have Been Attacked by Anchor Worms
Anchor worms feed on the skin of fish and cause wounds that can worsen and lead to the loss of scales. These parasites are common near the tail and fins, and other parts of the body that accumulate dirt.
To prevent these worms in your tank, you need to keep the water clean–change and condition it regularly. For any affected betta, you can use tweezers to remove the worms and treat the wound.
7. They Have a Hole in the Head
This is the most common cause of the loss of scales on the head of a betta fish. The condition starts as a small abrasion and continues to erode the affected area knocking off scales and creating a hole.
To deal with this condition, you need to keep the water and any objects in the water clean, and also remove any activated carbon. Concerning the treatment, you can use medications that contain metronidazole.
8. It's Due to Natural Causes
Loss of scales in Betta fish can also occur without the influence of injuries or infections—just due to natural causes. Things like old age and a new environment can make fish shed a few scales and even change color a little bit.
If your fish is losing scales due to natural causes, you should not worry so much, but you should monitor them carefully to see if there are any signs of ill health. When moving the fish to a new environment, it is advisable to acclimatize them to keep them at ease.
That’s it. It is highly likely that your betta is losing scales because of one or more of the factors discussed above. I am hopeful that you will find the exact reason(s) and act accordingly to save your fish, and also prevent the problem in the future.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2021 Fredrick aka JS