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My Betta seems to have recently developed little black dots on his fins on both sides about a week after moving him from a small bowl to a little Top Fin 2 gallon aquarium with a heater.

He eats pellet style Betta food and lives with a little nerite snail named Reggie. Now these dots may have just gone unnoticed until now, but I feel like they are new. Any ideas as to whether this is disease related?

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  • A two gallon tank is too small for any sort of fish. Since you'll have to move the fish anyway in order to avoid further issues and abusing the animal, you could see whether the dots do away in an appropriate envionment. – Karl Richter Nov 18 '17 at 12:19
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This is a little bit of a mystery and my answer is a collections of possibilities that I've looked at. As you noted in your comment, he is still healthy and active.

Peppering

In Discus and some Angel fish, there is a condition called 'Peppering' where the animal attempts to camoflague itself better by 'peppering' it's body with black dots. This normally happens if the substrate (or tank generally) is dark. In your picture, it appears that you do have a fairly dark substrate but it's unclear whether this condition is caused only by the 'Pigeon Blood' strain of Discus or not.

Cross breeding

Bettas are pretty popular and some fish may not be as pure-bred as others. many enthusiasts have noted that their blue bettas have developed red fins over time. This still seems unlikely that they would be such finely defined spots.

General Water Quality

Check and recheck your water parameters to ensure that you have no ammonia, nitrite and a low level of nitrate (< 40ppm). Water quality can impact what a fish looks like but again, unlikely that it would cause black spots. This doesn't look like fin rot (which is normally indicated by ripped or torn fins exposing the vertebrae).

Next steps?

Monitor the small dots and make sure they aren't increasing in number, changing in size or moving position. Ensure that your water parameters are stable and you're doing all required maintenance.

If there are any changes, you could update your question.

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This may a condition called fin rot. If the fins where the dots are begin to look like they're disintegrating it is indeed fin rot. It's a fungus common in betta and is contagious. The best way to treat this is to isolate the fish in a bare bottom tank (no gravel or decorations) and perform half water changes added a teaspoon of aquarium salt to the water and refilling the tank daily. And for those saying 2 gallons is too small for a betta it is the minimum amount but still an okay amount.

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  • Thanks for the feedback. What is the purpose for the salt? – JFrizz Nov 19 '17 at 13:33
  • @JFrizz Aquarium salt in freshwater aquariums can ease stress, promote the slime coat and help heal wounds. See here for some more info - algone.com/using-salt-in-the-freshwater-aquarium – Cthulhu Nov 21 '17 at 12:42
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    Since I asked this question, the dots are still there, but there has been no fin rot occurring. From what I understand fin rot is a fast moving disease. So I suppose it is just some sort of pigmentation. He seems healthy, is eating, being active, etc. If anyone hears more about this issue, please let me know. – JFrizz Dec 1 '17 at 15:32
  • Fin rot looks very different to this. I believe it's a myth that salt helps fin rot. – Graham Chiu Mar 21 '18 at 6:32
  • @GrahamChiu - If it is a myth, it is a very pervasive one. Almost every reference I see on fin rot recommends it. Of course, it could be chicken soup for fish. :p – JohnP Jun 8 '18 at 18:25
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As Bettas age they can experience pigment changes and this includes black spots on their fins.

There doesn't appear to be any fin rot looking at the ends of the fins, and no red streaks.

I think just enjoy your fish.

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