Do betta fish shed scales?

In this article, we will answer the question “Do betta fish shed scales?”. We will also discuss possible reasons why your betta fish is shedding scales.

Do betta fish shed scales?

No, healthy fish do not moult or lose their scales on their own, as the straightforward answer to that question demonstrates. Betta fish, unlike snakes, do not require their skin to be shed to permit new development. Scales and skin of fish develop in tandem with the animal’s growth. 

Betta fish, on the other hand, do not moult on a seasonal basis. When the seasons change, dogs and cats sweat more frequently to keep up with the changing light levels and temperatures. During this process, the animal’s soft, fluffy undercoat is shed and replaced with a new one, which is thicker in the fall to help keep the creature warm in the winter and thinner in the spring to help the creature avoid overheating in the summer. 

For this reason, you’ll notice that cats and dogs can cover your furniture and rugs with an abundance of fluffy hair during the spring and fall seasons. That is not the case with your betta fish. In the steady temperature of a cold-blooded fish’s environment, there is simply no need for the fish to modify its coat colouration. Consequently, if you find that your fish has a few scales missing or looks to be “moulting,” this indicates that something is wrong and that you need to solve the issue.

Why do betta fish lose scales?

1.    Physical injury

Heater burns

When it comes to betta fish, it is normal to practise utilising an aquarium heater. It comes with a protective cover that protects the heater from damage. Because the fish are being protected from being burned by the aquarium heater, this procedure must be carried out. 

It is conceivable, however, that the protective sleeve will become damaged or that it will fall off entirely throughout the game. When this happens, it has the potential to burn the flesh of the fish upon contact. 

A fish being burnt by an aquarium heater, on the other hand, is a very unusual occurrence, although it does happen from time to time. Most often, a trapped betta fish becomes wedged between the aquarium glass and the heater element, resulting in a severe burn. 

Even though burns produced by an aquarium heater are rare, they nearly always result in serious injury if they do occur. If the burn is severe enough, the fish will either lose its scales or die as a result of the wound caused by the burn. If the burn is not severe enough, the fish will die. As a result, you must inspect your heater to ensure that it is in working order.

  • How to treat heater burn

Depending on the degree of the burn, there are two options available to treat it. 

1. Using salt to heal the burn – This will help to avoid secondary infection from occurring. 

2. If the burn is minor, it is possible to let it heal on its own.

3. Applying Povidone-iodine medicine to the burn region, or applying Stress Coat, which forms an artificial layer of mucus over the scale loss area, will help the wound heal more quickly. Additionally, it has the potential to prevent subsequent infections. 

When a cut looks to be too deep and prevents the fish from swimming or moving, it is advisable to let the fish die rather than attempting to save it. The fish’s wound will first develop with each passing day, and it will finally succumb to its ailments as a result of its injuries. 

The therapy indicated above may be worth a try if, however, you examine the burn wound and notice that the fish is swimming and moving normally. A burn should be treated immediately when it develops in order to avoid subsequent infection.

  • How to avoid heater burn

There are two options for avoiding it. One method involves the use of additional heater protection, while the other involves the use of a filter that has an inbuilt heater. 

Sharp objects can cause injury

Never put any moving equipment in the aquarium since it may create stress for the fish. When fish are anxious, especially when they are alone in the tank, they are more likely to suffer health problems. 

There is a possibility that the betta fish is rubbing its scale against a decorative object, such as hard pebbles or a plant surface, causing the scale to come off. 

Betta fish aggression is one of the most common sources of physical damage in aquariums, and it is also one of the most difficult to control. Such fish have the potential to hurt individuals if they strike them repeatedly in the stomach. This may result in the loss of scales.

Tankmates fights

Avoid putting highly aggressive fish in the same tank as peaceful fish if possible if you want to avoid this sort of behaviour from occurring. It is also important not to have any sharp items in the aquarium to minimise scale loss. 

An aquarium full of fish would make them happy, and they’d take pleasure in their surroundings. Remove any ornamental items till the betta fish is in a healthy state.


This does not rule out the potential of incorporating decorations or caverns into the tank’s structure. Most of the time, they have jagged edges. You must, however, take precautions to ensure that your fish do not become injured by the decorations.

2.    Water Quality Problem

Water must be free of contaminants and have the necessary amounts of nourishment and oxygen. The fish suffer from a variety of health problems as a result of the contaminated water. 

Excessive levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, as well as a pH that is too low or too high, indicate poor water quality, which can lead to scale formation. Therefore, you must test the water regularly to ensure that all of the criteria indicated above are functioning at their ideal levels.

3.    Infections

In some cases, common aquarium fish illnesses such as bacterial and fungal infections might result in the loss of a few scales on a betta fish.

Your infected fish may lose a few scales here and there throughout his body, or the scale loss may occur in vast sections over the fish’s body. The betta may brush or flick against solid items in the tank in an attempt to alleviate the discomfort caused by parasites such as Ich or flukes in some instances. That, too, has the potential to displace a few scales.

Infectious Protrusion

Infectious Protrusion Illness (also known as Scale Shedding Disease) is a kind of infectious protrusion disease. The illness, which is caused by bacteria, first manifests with symptoms that are similar to dropsy in that the fish’s scales protrude like a pinecone from the fish’s body. Scale loss occurs as the condition continues, and the fish eventually dies from the sickness. 

Bettas suffering from this condition also exhibit laborious breathing and become extremely sluggish, spending most of their time lying about on the substrate or hiding away in caves or below plants. Happily, for aquarium owners, the majority of minor fish infections may be treated with an over-the-counter medicine available at your local pet store or through your veterinarian.

Do betta scales grow back? 

Yes, the scales on your fishy friend’s body will ultimately regrow. Having said that, if your betta is unwell with an illness or sickness, there is no assurance that all of the scales will regenerate healthily. The length of time it takes for the scales to regrow varies depending on the particular fish, its age, and the cause of the scale loss. Scales might be lost for several weeks or months.

How long does it take for the scales to grow back?

Depending on the species of fish, the process of regrowing the scales to their usual size might take anywhere from weeks to several months. In most cases, the scale decays slowly, and each scale is gradually replaced by the next one. 

Some fish take more time to develop their scales than others. You should ensure that the water is clean and that nutritional food is provided, all while ensuring that they are kept in a safe and healthy environment. Keep in mind that if the fish is stressed or feels poorly, it may take longer for the scales to regrow.


In this article, we answered the question “Do betta fish shed scales?”. We will also discuss possible reasons why your betta fish is shedding scales.

If you have any thoughts or doubts, feel free to drop us a comment below!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Do betta fish shed scales?

What is causing my fish’s scales to fall off? 

The scales of a fish should be smooth, rest flat on the body, and be free of breaks. Scale loss can occur as a consequence of physical damage, such as when a fish crashes into something or is handled roughly, parasites, a problem with the water’s quality, or skin illnesses. A reddish region will be present if there is an infection, as may other indications such as swelling. 

Do fish shed their scale regularly? 

Scales are not shed by fish in their normal state. In contrast to reptiles, fish grow bigger and do not moult, instead of maintaining the same number of scales throughout their lifetimes. When conditions are normal, fish scales serve to defend the fish against predators, sickness, and physical injury. When a fish sheds, it is usually a symptom of pain, injury, or illness in the animal. 

What is causing my betta’s scales to become black? 

Stress, old age, accidents, and disease are all possible causes of colour loss in your betta. It is also possible for Bettas to lose colour on their own, especially if they carry the marble gene. If your betta’s skin is becoming black, you shouldn’t be too concerned unless they’re exhibiting other symptoms of sickness as well.

For how long does it take for fish scales to regenerate? 

If the damage isn’t too serious, the goldfish scales can recover in as little as two months after being damaged. After a week or two, you’ll be able to observe the wound healing. If the water quality is maintained, the scales will gradually return to normal after two months. 

What can I do to make my betta more colourful? 

Begin by placing your betta fish near a light source. Their hues will get more vivid and darker as a result of the exposure to light. Betta fish colour-enhancing food, which can be obtained at most pet stores, should be fed to them. This food may also be available at local stores that have a dedicated pet area. 

Is it possible for fish to feel pain? 

It has been demonstrated by a substantial amount of scientific data that fish can sense pain. Long-held ideas that fish may be handled without concern for their wellbeing are challenged by their sophisticated neurological systems, as well as by how they react when they are damaged.


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