07 Signs of A Dying Betta Fish & Basic Treatments (Photos Included)

Betta fishes don’t have a long  lifespan compared to other pets, such as cats and dogs. Their average lifespan is anything between 2-5 years. However, there have been rare cases where betta fish live for ten years in captivity. 

Even so, we all want our pets to live long and enjoy life with us. Therefore, it is our responsibility to care for our pets and ensure they live for as long as possible.

Despite our care for our betta fish, sometimes they die without us even knowing they are sick and about to die. For this reason, we came up with this article to help you understand when your betta fish is sick and might be dying. 

By the end of this article, you will differentiate between a dying betta fish from a healthy one. Keep reading.

Cute Reptiles as Pets x
Cute Reptiles as Pets

Seven (07) Betta Fish Dying Signs

07 Signs of a dying betta fish
07 Signs of a dying betta fish

Betta fishes don’t quickly get sick unless in cases of negligence. Proper care can guarantee a maximum lifespan for your betta fish. 

It is because most betta fish health issues are a result of human-made errors. Therefore, if you provide proper care for your betta fish, you can be sure to live with it for a long time.

Even so, sometimes death is inevitable, and we still find our favorite pets dying unnatural death. 

Here is a list of a dying betta fish signs

  • Lack of appetite 
  • Hiding 
  • Excessive resting 
  • Discoloration in their bodies
  • Strange swimming movements
  • Fin rot
  • Unnatural floating
hiding is one symptom to tell betta fish is sick or about to die
hiding is one symptom to tell betta fish is sick or about to die

How to Tell If your Betta Fish is Sick?

Betta fishes are hardy and rarely get sick with proper care. However, they still get ill and sometimes die when you least expect it. 

Luckily, you can prevent the most common illnesses of betta fish. Therefore, it is critical to identify an ailing betta fish for early diagnosis and treatment.

In this section, we will discuss some of the common signs of an ailing betta fish. Keep reading to stay knowledgeable!

You might also love to know some signs of a dying pet puffer fish.

Signs of a Sick Betta Fish

Do you noticed any abnormal signs from your betta fish?
Do you noticed any abnormal signs from your betta fish?

Several signs can tell you when your betta fish is sick. Let’s look at some of those ailing signs.

Loss of appetite 

Sick betta fish may completely lose their appetite. Therefore, it would be good if you had a record of how much your betta fish eats.

And report any decline of your betta fish appetite to your vet doctor immediately.


Sick betta fishes tend to get less active when they are sick. However, stress can also cause lethargy exceptionally due to high temperatures. 

Therefore, if you see your betta fish getting lethargic or staying at the bottom of their tank for a long time, it can be a sign of sickness.

And, please consult your vet doctor for a diagnosis.

Betta’s Fin Rot

Fungal infections affect betta fish’s fins causing holes or rips. The fins may also appear clamped and not fanned out properly. 

Therefore, please report any sign of abnormality in your betta fish’s fins. 

Remember that treatment depends on how fast you treat your betta fish. A delay in treatment can easily kill your betta fish.

Read more at: https://www.justanswer.com/pet/elc9k-betta-fish-fin-rot-looks-patch.html

Faded Coloring 

Your betta fish can lost its color when sick
Your betta fish can lost its color when sick

Sick betta fish tend to start losing their color. If left untreated, they sometimes lose their color altogether.

White Spots 

White spots around the head and mouth are a sign of parasite invasion.  Those parasites are known as ich and sometimes may attack your betta fish and later cause illnesses.

Luckily, it is easy to eliminate those parasites by increasing the tank’s temperature to 820F. 

Breathing Problems 

Betta fishes will typically go on top of their tank to get more air.  However, if the habit becomes more frequent, it can be a sign of illness.

Therefore, if your betta fish seem to be staying long at the top of their tank, it means they are experiencing difficulty in breathing. 

Difficulty in breathing is a sign of sickness that you should never ignore in your betta fish.

Rubbing or scratching against objects

If you see your betta fish scratching or rubbing against the tank, rocks, or plants, it is a sign of illness that you should not ignore.

Therefore, it is critical to observe your betta fish’s daily habits to notice this kind of behavior.

Physical symptoms 

Cloudy eyes, inability to close their gills, raised scales, and bulging eyes are all signs of sickness in betta fish. 

It is, therefore, critical to know how your betta fish looks in their health. This way, you can quickly tell when they might be sick through their change in physical appearance.

Can You Treat a Sick Betta Fish?

Can You Treat A Sick Betta Fish?
Can You Treat A Sick Betta Fish?

Betta fishes may have a short life span, but they may live their entire lives without getting sick with proper care. 

Most illnesses are directly related to poor diet and dirty habitat. Therefore, you can provide a proper diet and keep their tank clean to keep them from getting ill.

But, if your betta fish gets sick despite your proper care, don’t get overly worried, as you can efficiently treat most of those illnesses.

Most betta fish owners lose their pets only when they don’t discover their sickness during the early stages. 

But, if you are keen and observant about your betta fish, it is impossible not to tell when they are sick.

 Sick betta fish get lethargic, and their physical appearance may change depending on the ailment.

Some sicknesses may require medical attention, while you can treat others at home.

The Ill Symptoms That You Can Treat At Home

Some illnesses in betta fish are a result of stress due to improper habitation.  Thus, all you have to do is improve their living conditions, and they fully recover.

Let’s look at some illnesses that you can treat at home.


Constipation is one of the most common conditions in betta fishes. Luckily, you can efficiently treat it at home.

But, if left unattended for quite some time, it weakens your betta fish immune system making them more vulnerable to other illnesses.

Poor diet is the primary cause of constipation. Lack of exercise can also cause constipation to betta fish.

You can quickly tell your fish is suffering from constipation if it’s having a bulging stomach and its feces are floating on the tank.

There are three principal ways to treat constipation in betta fishes.

  1. Starve it for at least two days. 
  2. Feed it with boiled pea or daphnia
  3. Isolate the fish and add one tablespoon of Epsom salt per five gallons of water.

Better Fish Ich 

Betta fish ich is a parasite that attacks betta fish.  You can tell your fish is being invaded by ich if you see white spots around your betta fish’s mouth and head.

Luckily, ich parasites are pretty sensitive to temperature and can quickly die at the rise of temperature.

Therefore, to eliminate those annoying parasites, you only have to increase the aquarium temperature moderately.

820F is enough to kill ich without harming your betta fish in any way.

Swim Bladder    

The swim bladder is a bacterial infection that affects the betta fish’s ability to swim. Betta fishes experience the ability to maintain balance when swimming.

As a result, betta fish swim on one side or upside down. They may also have problems swimming to the bottom or top of the aquarium.

The swim bladder is also treatable at home, as all you have to do is move the affected fish to a shallow tank. 

The water should only be above its top fin. Additionally, you should treat the water with antibiotics and routinely change the water until the fish recovers.

Betta Fish Fungal Infections 

Damage to betta fish’s slime coat is the primary cause of fungal infection. You can tell if your betta fish has a fungal infection if it appears as if wearing cotton. 

It requires you to add fungicide in your fish’s enclosure to treat it from fungal infections. 

In severe cases, you may have to treat your fish with gentian violet or methylene blue.


It is yet another parasitic infection that affects betta fish.  Your betta fish may appear gray to gold. 

Velvet infection may be difficult to notice unless under good lighting. To treat velvet from your betta fish, you can increase your fish’s aquarium temperature to 820F. 

Fin Rot

Fin rot is a bacterial infection that comes as a result of impoverished habitation. When betta fish owners fail to provide clean water to their pet, their fish get stressed.

As a result, the fish’s immune system becomes weak, causing it to suffer from fin rot.

A delay in treatment can lead to death. Thus, to save your betta fish from dying from fin rot, you need to change the water regularly.

Additionally, you will need to use tetracycline to treat the initial bacteria and anti-fungal to prevent secondary infection.

When you need A Vet

Visiting a vet when your fish is ailing might not be as simple as taking other pets such as dogs and cats.

Only a few vets specialized in fishes, and you might not find one in your area.

Therefore, before deciding to visit the next-door vet clinic in your area, you need to book an appointment to ensure your fish will be on their list.

Luckily, you can treat most fish illnesses at home. In most cases, when you visit a vet for betta fish, the first examination will be on your pet’s husbandry conditions.

However, if your fish looks sick and home treatments are not working, you may need to visit the vet.

The easiest way would be to look for an online vet near you and book a prior appointment.

How to Prevent Sickness in Betta Fish?

It would be best if you predominantly housed Betta fish alone. Thus, it may not be easy for them to contact other types of fish diseases. 

However, they are not susceptible to diseases, especially those related to poor husbandry. 

It is still possible to keep them healthy and free from diseases if you follow these simple rules.

Always Clean Their Tank

Dirty water and accessories are a primary cause of most betta fish diseases. Therefore, you have to ensure that you change your betta fish’s aquarium water at least once per week.

Additionally, you should thoroughly clean the accessory that you may need to add to your betta fish aquarium. 

This way,   you minimize any chance of adding contaminated accessories to your betta fish’s aquarium.

Proper Nutrition

Betta fishes are carnivorous. Thus, their diet should comprise high levels of protein. 

The most common known food for betta fish is the flakes. However, flakes are not the best food to feed your betta fish daily.

On the contrary, live foods make the best diet for betta fish. However, they are expensive and rare to find. 

Therefore, you can offer flakes and occasionally offer live food to balance your betta-fish diet.

Buy Their Feed from Trusted Sources

Last update on 2021-05-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It would be shameful to give proper care for your betta fish and then suddenly provide contaminated food, causing harm.

Therefore, the only and best way to ensure that your fish’s food is safe is by getting it from a trusted source.

Quarantine your Better Fish

Last update on 2021-05-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The other way of spreading diseases in betta fishes is through contact with other sick fishes.

Therefore, you should ensure to isolate any new or sick fish to prevent spreading diseases.

Read more: what is fish quarantine period?

Proper Temperature

Inadequate temperatures can kill or cause stress to your betta fish.   Too cold water will kill your betta fish, while too hot water will cause stress and fast aging to your betta fish.

Therefore, it is critical to maintain a proper temperature of 75-800F for your betta fish to keep them safe and happy. 

Wrapping Up

Betta fishes are beautiful and come in vibrant colors.   As a result, they are common pets amongst aquarium hobbyists. 

Luckily, they are easy to maintain. And, with proper care, betta fish can live a life free from diseases. 

It is the responsibility of pet owners to ensure that their pets are healthy and happy in captivity. 

In return, they comfortably exhaust their lifespan and give happiness to their owner. 

Therefore, you need to properly take care of your betta fish by maintaining a proper diet and clean habitation for them to live full and happy.

Last update on 2021-05-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

We wish you all the best!

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