Can a betta fish suffer cold water shock?

In this post, we will answer the question “Can a betta fish suffer cold water shock?”. We will also discuss acclimation time and symptoms of temperature shock in betta fish.

Can a betta fish suffer cold water shock?

Yes, in some cases, when transferring from a warmer bag or tiny tank to an even colder environment, the fish may undergo shock. Even if they’ve grown accustomed to the environment, abrupt temperature reductions can be startling. They can die if the temperature drops too much in a short period. They will most likely live if they do not die and the water temperature is raised, but it is much better to expose them to new habitats carefully to avoid this outcome. 

Recovery from shock 

Betta fish are tropical fish that can go into shock if the temperature drops below 74 degrees Fahrenheit, yet it is more likely for them to respond badly when the temperature drops below 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Dips can happen if you change aquarium water or if the temperature in your home drops low enough to damage the tank. 

If this occurs, gradually add warm water to the tank until it reaches a temperature of at least 74 degrees, then drain and refill the tank. Remember to use a conditioner to eliminate chlorine and chloramines from any water you add. If necessary, relocate the tank to a warmer place. When changing the water in the tank, make sure the fresh water is heated to the same temperature as the old.

Acclimation period

Bettas enjoy temperatures between 75 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore most houses will require a small tank heater to keep them happy. Place a plastic bag over the top of the tank for 20 minutes if your new betta is delivered in one. This will let it become used to its new surroundings. To conclude the operation, lift the sack to the top of the tank, open it, and fill it with half a glass to a cup of the tank, depending on the size of the bag. It is necessary to repeat the procedure at 20-minute intervals until the volume of water in the bag has at least tripled. You can now introduce the betta to its new surroundings.

Preventing illnesses

Another issue that could arise is illnesses. If you want to maintain the health of your current fish, you should isolate bettas in a separate habitat for four to six weeks while closely monitoring them for problems. If no additional fish appear in the aquarium during this time frame, you may present the betta to the other fish in the tank. Similarly, keep other fish away from betta fish already in tanks until they have received new quarantine. For each new environment, use temperature acclimatization strategies.

Appropriate care

While Bettas have earned the reputation of being “fighting fish,” this isn’t always true in all cases. While two male betta fish should not be kept together, it is normally acceptable to have two or more females in the same tank as other fish.

When purchased from a pet store, betta fish may be shown in small glass dishes with only a little quantity of water and a single plant, but this is not an environment in which the fish would survive. These carnivorous fish are unable to thrive because the water surface from which they acquire oxygen is too tiny, and plant roots, contrary to common assumptions, do not provide adequate sustenance for them. Feed them well-balanced fish flakes instead.

Betta fish temperature shock symptoms

Knowing what to look for can sometimes be the difference between saving and losing your betta. As a result, understanding typical betta temperature shock systems is critical for your fish’s health. 

There will be differences in the symptoms of temperature shock based on whether the water has been excessively cold or hot. The below are amongst the most prevalent indications and signs associated with this condition.

Symptoms of cold temperature shock

If the temperature in your aquarium goes below the suggested safe level for bettas, you may observe some or all of the symptoms listed below:


Lethargy is the most prevalent symptom of temperature shock. Fish are cold-blooded, thus they can only receive heat from the water, unlike mammals who generate their heat.

They will typically cease moving if the water is too chilly for them to do so. Because swimming and moving, in general, will be difficult for them in the cold, they will try to avoid it as much as possible.

Resting at the bottom of the tank

Your betta may also choose to rest in the bottom of the tank, which is a frequent sign of health and well-being. This could be because swimming to the surface is too difficult for them, or just a lack of energy. 

Sleeping into a coma 

Your betta may even go into a coma if the temperature drops too low. To save them at this stage, you’d have to move quickly. 

This occurs because your betta’s physiological functions have slowed to the point where he isn’t getting enough oxygen to his brain.

Frequently becoming sick

A healthy betta should only get sick once in a while. In the event that you see a relationship between your betta’s immune response and aquarium temperature, it may be appropriate to boost the temperature.

Symptoms of hot temperature shock

If your betta is exposed to extreme heat in combination with low temperatures, he or she may undergo warm temperature shock. Fortunately, the effects of a hot temperature shock are less severe. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t take action.

Breathing rapidly

Your betta’s fast breathing at the surface of the tank may be one of the first things you notice. Your betta’s breathing should look natural even when it is customary for him to do so from the surface. 

Heat depletes the capacity of water to contain oxygen, which is greater when the water is cold. If you see this, your tank’s temperature is too high.

Staying at the surface

Your betta will attempt to stay close to the surface while also breathing quickly. In most fish tanks, a tiny pocket of highly oxygenated water collects just below the waterline, allowing the fish to breathe easier.

Erratic swimming

Your betta will be swimming irregularly and fast as well. Your betta will have too much energy if the water in his tank heats up too much. 

This could appear to be a positive development, but it is not. This kind of activity will only exhaust your betta. There are several reasons why stress is unhealthy for bettas, but the most important is that it weakens their immune system.


In this post, we answered the question “Can a betta fish suffer cold water shock?”. We also spoke about how long betta fish need to become used to being in the water and the signs of temperature shock. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know in the comments section below!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Can a betta fish suffer cold water shock?

Is it feasible for the betta to recover from the shock?

If you suspect your fish has succumbed to a cold temperature shock, try to warm the water as quickly as possible. If it starts moving again after a few minutes, you’ve just saved its life. 

What if the water is too cold for a betta fish to survive?

Keeping your betta fish in cold water will not cause it to die instantly. However, because you’re depriving them of their optimal living environment, they won’t be able to stay healthy or survive for more than six months. When tropical fish are housed in cold water, they become susceptible to a variety of life-threatening infections.

What is the best way to cure temperature shock in betta fish?

Temperature shock is best treated by lowering the temperature to a safe level. Take it slowly at first. If you add hot water to your Betta’s tank after he or she has been shocked with cold water in an effort to bring the temperature back down, you will almost certainly make matters worse for the fish.

What is causing my betta fish to remain still but still breathing? 

If they’re on the bottom and breathing heavily, they’re most likely suffering from ammonia poisoning. It could be a cold shock, swim bladder disease, they’ve died, or they’re asleep if they’re on the bottom and not moving. It could be that he’s sleeping or that he’s suffering from constipation or swim bladder disease. 

What is the best way to get my betta fish aquarium to heat up?

You’ll need to put a heater in a betta’s tank to keep the water warm. You can utilize the submersible 7.5-watt warming pad if the tank is less than 2.5 gallons. For tanks larger than 2.5 gallons, a submerged tank heater rated around 25 and 50 watts should be used.

What does a shocked fish look like?

When fish are stressed, their swimming patterns can become strange. If your fish is swimming erratically and not getting anywhere, if it is bashing into the bottom of its tank, rubbing itself against grit or stones, or if it is locking its fins at its side, it may be agitated.



Betta Temperature Shock Symptoms And Treatment –