How to tell if a betta fish is sick?

In this post, we will answer the question “How to tell if a betta fish is sick?”. We will also discuss the general signals of sickness and the most common betta fish diseases.

How to tell if a betta fish is sick?

It is critical to monitor your pet’s development regularly for a variety of reasons, one of which is to detect ailments as soon as they reveal themselves. Always keep a watch out for any changes in behaviour and check with your veterinarian if anything unusual occurs. 

When it comes to pets, keeping betta fish is an excellent choice for folks who have never had one before. This is since he is a low-maintenance pet that requires less effort than other types of fish. 

However, it is an animal that, like all living things, necessitates some level of care to avoid health concerns. Although the betta is regarded as a robust fish, fully ignoring fundamental chores will swiftly take a toll on your pet’s overall health and wellbeing. 

So, to truly give quality of life to your goldfish, you must set a care regimen for them. In this post, you will discover everything you need to know about keeping your betta fish healthy and happy. 

Is it possible to identify the primary causes of sickness in betta fish? 

Betta fish get sick in the aquarium is more often than you might believe, yet many aquarium owners aren’t aware of how to recognize the symptoms of the illness. Read about the most common challenges that this species encounters in the following categories. 

• Quality of the water 

• Fungi 

• Stress

Quality of the water 

Bettas can adapt to a variety of water conditions in the environment, including those with low oxygen levels. As a result, there is a drop in the concern for quality, which has a direct impact on the animal’s overall well-being. 

When there is a high concentration of ammonia, nitrite, contaminants, and germs in general in the water, it is detrimental to the fish. It is necessary to change a portion of the water and clean the aquarium regularly to avoid disease. In larger tanks, the use of a filter might also be beneficial. 


When the water and the aquarium are dirty, there is a high likelihood of fungi growing in the betta’s mouth and gills, which can be fatal. In the aforementioned areas, they appear as little pale tufts of hair. 

Because of the high quality of the water in lakes, fungi can also grow naturally there, in their native habitat, depending on the species. They are, however, a source of concern when they come into touch with fish, and they should not be considered typical in aquariums. 


The betta fish is often referred to as the Siamese fighting fish or the Siamese fighting fish. About the species’ temperament, which turns aggressive when defending its territory, the term was coined. Even though fighting is an instinct, it can result in high amounts of stress, which can be harmful to your health. 

Because of the animal’s impaired immune system as a result of excessive stress, sickness becomes more likely. 

Sickness indicators 

Keep an eye out for colour changes

The physical characteristics of the betta fish are rather interesting. After all, it is a colourful animal that attracts attention even from a distance due to its brilliant and varied colours. The goldfish’s scales becoming dull or even changing colour indicates that something is amiss with the fish’s health. 

Betta fish do not consume food when they are unwell

Another aspect of daily living that must be taken into consideration is food. Under normal circumstances, the betta will quickly consume the food that is presented to him without taking too long. A clue that his health is failing him, on the other hand, is when he begins to consume food in ever smaller volumes. 

To ensure that your pet is not overeating, it is recommended that you serve the same amount of food at each meal. Any alteration will be more easily seen in this manner. 

Floating Betta Fish

Because it does not have the habit of swimming all the time, the betta is considered moderate activity. In either case, watching your goldfish lingering in the corner of the aquarium for an extended period can be concerning. 

Tail with a tattered appearance 

This severe mutilation of its tail is a major signal that the betta is under a lot of stress. It is only when the fish does not have enough space to swim that this aggressive response occurs. As a result, aquariums that are too tiny or overflowing with decorative items cause this species to become sad and hostile.

Embarrassing stains and wounds on the body 

Many different forms of disorders might result in the development of bruises on the scales. Because they are visible from the outside, the owner must be able to recognize any modifications as soon as they occur. 

Betta fish that are sick may have difficulty breathing

Betta fish can survive in water with low oxygen levels, but if the aquarium is not cleaned regularly, breathing issues may be noted in the fish. In this instance, the pet will attempt to get air by rising to the surface of the water frequently.

Betta fish infections

As soon as you notice a problem with your betta fish’s health, the best course of action is to take it to the veterinarian. As a result, you will be able to properly medicate him following the diagnosis. 

Cotton disease

It is possible that cotton sickness, an infection caused by fungi, is causing the microscopic white spots on your pet’s body, and the specialist should check this. This condition is sometimes referred to as ichthyophytyriasis or white spot disease in some circles. 

Velvet disease

A common condition caused by poor water parameters such as dirt, excessive temperatures, and bacteria in plants, oodiniosis (also known as velvet disease) is known as velvet disease. 

This disease is easily distinguished from others because it causes the betta’s scales to change colour. The appearance can be made up of golden or shining spots scattered throughout the body, giving the appearance of a velvet texture.


The organism of the fish suffering from dropsy is in a state of degeneration. Swelling, poor diet, breathing difficulties, and extra fluid in the liver and kidneys are all symptoms of this condition, which is discovered after a series of accumulating problems such as these. 


Betta fish with constipation have a swollen stomach, which can be seen when the fish is examined more closely. Constipation not only produces discomfort in the organ but also causes the animal to lose interest in eating. 

This sickness is caused by overfeeding or by providing an insufficient amount of food for the animal in question. 

What should you do if your betta fish is sick? 

Once you determine your betta fish is sick, you need to start treating the disease right away.

Taking a salt bath 

Many aquarium breeders feel that adding salt to the water is an effective way of eradicating bacteria that may be present in their tanks. This surgery, however, must be carried out with extreme caution to avoid causing more harm to the animal’s health. 

Because it is a native of freshwater, the betta will be adversely affected by a sudden shift in the environment. He is unable to remain in the salt bath for more than a few seconds at a time. 

Change the temperature of the water

Always keep an eye on the water temperature, since even the smallest variation can have a huge impact on the health of your fish. Check to see that the temperatures are reaching 82 degrees. 

Consult with a veterinarian

It is always beneficial to emphasize the necessity of seeking professional advice when it comes to one’s health, which is true for both humans and animals. The characteristics of each individual are unique, and it is inappropriate to make a diagnosis without prior experience, particularly in the case of fish diseases.

Make use of medication 

When it comes to caring for betta fish, antibiotics are put straight into the water. It is vital to follow the dose directions on the container and to always seek the advice of a medical professional who is knowledgeable in the field.


In this post, we answered the question “How to tell if a betta fish is sick?”. We also discussed the general signals of sickness and the most common betta fish diseases.

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

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How to tell if a betta fish is sick

What are the signs of a sick betta fish?

The majority of Betta ailments, on the other hand, are caused by poor water quality or nutrition, so make sure you are doing these things correctly.

What does a betta fish look like when it’s dying?

This means that if you notice that your betta is gasping at the bottom or surface of the tank, that they are pale in colour, that their tail fin is limp, that their eyes are unresponsive, and that their gills are visible, they are most likely in critical condition.

Why is my betta fish acting weird?

Hypoxia, which is commonly caused by a shortage of oxygen in your betta’s water, can lead your fish to swim unusually. Most of the time, they will spend a significant amount of time at the surface of the tank in an attempt to obtain oxygen. However, it can also be brought on by gill illness and anemia in some cases.

Do betta fish get sick easily?

Betta fish are also susceptible to a wide range of freshwater parasites. Because they are housed in groups, they are not usually the source of parasites, but they can become unwell if a parasite enters their system by another fish or an infected plant in their tank.

Do betta fish feel pain?

Fish have the proper anatomical structure to detect pain signals, they create the same natural chemical relievers as humans do, and they deliberately choose to avoid painful stimuli when given the opportunity. Moreover, they are subjected to feelings that we humans may relate to.

Is my betta dead?

When the pupils of your better fish eyes become clouded, it is a sign that the fish is about to die for the majority of bettas. Additionally, when you contact the betta fish, you must ensure that the betta’s gills and mouth are moving. Even if a betta fish is sick, it will breathe gently to keep itself alive. When betta fish die, their skin becomes dry and rigid, indicating that they have died.


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