What are the signs that your betta fish is dying?

In this post, we will explain the signs that your betta fish is dying. We will also outline what you can do to help the betta fish.

What are the signs that your betta fish is dying?

Signs like laborious breathing, weight loss, lethargy, increased scales, glazed eyes, and discoloration are common in bettas that are near death. It is terrifying when you observe the fish is not doing well in agony. Observing your betta’s behavior and look might help you determine whether or not it is nearing the end of its life. Infections and improper water conditions are the most common causes of these problems.

Is Your Betta Fish Dying? 

Because fish are unable to talk, this issue is relevant. As a result, their health can only be assessed by studying them. If you know what to look for, you may easily see the signs of a dying fish.

Breathing Effort

One of the most prevalent symptoms is a fish struggling to breathe. You don’t have to be concerned if your bettas are panting for air since the oxygen level is low. For this problem, you may easily raise the oxygen levels in the tank to improve their position.

Only when the tank is overflowing with oxygen does labor breathing become an issue. This means the betta is not able to take in the air due to an underlying issue, such as a problem with its gills.

As soon as the betta is gasping for air and its gills are not just inflamed but moving at a rapid rate,[1] the creature is nearing its dying days.

A complete essay has been dedicated to explaining the quick and heavy breathing that is characteristic of betta fish. So if that’s the case in your tank, I strongly encourage you to investigate it.

The essay will assist you in determining if the phenomenon is due to external or internal factors.

Loss of Pounds

It’s not always necessary to be concerned with weight reduction on its own. There are various reasons why bettas might lose weight; stress is one of the most common.

When the bettas in question continue to shrink even though you are feeding them every day, weight loss becomes a significant issue. People who have watched their fish devour the food they put in the tank tend to worry about this occurrence.

To put it another way, the fish’s decrease in weight seems illogical. Lethargy is usually present at the same time as this symptom. Eventually, the fish will succumb to starvation and death as they lose weight. In most cases, it could be caused by a parasite.


It’s alarming when betta fish exhibit sluggish behavior. Even more worrisome is a betta that has completely stopped moving, particularly if the animal is showing further signs of stress.

Bettas may remain motionless to sleep. As a result, some aquarists disregard Bettas who have become immobile due to stress, or as a strategy of avoiding aggressive fish. They understand that it’s not always a life-and-death matter.

Lethargy only becomes an issue when a betta remains immobile for an extended period.

When it comes to eating or hunting for female bettas, they won’t even go out of their cages. Their fins may be clamped in certain situations, and their gills may be moving more than usual.

You might deduce that your fish is on the edge of death in this case. Even if the creature doesn’t move or eat for an extended period, you can be sure that it will die. To help you understand why your betta fish has suddenly become lazy, I’ve written a detailed explanation in this post. There are several ways you may try to fix this problem and spare your fish from a terrible fate.

Scales and fins that are raised and curved

Your betta’s scales may have risen. Dropsy has most likely been contracted by your betta if the answer is yes. Dropsy cannot be cured, but there are things you can do to make the betta more at ease.

Many aquarists, however, opt to euthanize the sick fish rather than treat it.

Because of the sickness, your betta’s kidneys fail. As the creature’s fluids build up, swelling occurs.

Therefore, if Dropsy has been detected in your pet betta, it will die quickly.

Another problem is a betta fish with curled and clamped fins, as I have already addressed in this article.

This might be a sign of poor water quality, such as high ammonia levels, or an illness may be present.


Stress may cause the coloration of fish to fade. A more serious condition may be at play if discoloration has spread to the whole body, which might lead to death if neglected. For bettas whose colors have changed abruptly rather than gradually, the same may be said. As explained in this post, you may discover that your betta is becoming black in certain circumstances. However, as I stated in that post, the problem may be remedied by following the correct procedures.

Glassy Eyes

A bulging eye is, of course, an issue. Bacterial infections are indicated by their existence.

Glassy eyes are considerably more worrisome. Bettas who are dead have glassy eyes, but so do bettas that are in great distress. They will die if you don’t take care of their pain soon enough.

How Do You Save a Betta Fish That’s Getting Worse?

The odds of reviving a dead fish are little to none. If you catch it quickly enough, you may be able to save it. The methods listed below are effective in the past:

Your Betta Is Dying, Now What?

The health of the betta fish will determine whether or not it is placed in quarantine. A dying fish should be separated from its tankmates. It’s not only a matter of keeping infected fish away from your healthy ones.

A sick fish is more susceptible. Because it lacks the physical power to defend itself, other animals are more inclined to assault it. An ill betta’s condition might be made worse by the active swimming of its companions. A separate tank for the betta helps it to recuperate in peace.

First Aid Kit

No one would argue with the statement that prevention is preferable to treatment. Before your fish becomes ill, you should stock up on first aid supplies. They usually include Tetracycline, Bettazing, Maracyn, and other vital medications that may be used to cure fish who are ill.

A veterinarian can offer an effective therapy if you can diagnose the ailment. Formalin, for example, is needed for ich to function. Betta, on the other hand, may be used to cure fungal infections. To treat fin rot, tetracyclines are required. Take the fish to a veterinarian if you’re unable to figure out what’s wrong. The symptoms will be interpreted by them.

Changing the Water in the Tank Correctly

You can’t move certain fish because they are too ill. Perform a water change if the betta is unable to leave the old tank. In this way, all alien and possibly hazardous substances will be removed from the water supply.

A betta that has been sluggish may jump right back into action after a water change, depending on the severity of the condition. However, It is strongly recommended to limit water changes to no more than 30%. Use water that has been properly conditioned and has the correct set of specifications.

Water Purification and Testing Equipment

It’s worth noting that, if you can’t get your hands on any conditioners, you can keep the fish alive by applying them. Ammonia-neutralizing conditioners may be used in only a few minutes.

The aquarist may also employ conditioners to determine and remove the sources of the elevated levels of pollutants. The Seachem Prime Fresh and Saltwater Conditioner (link to Amazon) is the one I use in my aquarium.

When contemplating water conditioners, it is important to first assess your tank’s condition.

When it comes to betta fish, the following are the ideal water conditions:

  • 75-81°F (23.8-27.2°C) is the ideal temperature.
  • Nitrates: less than 20 ppm.
  • Nitrates and ammonia are absent, with a ppm value of 0 for both.
  • The pH range for water is from 6.5 to 7.5.

Increasing Oxygen Concentrations

It is important to keep a fish that has its gills blocked in oxygenated water. Even if your betta was perfectly clean, raising the oxygen level in the tank can help it cope with any underlying problems it may be experiencing.

That’s why it is recommended to put an air stone in the tank instead. Any device that generates aeration might work.

It is possible to aid the drying fish if it is attempting to rise above water but continues sinking, and it is displaying indications of tiredness. You may accomplish this by reducing the water level.

No Bubble Nests

If your betta isn’t prone to building bubble nests, this indication won’t help, but if your male does it on occasion, this tendency will cease. When an adult betta is no longer interested in reproducing, he or she will no longer make a bubble nest in the hope of mating with another female.

A decrease in appetite and a loss of weight

An aged betta’s decrease in appetite is to be expected. As individuals age, their metabolism slows, reducing the amount of food they need to retain the same level of energy they did when they were younger. This may or may not result in a betta that’s a little slimmer. Even though they have the same appetite, some bettas may lose weight.

Do Betta Fish Have a High Death Rate?

Betta fish don’t die easily, but they do need certain water conditions and meals to keep healthy and live a long, happy life. They are sturdy fish that should survive for three to five years if properly cared for.


In this post, we explained the signs that your betta fish is dying. We also outlined what you can do to help the betta fish.

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

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What are the signs that your betta fish is dying?

What are some symptoms of a sick betta fish?

Fin Rot: The fins and tail look to have been destroyed. White dots on the body of the fish.

Velvet: The fish isn’t eating or clawing itself against the tank’s items.

Why isn’t my betta fish moving around much?

It might be sleeping or resting Bettas are tropical freshwater fish that sleep when it gets dark, according to Betta Fish Facts. A betta that isn’t moving might just be resting or sleeping.

Bettas’ favorite sleeping position varies from fish to fish, however, some bettas sleep on their sides without moving.

What’s the deal with my betta fish sitting stationary at the top of the tank?

Because he’s attempting to breathe more readily, a fish may hover near the surface.

Remember that fish breathe dissolved oxygen, not oxygen that has already been coupled with the hydrogen atom in the H2O molecule. Dissolved oxygen levels are naturally greater towards the surface, where air and water mix.

How can I make my betta tank more oxygen-rich?

Oxygenation is usually increased when there is more water flow. If required, install another filter or replace the old filter with one with a greater capacity. Other solutions include using a powerhead, installing a spray bar on the filter’s output, or using airstones.