What should you do if your Betta fish is bloated?

In this article, we will understand why betta fish can bloat and be lethargic. Also, we will outline the possible causes and how to prevent the betta fish from bloating and being lethargic.

What should you do if your Betta fish is bloated?

If you realize your betta fish is swollen, you should act promptly to resolve the issue and keep it healthy. Dropsy, swim bladder disease, and constipation are the most common betta bloat triggers. If your betta possesses the first two, he will usually recover quickly. However, if he has dropsy, his chances of survival are much worse. 

The following are the measures you should take:

Determine the symptoms

Getting to the bottom of why your betta is acting up is the first step.  If you suspect constipation, keep it in its primary tank.

Transfer him to a quarantine tank

If it is not constipation, or you are unsure, and the betta is in a community tank, you should relocate it to a quarantine tank. This will prevent it from possibly infecting other fish and will also make treatment simpler. If it has swim bladder disease as a result of an accident, it will also make it simpler for it to relax.

Observe the symptoms

If possible, check on the betta every few hours to monitor its symptoms and ensure they are not worsening.

What exactly is betta fish bloat?

A bloated betta will have a bulging, protruding stomach. Bloat may harm either one or both sides of the fish, making him seem uneven. Bloated fish may have difficulty swimming and may get caught at the top of the water or the bottom of the tank. Betta fish are very vulnerable in this situation because they must surface often to breathe.

What causes betta fish bloat?

Bloat in betta fish may be caused by a variety of situations. Constipation in fish is almost always caused by a lack of proper nutrients.

Constipation is relatively simple to treat and avoid, so although the condition may seem worrying, you shouldn’t be too concerned about your fishy buddy, as you’ll most likely be able to heal him rather quickly.

below are some of the causes of constipation:

Poor Nutrition

Poor nutrition is the most common cause of constipation in fish. If you give your fish too much low-quality food, it might cause constipation, which can lead to bloating. Always feed your betta the highest quality betta pellets, as well as frozen, freeze-dried, and live food.

Feeding flake food to betta fish may easily lead to constipation.

Feeding the betta fish with the amount of food it can take in at one time is ideal. As an added precaution, designate one day each week for not feeding your betta. That “fasting” day will enable surplus food to move through the fish’s digestive tract instead of being clogged.

Lack of physical activity

Fish need to exercise! betta fish has to move for food to pass through his digestive tract. If you keep a betta fish in an insufficiently sized tank, it will get bored and irritated, as well as a danger of being constipated.

Wild male betta fish have a three-square-foot area, so a little bowl or betta vase is just not a good setting for the fish. Betta fish should be maintained in a tank with a minimum volume of ten gallons, ideally larger. 

Swimming bladder illness

Another frequent cause of bloat in betta fish is swimming bladder illness. Swimming bladder issues, on the other hand, might be caused by constipation and vice versa.

Swim bladder illness is not a genuine disease in the medical sense; it is only the vernacular term for the problem. Most fish species, including bettas, may be affected by swimming bladder illness. A fish with swimming bladder illness will have a swollen belly and will have difficulty swimming. Fish that are battling with buoyancy will sink or become trapped at the top of their tanks if they aren’t properly cared for.  Swimming bladder illness causes fish to get stranded on one side and unable to swim at all.

Swim bladder sickness causes fish to lose their appetite, and in severe instances, your betta may acquire a curled back.


Another cause of bloat in betta fish is dropsy. Unfortunately, dropsy is hard to treat, and there is a good chance that your fish will not resist.

Dropsy fish acquire “pinecone” scales in addition to a bloated look. The fish looks like a pinecone at this time because the scales are standing up. Internal organ damage causes the effect. The swollen injured organs cause the fish’s body to bloat and push the scales outward. The fish’s spine starts to twist outward laterally as the internal swelling rises.


An internal tumor may sometimes generate a swollen belly in a betta fish. Tumors cannot be prevented from harming your betta. Cancer affects certain fish, just as it does people, and there is no cure. However, tumors are uncommon in bettas, and it’s more probable that your fish’s illness is due to something else.


If you have a  female betta fish in the same tank as a male betta fish, If it’s a female fish that’s swollen, the bloat might be caused by eggs inside the fish.

Inadequate Water Quality/Diet

If you keep your betta in a tank with low water quality or if you don’t properly feed him, he is more prone to acquire dropsy, as well as a variety of other ailments. Poor water and food will cause ongoing stress on your betta, weakening him and compromising his immune system to the point where he will be unable to fight off any sickness.

Temperature Shock 

In aquarium fish, belly bloat can be caused by a temperature shock. The Betta’s metabolism will slow down so much that its digestive system will malfunction if the temperature falls too low. Bloating and injury to internal organs are possible outcomes.

To prevent this, just use a heater to boost the temperature of the aquarium water.

Most Betta fish like water temperatures ranging from 79 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit (26.1 to 27.2 degrees Celsius).


Internal parasites may cause bloating in the abdomen of a Betta fish. Among the most common internal parasites that can cause sickness are roundworms, known as the Camallanus worm.

Keep in mind that they are not the same as the little white worms that might sometimes infest an aquarium if proper care is not taken.

In any case, if no therapy is begun, internal parasites might impair your Betta’s swim bladder and potentially induce Dropsy. The former is distinguished by buoyancy concerns and upside-down swimming, whereas the latter is distinguished by fluid accumulation throughout the fish’s body, not just the stomach.

Other signs of parasite infection in Betta fish include pale body colors, white stringy excrement, listlessness and lethargy, irregular movements, a lack of appetite, and eating properly while losing weight. Some people may be surprised to learn that when the Camallanus worms reach maturity, they may be seen emerging from the Betta’s tail region.

How to keep your Betta fish from bloating

It is usually preferable to avoid betta fish bloating than cure it. Fortunately, the secret to avoiding bloat and any sickness is quite the same and very easy!

Maintain water purity

One of the most essential things you can do to keep your betta healthy is to keep the water clean. Ammonia and waste building may be eliminated by changing the water in your tank every week or two weeks, depending on the size of the tank. It will also eliminate a lot of germs and parasites from the tank that might hurt your betta.

Make use of high-quality food

You should also use high-quality food and ensure that your betta is enjoying a well-balanced diet. While healthy betta pellets may be fed to him, they should not be his exclusive source of sustenance. Foods such as freeze-dried, dry, frozen, and live food should all be utilized.

Bettas like Daphnia, however mosquito larvae and brine shrimp may be used. Although you may have heard that bloodworms should be a regular part of a betta’s diet, they should only be used as a treat.

Avoid tankmates who are aggressive and sharp objects

Tankmates who are aggressive and sharp things in your tank may both harm your betta.

Even if the injury isn’t directly to his stomach, stress or infection may frequently put his organs under stress, resulting in a variety of diseases. Fortunately, there are many tank mates and decorations that will not damage your betta!

Use an Appropriately Sized Tank

Many aquarists affirm that  2.5 liters of water are enough for bettas. However, if you want your betta to be healthy, you should never keep it in a tank smaller than 5-gallons. The betta will have plenty of room to swim about in a 5-gallon tank. It also decreases the possibility of water fluctuations, which may stress and, in severe situations, kill your betta.


In this article, we understood why betta fish can bloat and be lethargic. Also, we outlined the possible causes and how to prevent the betta fish from bloating and being lethargic.

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

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What should you do if your Betta fish is bloated?

Why does my betta have such a large stomach?

It can be determined by an illness called dropsy. As the name suggests, this condition refers to the swelling of internal organs like the abdomen caused by a buildup of water and other physiological fluids. Environmental stressors are one of the reasons for the disease.

Why does my betta fish seem lethargic?

The water might be cold. When the temperature falls below that level, the betta fish’s metabolism slows Oxygen absorbs more slowly as well. This chain of events leads your fish to become very weak and sluggish If you don’t increase the temperature, your fish may grow stressed and develop an illness.

Why is my betta fish sluggish and refusing to eat?

You may notice a betta fish not eating at times because of the tank’s temperature. Lethargy and slow metabolism will set in if you keep your betta in an aquarium that is not warm enough. They also can be constipated because are overfed. Keep it “fasting” for at least one day.

Why is feces dangling from my fish?

Constipation in fish is often shown by bloating and the formation of fibrous feces. Normal fish feces will instantly fall to the substrate; constipated fish feces will seem stringy and will hang from the fish.