Why does my betta fish stay at the bottom of the bowl?

In this blog we will discuss the reasons why bettas stay at the bottom of the bowl.This blog will be helpful to new betta keepers,as it will give an idea about what are the reasons behind such behavior in bettas.


In this blog

  • Why does my betta fish stay at the bottom of the bowl?
  • Where do betta fish spend most of the time in their tank? 
  • Why do betta fish stay at the bottom of the bowl?
  • Summary 
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Reference 

Why does my betta fish stay at the bottom of the bowl?

Bettas are some of the most beautiful aquarium fish and are also known as aquarium fashionistas.Their long flowing fins and vibrant colors make it the perfect combination for swimming around the aquarium to express its beauty.

But it is not the case all the time, sometimes they sit at the bottom of the tank and if bettas are lying on the bottom of the tank and breathing heavily, you need to take action as soon as possible.

There are few possible reasons for this,it could be ammonia poisoning, nitrate poisoning, or high temperatures.

Where do betta fish spend most of the time in their tank? 

Healthy betta is an interactive fish that chases you around the aquarium. You will notice that your fish tend to actively swim up and down the sides of the aquarium. They also need to swim up immediately whenever they are looked down on.

Why do betta fish stay at the bottom of the bowl?

If a fighting fish or bettas looks lethargic and spends time lying on the bottom of the tank, it may be sick.In fact, they tend to get sick more often due to their weaker immune systems.

Diseases such as ich, bloating, dropsy and others can lead to a weakening of the fighting fish.

Ich or white spot disease in bettas

Ich infection is caused by ectoparasites that cause multiple white spots on the skin and gills of betta fish.It is a common parasite infection in freshwater fish and is one of the few fish parasites visible to the naked eye.

  • The most common cause of Ich is failure to isolate adding new fish to the aquarium.
  • By using infected equipment between tanks without proper sanitation. 
  • By transferring infected or decorative filter media between tanks. 
  • By transferring infected water between systems.

Bloating in bettas

Bloating is caused due to overfeeding bettas, it is one of the main reasons for indigestion in bettas.This gastric issues will cause bloating in bettas.

It is very important not to overfeed bettas,as this could increase tank bioload and increase ammonia spikes in the tank.

  • Poor water quality.
  • Ammonia or nitrite spikes. 
  • A large drop in water temperature.

Dropsy disease in bettas

Dropsy is the swelling of soft tissues in the body cavity, such as the abdomen, due to the accumulation of water and it is caused by environmental stressors.

Overfeeding doesn’t always lead to dropsy disease, but it can cause your fish to poop more, which can cause ammonia levels in your tank to increase faster.

Keep in mind that one of the symptoms of different diseases that cause edema is contaminated water.

  • Poor water quality.
  • Ammonia or nitrite spikes.
  • A large drop in water temperature.
  • Stress from transportation.
  • Improper nutrition.
  • Aggressive tankmates.
  • Other diseases.

Dropsy is not contagious,but if one fish is indeed affected, other fish in the same tank, especially fish of the same species, may also be at risk.In this case, fish are affected one by one until the species no longer exists.

No efficient filters in bettas tank

The most important reason why a betta tank needs a filter is to prevent the accumulation of ammonia,nitrite and nitrate.

If any of these accumulate too much in your tank,it will spell bad news for your solid.Ammonia is especially stressful to your bettas and weakens their immune system.

No heaters in bettas tank

Betta is usually in a tropical climate all year round, so a heater is absolutely necessary to keep it warm.

Betta is much more cold-resistant than most tropical fish,as the shallow canals and ponds in which they live can change in temperature rapidly.Warm temperatures ensure that they maintain a healthy appetite.

Ammonia pollution in bettas tank

Ammonia and nitrite should always be kept at less than 0.5 parts per million (ppm), but it is preferable to score as close to zero as possible and the nitrate should be less than 20ppm.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to lower ammonia levels is to perform one or more water changes.

Changing the water will immediately remove ammonia from the aquarium and introduce safe water that helps mitigate the effects of ammonia remaining in the system.

Temperature shock in bettas tank

Bettas are tropical fish and may go into shock in temperatures below 74F,but their reactions are more common when temperatures drop below 72 degrees.

Such drops can occur when you change aquarium water or when the temperature in your home drops long enough to affect them in the aquarium.

Once the water temperature has returned to the optimum range, it is time to pay attention to its effect on betta fish.Symptoms of temperature shock will probably last for days, sometimes more than a week.

Temperature shock can make your bettas sink to the bottom of the tank and only maintaining the right temperature can reverse the situation.

Swim bladder disease in bettas tank

Fish suffering from buoyancy disorders exhibit a variety of symptoms, primarily with buoyancy,sinks to the bottom of the tank, floats to the top, floats upside down or sideways, and has difficulty maintaining its normal position.

Depending on the cause, the float failure can be temporary or permanent. If your fish have a permanent float obstacle, they can still lead a complete and happy life with some lifestyle changes.

Bacterial infections in the floats cause fish to lose control of buoyancy, resulting in severe stress and premature death.

Bettas fish sleeping or resting

If the betta fish is sleeping or resting then also they go and sit in the bottom of the tank.This is not the matter of worry.

If bettas have selected a palace to rest or sleep in their tank,they will go and sleep in the same place every day and there is nothing to worry about that if they do this on a daily basis.

Betta fish sometimes doze during the day and If you ever notice that your betta is lying at the bottom of the aquarium and doing nothing, they may be asleep.

In other cases, when your fish is resting, it may hang motionless above the tank, and the betta rarely sleeps during the day.

Lazy or lethargic betta

Betta is not a lazy fish.They usually explore and play with tanks during the day and are very quiet and barely moving when sleeping all night. If an active betta fish suddenly slows down,it’s a sign that something is wrong.

Bettas are slow moving fish, so they can take their time moving around a new aquarium.Temperature fluctuations are very common in betta tanks without heaters.This happens when the water temperature gets too low or too high.

As the water gets colder, the bettas become lethargic and are more likely to lie on the bottom of the tank.

Age factor in bettas

Betta fish have a relatively short lifespan. In good condition, these fish will live three to five years and if they are with you for a while they will start aging.

Like any other species, older bettas slow down with age.They just don’t have the energy to run around their environment like they did when they were younger.

Their bodies begin to slow down and it becomes increasingly difficult for them to keep up with younger fish and they will sit at the bottom of the tank.

These symptoms are commonly seen in aged bettas and they probably lie down in the bottom of the tank.

  • Fading colors.
  • They stop making bubble nests.
  • Take frequent naps.
  • Has ragged or curled fins.
  • White dots keep appearing and disappearing in their body.
  • They will mostly miss their food or keep rejecting their food.

Egg bound female betta

Egg binding can be confused with a swollen stomach.But when the female betta is tied to an egg, she is full of unfertilized eggs that have not yet been released.

This condition often occurs when she is too close to a male betta or is overfed.So the female will sit at the bottom of the tank if they have bellies full of eggs or they are overfed.

Dead betta fish

When aquarium water is too cold or too hot, bettas become stressed, and the stress can kill them very quickly.If your betta appears to be dead because the water is too cold, consider adding an aquarium water heater and setting it to 76°F or 24.5°C as soon as possible.

The dead bettas will simply sink at the bottom of the tank and will stay there until they are removed from the tank.


Bettas need an efficient filtration system,warm water conditions, enrichment like plants and caves to explore their tanks,regular feeding on time and tank cleaning religiously.This will keep them healthy and sane.If any of these do not work then bettas will go and sit at the bottom of the bowl or tank.

Temperature shock is a very serious problem for bettas.These fish love warm temperatures.However,the high temperature in summer can lead to some health problems.

Such shocks will stress them and make them settle at the bottom of the tank,until they recover.It is very important to maintain the right temperature in bettas tank to avoid such situations.

If your fish looks lethargic and spends time lying on the bottom of the tank, they may be sick.There are many diseases affecting bettas.

In fact,fish tend to get sick more often due to their weaker immune systems. Diseases such as ich, bloating, dropsy and others can lead to a weakening of the fighting fish.

Bettas sit at the bottom of the tank when they experience something uncomfortable in their environment or simply they may be sleeping, resting or they are no more.

It’s important to monitor them everyday along with their water conditions with a good water testing kit.

Frequently asked questions

Are small tanks also the reason for bettas to sit at the bottom of the tank?

Overcrowded small tanks tend to have ammonia problems, with bettas sitting on the bottom of the tank.

Are strong currents responsible for bettas sitting at the bottom of the tank?

Yes,strong water currents can overwhelm bettas,because it takes too much of its energy to fight with those currents and make them sit at the bottom of the tank.