Why is my betta fish turning red?

In this blog we will discuss what makes bettas to turn red.This guide will help betta keepers and new betta keeprs too,as it will help them to understand the reasons behind their red colouration.

Overview

In this blog

  • Why is my betta fish turning red?
  • What are the right water parameters for betta fish?
  • Is ammonia buildup the main reason for bettas to turn red?
  • Is stress the reason for the bettas to turn red?
  • Are red streaks due to bacterial infections in bettas?
  • Are red streaks due to lack of oxygen in bettas tank?
  • Are water temperatures responsible for red streaks in bettas?
  • Are red streaks on bettas a sign of dying betta?
  • How often should you change water in a bettas tank when they turn red?
  • Can water conditioner help to save bettas from turning red?
  • Can API aquarium testing kits treat red streaks on bettas?
  • Are red streaks in bettas contagious?
  • How to cure red gills in bettas?
  • Summary
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Reference 

Why is my betta fish turning red?

Bettas turn red due to genetic and environmental reasons.Not surprisingly, blue bettas turn red at about 2 years of age as they get older.However, bettas can turn red regardless of age.This includes ammonia toxicity, hypoxia, and stress.

There are several other reasons too including the mentioned reasons.It is very important to get bettas from those breeders,who are aware of their genetics.

Bettas have been bred in captivity for years now and it’s very important to choose healthy lines of bettas for your aquarium,so always consult a good breeder before buying them.

What are the right water parameters for betta fish?

Right water parameters play a great role in bettas tanks,as it keeps bettas sane and healthy.

If there are any fluctuations in water conditions then it will stress your betta fish and make them susceptible to various infections and red spots or streaks on their body is one of them.

Right water parameters for bettas:

  • Temperature: 75°-81°F  or 23.8°-27.2°C
  • Ammonia and Nitrite: 0 ppm.
  • Nitrate: <20 ppm.
  • GH: 3-4 dGH or 50-66.7 ppm
  • KH: 3-5 dKH or 53.6- 89.4 ppm
  • pH: 6.5-7.5.

Is ammonia buildup the main reason for bettas to turn red?

Ammonia is very toxic for bettas and if they are swimming in their own pee then it is highly dangerous for them.So when such buildups gain strength in the tank,you need to change the water and put the fish in a large tank with a sponge filter, as this will remove the ammonia that has accumulated in the bowl or tank.

It is advised to always prepare the tank first before buying fish and keep the biological filters and cycles ready for fish.Ammonia is built into the tank from fish peeing in the water, and can be eliminated by using a suitable filter.

There are good bacteria that convert ammonia to nitrite and then to nitrate. This is not so harmful. You still need to change the water often, but this cycle needs to be maintained to keep them alive.

It is advisable to read this biological cycle carefully to keep the fish alive.If you don’t change the water right away, the fish may die anytime. 

Is stress the reason for the bettas to turn red?

Bettas respond to stress by changing color.This change usually manifests as a loss or dullness of color. Some bettas lose their color temporarily if stressed too much.

Stress streaks usually appear in red or a mix of colors.There are several reasons for stress in bettas, irritating tank mates, over crowded tanks,bad water quality, temperature issues and many other factors too.

Are red streaks due to bacterial infections in bettas?

There are some bacterial infections too which can turn bettas red.Sometimes overcrowded tanks and smaller tanks can too lead to bacterial infections in bettas.

There are some tank plants too ,if they are not pruned or not removed on time, and if they rot,some bad bacteria will develop too on them.And sometimes the tank decorations will also cause bacterial infections in bettas.

It is very important to first of all keep bettas in bigger and spacious tanks,with tank mates and aquatic plants should be trimmed and removed before they rot.

The decors in the tank should be cleaned everyday or atleast on alternate days to keep the tank clean,because the bad bacterias in those decors will disturb the water chemistry.

Bettas are a hardy species, but they cannot survive in poor water conditions.So,it is very important to maintain the water condition, otherwise such poor conditions can turn them red.

Are red streaks due to lack of oxygen in bettas tank?

Hypoxia or lack of oxygen causes stress in bettas and this can be seen if the water is stagnant, the water circulation in the tank is poor, or the aquarium filter is clogged. 

In addition to the color change, bettas will go to the upper levels on the tank to gasp air as it is  more oxygen-rich.

To oxygenate your betta tank, use the Hygger aquarium air stone kit because it is easy to use and also provides enough air to complete the oxygen cycle in relatively bigger  aquariums.

Hygger aquarium air stone kit:

  • Ultra-high dissolved oxygen.
  • Produces small & dense bubbles quietly.
  • Weighs enough to sink.
  • Driven by a 4W or larger wattage air pump.

Are water temperatures responsible for red streaks in bettas?

Betta fish require water temperatures between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and if the room temperature is below 75 degrees Fahrenheit,you can install a heater in their aquarium.

It is also important that the temperature is stable because constant fluctuations stress bettas and make them more susceptible to disease.

Such temperature fluctuations can also cause red streaks in bettas body and it’s very important to maintain water temperature in bettas tank.

Are red streaks on bettas a sign of dying betta?

When a betta fish is at the verge of death,their body shows discoloration,such as red,white or brown spots.Not just discoloration, they will also display strange swimming patterns or shortening/eating of fins,which may also signal serious illness.

How often should you change water in a bettas tank when they turn red?

Doing water changes in bettas tank can keep the tank clean and maintain the pristine water conditions in bettas tank.

  • Most betta experts recommend replacing water at least once a week to keep bettas healthy and sane. 
  • For one gallon bowls it is recommended to change 100% water once a week.
  • In a small aquarium of 2-3 gallons,50% water should be replaced once a week. 
  • In an aquarium of 5-10 gallons,25% of water should be replaced once a week.

Can water conditioner help to save bettas from turning red?

API betta water conditioner is a multipurpose water treatment agent that instantly makes tap water safe for betta fish by removing chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals, and detoxifying ammonia.

Green tea extract components act as antioxidants in the red blood cells of betta fish.This will keep their slime coats healthy too.

Adding six drops per pint, 12 drops per liter, or half teaspoon per gallon of betta water instantly removes chlorine, chloramine, ammonia and heavy metal toxins in betta water, making it safe for betta fish.

Can API aquarium testing kits treat red streaks on bettas?

Yes,The API freshwater master test kit or aquaculture water quality testing kit quickly and accurately measures the four most critical levels in freshwater aquariums, including pH, high range pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.The test is quick, easy and accurate and produces accurate results.

You can use these testing kits too, to check the above mentioned things:

  • API freshwater aquarium master test kit.
  • API ammonia freshwater & saltwater aquarium test kit. 
  • Nutrafin master test kit. 
  • Sera aqua-test box aquarium test kits.
  • Red sea fish pharm pro test kit.
  • RUNBO aquarium 6 in 1 test strips.

Are red streaks in bettas contagious?

Red spots or streaks on bettas are ot contagious, but it would be better to separate the infected betta with red spots in a separate quarantine tank or hospital to treat them.

It is very important to provide the right conditions in quarantine or hospital tanks too to make the recovery process quicker.Such tanks should always be kept as a backup tank to treat bettas with such  infections.

Bettas should be kept in hospital tanks for around 2 weeks or until they recover and once they recover put them back to the main tank.Monitor them in hospital tanks everyday,their behavior, water parameters.

Feed them according to the vet’s advice and avoid overfeeding.The most important thing is to maintain the aquarium water temperature using a heater and thermometer.If you follow everything properly, then your bettas will recover soon and will feel healthy again.

How to cure red gills in bettas?

Those red gills indicate potential problems with the fish’s health, including ammonia poisoning, gill hyperplasia, or gill flukes. When properly diagnosed, products such as filter removers, aquarium salts, general treatments, and Furan-2 can help treat the cause of red gills.

Summary

If you haven’t changed the water in a while, it will burn with ammonia in the water, they will develop red streaks on their tails, their gills will become inflamed and they will die.

Ammonia is highly toxic because bettas will swim in their own urine.If you observe your betta fish starting to turn red,the first thing you should do is examine its mates.

If the betta has just turned red and appears to be in good general health, this is likely a natural and genetic process.

It is very important to maintain a separate tank for treating your bettas with red spots on their gills and body.This will stop the spreading of  infection to other fish in the same tank.

If still the problem does not go away,consult your vet and treat them accordingly.This should not be left unattended,as it can even kill them,if it gets severe.

Frequently asked questions

Can aggressive tank mates turn betta red?

Yes, aggressive tank mates stress bettas, and due to such stress they will develop red streaks on their body and if left unattended,they might die too.

Do bettas turn red while gasping air on the surface of the water?

Yes,bettas change their color,while gasping air on the surface of the water.

Reference

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