March 29

Sarah Robertson

How to Treat a Sick Betta Fish?

You're undoubtedly feeling bewildered, worried, and anxious if you have a sick betta fish in your tank. Betta fish are relatively hardy, but they can get afflicted with parasitic, bacterial, and fungal illnesses just like other freshwater fish. Identify and treat your sick betta fish soon as possible to minimize harm and allow your colourful companion to swim normally once more. Keep your Betta fish happy and healthy by following good betta fish care.

Treatment and identification quickly minimize the risk of harm, allowing your vibrant friend to swim freely again. The best approach to keep your betta fish healthy is to provide them with the appropriate care. It's always preferable to be proactive rather than reactive. 

There are a few things you can do to help a sick betta fish feel better. First, make sure they have a clean and spacious tank to live in. This will help them to feel more comfortable and less stressed. Second, give them plenty of fresh, clean water to swim in. Third, feed them a healthy diet of quality betta fish food. Finally, if necessary, consult a veterinarian for more help.

How To Identify and Treat a Sick Betta Fish 

You can identify an unhealthy betta fish through the shape of the fins. Its fins will be intact if it is a healthy betta. The fins of an unhealthy betta may develop holes or rips. Another bad sign is when your betta's fins are clamped down to the body; that is, they aren't properly fanned out.

Here are some warning signs:

  • The fins or tail look as if they've been ripped apart.
  • Ich: Flecks of white on the fish's body.
  • The fish is not nibbling or rubbing itself on items in its aquarium.

Take the above signs seriously and start giving your betta fish treatment so that they get better soon.

Faded Colouring

Betta Fish fade colors due to some or the other illness. Stress, old age, injury, or sickness might be taking a toll on your betta's coloration. Betta fish may also lose color due to natural causes, especially if they possess the marble gene. If you find that your betta has turned black, there's no need to be concerned unless they're also displaying other symptoms of illness.

Changes in fins

Fin rot in betta fish is an illness caused by several bacteria and fungi that may cause a betta fish to lose its fins. The most typical reason is poor water quality, as well as a tank that is too small. "The fins may also show a white edge and color changes" if the fish has fin rot.


If you notice that your betta fish is unresponsive, there's a good chance he's ill. Betta fish that are sluggish and spend time resting at the bottom of the tank might be sick. Bettas are susceptible to a number of diseases. These fish, with their less robust immune systems, are more prone to disease.

Eating Habit betta

Eating Habit

Bettas, like other tropical aquarium fish, need to be fed twice a day. Bettas, like other warm-water tanks, require two times daily feeding. Feed your betta fish two to four pellets once or twice a day, depending on the size of the tank you have.

Pellets expand when placed in water and are very filling for your betta fish. Proper eating habit should be maintained among betta fish to avoid health complications and try always to avoid over feeding in betta fish. Fresh or freeze-dried food may be used in place of the pellet diet 1 to 2 days each week.

White Spots

Ich is caused by an external parasite that causes multiple white spots on your freshwater fishes' skin and gills. This is a common parasitic infection of freshwater fish and is one of the few fish parasites that can be seen with the naked eye.

To help restore skin color and prevent the spread of white patches, your doctor may recommend topical lotions, UV light therapy, or oral medication. Grafts of skin grown on mummies are also used to remove little areas of white skin.

Breathing Problems

If your betta fish is breathing rapidly then that is a clear indication of high-level stress among betta fish or some other diseases. When transporting fish, they will immediately breathe rapidly as a result of the stress. You should also check your water for high ammonia, nitrate, pH, and nitrite levels.

Because bettas, like other animals, require oxygen to live, they will struggle to breathe if the gas is not readily available in the tank. To deal with this problem, you should ensure that the poor water conditions are taken care and is at the optimum temperature which is 24–28 degrees C or 75–82 degrees F.

Observing the Betta Fish for Rubs and Scratches

Betta fish may experience a wide variety of injuries, including scrapes, rubs, and scratches. Most of these will occur while the fish is in the wild. Bettas are often seen swimming into objects and harming themselves. If you see your betta fish rubbing and scratching then you should consider they are underdoing some sort of skin issues.

Flicking, flashing, and scratching may be symptoms of water with high ammonia levels, extreme pH fluctuations, or residual chlorine due to ineffective or absent tap water conditioning. If the problem is due to poor water quality, then it will clearly have to be addressed.

Swollen Eyes and Gills

Fish Popeye is most often caused by a fish injury, infection, or poor aquarium water condition. Weekly Water change is advised.  An infection is another source of Popeye. 

This is most likely seen in both eyes. Bacteria, fungus, and parasites are among the many organisms that may cause an infection.


Constipation is a significant problem among betta fish. Loss Of Appetite is one of the common reasons for Constipation. You've come to the correct spot if you're looking for answers! It's also important to understand what causes it and how to prevent it before you learn how to treat it.

Although constipation is typical, it isn't ideal for your betta. As a result, it's usually preferable to learn how to prevent it than simply treating it!

Bacterial Septicaemia

Betta Fish Diseases and Treatment

Betta fish illness is a reality of life. You may keep most betta diseases at bay by keeping your betta's tank clean and feeding them an adequate diet. However, it's possible that your betta has a disease or an injury and is no longer acting like himself. Find below some of the diseases found among betta fish: 

Bacterial Septicaemia / Red Streaks

Septicaemia is an infection of the blood (hematemesis) caused by the piscine Novi rhabdovirus, better known as viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHS). All fish are susceptible to this disease, from those in your neighbourhood fishing pond and sea-farmed fish for the dinner to the Koi carp and goldfish in your private pond. 

The term "sepsis" is sometimes used to describe a secondary bacterial infection that leads to blood poisoning in tropical aquarium fish. This is the most frequent form of septicaemia in pet fish kept in aquariums.

Because the biological filter of your betta tank is made up of many different types of bacteria, some of which — like nitrifying bacteria – are particularly important for it to operate effectively, there will be some that aren't beneficial. Many bacteria, on the other hand, are harmful and produce diseases like fin rot, ulcers, and dropsy.

Bacteria will enter the fish through open wounds if it is injured, causing an infection. Wild fish that have been isolated from predators for a long period of time are also prone to get bacterial infections as their immune systems weaken.


Viral haemorrhagic septicaemia is a viral disease affecting many It's caused by viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus. The disease affects fish of all ages and causes widespread mortality, as well as the development of carriers.


Unfortunately, because septicaemia typically goes undetected until the illness has advanced to later stages, it frequently cannot be treated. In the case of betta fish, therefore, immediate treatment and prevention of any symptoms of disease are the best options.


Constipation in fish is essentially the same as it is in people and other animals. The constipation of a fish happens when the animal has difficulty passing faeces (pooping.) When the faeces become too solid to move through the fish's digestive tract in its usual manner, this is known as constipation.

 Solid waste then stops progressing through the digestive system when it reaches maximum consistency, effectively blocking it. The longer the fish remains in the queue, the more food accumulates in it, and the fish gets constipated.


Once you've established that your betta has constipation, the next step is to figure out what's causing it so that you can take action to prevent the problem from recurring.

Constipation may be caused by a number of factors in betta fish:

Incorrect diet or feeding

The most common reason of constipation in bettas is a poor diet or incorrect feeding.

Dried food

If you only offer your betta tropical flakes, he won't get the adequate meaty protein he requires. Freeze-dried foods and dehydrated foods, in particular, tend to have very little water. So, as soon as these dry goods come into touch with water or the mucous inside your betta's mouth and gut, they expand, potentially blocking his digestive tract and triggering constipation.

If you want to feed your betta dried foods, make sure they're moistened in a little tank water before giving them to him.

Unbalanced diet

Betta fish are omnivores that consume a little amount of plant matter in the wild. However, in the wild, the betta fish is largely carnivorous and eats insect larvae and water-bound insects. 


Another typical reason of constipation is overfeeding your betta. Bettas are noted for their gluttony, and they will continue to consume food even after they have had enough.

Lack of exercise

Although Bettas are considered to be very lazy, they may become bored quickly. Lack of exercise is one of the reasons for constipation among betta fish.


The final stage of curing constipation is to begin treatment. There are a variety of methods to cure constipation in bettas, however the most common is to feed them high-fiber diet items. Unlike in humans, the high-fiber diet will begin to restore function.

The best approach to do this is with Epsom Salt or table salt, which is a muscle relaxant.

How To Treat Betta Constipation with Epsom Salt

Epsom salt can be used to clean your betta's tank if he lives alone. However, if he has several companions in his tank, you'll need to put him into a quarantine aquarium for the duration of his therapy.

Here’s how:

  • 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt per 5 gallons of water should be put into a clean container with some aquarium water.
  • Stir the mixture until the Epsom salt has completely dissolved.
  • Replace the water into your betta’s tank.
  • Keep your betta in the Epsom salt bath for a week or two, or until his condition improves.
Mouth Fungus betta

Columnaris / Mouth Fungus

Mouth fungus, also known as Columnaris, is a viral disease that affects fish who have previously succumbed to another illness or stress, such as a poor diet or an unhygienic habitat.


Columnaris infections are most likely to affect fish that have been stressed by factors such as poor water quality, a poor diet, or stress from transporting and handling.


Treatment is essential. Antibiotics, chemical additives in the water, or both should be used to cure external wounds. Acriflavine, copper sulfate, furan, and Terramycin are some of the medications that can be used in water to cure columnaris. 


Dropsy is a relatively uncommon disease that, if caught early, can be treated and cured. It is also vital to understand the indicators and symptoms so you can isolate the fish you believe have this illness to prevent other Bettas from getting sick.


The most typical Aeromonas bacteria, one of the many gram-negative species found in most aquarium environments, is the one that causes dropsy. 


A gram-negative bacteria-specific antimicrobial, such as Maracyn-Two, should be used. For ensuring the infection is eliminated, a 10-day course is suggested; however, always follow the manufacturer's recommendations for length and dosage.

Fin / Tail Rot


The most typical causes of fin rot are poor water quality and incorrect low-water temperature. Overcrowding the tank, feeding rotten food, overfeeding the fish, or moving or handling them in the wrong way as they are sensitive can also be a major cause of Fin/Tail rotting.


Fin rot can be treated in a variety of ways, and the treatment you choose will be determined by how severe and fast-growing it is. The ecosystem and its size, as well as whether or not your betta is housed in a group tank, will all influence how you treat fin rot. If the fin or tail rot is minor, the tank may be washed and aquarium salt added. If the illness has advanced, antibiotics will be required. Almond leaf can be added to the new water after it has been changed because it has a natural Betta antibiotic.

Fungus / Fungal Infections

A fungus infection occurs when a fungus grows and devours the skin, fins, and internal organs of a fish. On the fish, it forms a white, cotton-like slime. Fortunately, most fungal infections only attack the external surfaces of fish.

The majority of infections are caused by an existing infection or damage. Fungi can be found in almost every aquarium, but certain factors like poor water quality or a stressed or injured fish raise the chance of fungal infections.

The fish's unclean aquarium is usually the cause of their stress, which leads to a fungal infection. Fungal infections are highly transmissible, therefore if one fish has it, the others are likely to catch it as well. When a sick fish is added to an aquarium that already contains fungi, it's likely to get sick.


Fungi are a kind of fungus. True fungal diseases in fish are uncommon, compared to parasites or germs. They typically look like white cottony or "furry" growths on fish, although they can also be internal. They can be caused by a variety of factors, including altered water quality, tainted food or wounds that are not properly healed.


Brush affected areas with a 50% solution of Mercurochrome to a cotton swab for spot treatment. Using the same amount of medication every day and changing the water on a regular basis, continue to use the full dose until all fungus has been eliminated. 

White Spot betta

Ich / White Spot

An external parasite that causes white specks on the skin and gills of your freshwater fish is the cause. This is a typical parasitic illness in aquarium fish, which can be seen with the naked eye.


The protozoan parasite, Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, causes "ich." After it falls off, the parasite multiplies in the tank bottom and new parasites take over. It's also possible that frozen live food transfers ich.


Ich can be dealt with in a variety of methods. Treat the entire tank with formalin or malachite green, as needed. If you have the ability to raise the temperature of your aquarium, clean it and increase it to 85 F/30 degrees Celsius. These parasites are sensitive to heat and will recover promptly if kept at a high enough temperature for several days.

Intestinal Parasites

Betta fish suffering from this kind of infestation will be very lethargic since the parasites feed off of anything the Betta consumes, making them extremely sluggish. An owner must discover this early to ensure that the treatment is effective.


Parasites, such as brown worms, that enter the tank via food may cause this. Intestinal parasites are far less common than external parasites in Betta fish.


There are many different sorts of intestinal parasites that can affect betta fish, and the most appropriate treatment will vary depending on the sort of parasite involved. In general, however, betta fish therapy for intestinal parasites includes medicated food and baths, as well as regular tank cleansings.


A fish's eye swells and bulges from the socket via Popeye disease. Clouding of the eyes is also possible. 


Fish Popeye is most often caused by a fish injury, an infection, or poor aquarium conditions. 


With a little effort, Popeye can usually be addressed by changing the water for a few days in a row, and one teaspoon of aquarium salt per ten liters of water. If the swelling does not go down, you may need to take antibiotics.

Slime Disease Betta

Slime Disease

Slime disease is a term used to describe a variety of parasitic skin diseases that cause freshwater aquarium fish to produce excessively mucous. Slime disease puts aquarium fish at risk of secondary infections and may even kill them. 


Costia, Cyclochaeta, and Chilodonella parasites are the underlying causes. 


If you're seeing a lot of slime, use malachite green every day for a week and replace the water on a daily basis. It's also advised to cure slime disease with aqua salt for ten days or more. 

Swim Bladder Disease

Swim bladder disease is a condition in which the swim bladder does not function properly due to a variety of causes. If your betta is swimming strangely and you believe it has swim bladder disease. Swim bladder disease is an uncommon problem in bettas, although it can be fatal at times. You will be able to cure your betta in a few days of therapy, according to veterinarians.


Floating foods could induce an extended abdomen and displace the swim bladder if eaten too rapidly, resulting in rapid eating, overeating, constipation, or gulping air. Excess moisture in the digestive tract can cause an enlarged stomach or intestinal tract by expanding freeze-dried or dry flake food that has been soaked.


Treatment involves water maintenance, feeding changes, and possible antibiotics. Let the fish fast for three days if an enlarged stomach or intestine is believed to be the source of a swim bladder disease.


Velvet disease (also known as gold-dust, rust, and coral disease) is a fish illness caused by dinoflagellate parasites of the genus Piscinoodinium, particularly Amyloodinium in marine fish, and Oodinium in freshwater fish. The color of the disease is dusty, brownish-gold.


Adult Oodinium parasites attach themselves to the Betta fish, causing this illness. The parasites create a protective shell for themselves for around a week as they feed on the Betta's skin cells.


Turn off tank lights and, if possible, raise the temperature of the water to 30 degrees Celsius to cure a Betta with velvet. Once that is completed, apply the commercial malachite green treatment. Because velvet is so contagious, it's critical to care for every fish in the tank. Make sure the tank is also cleaned and refilled with fresh water.

Tips to Ensure Your Betta Fish Remains Happy and Healthy

There are a few simple things you may do on a daily basis to keep your Betta fish happy and healthy after you've discovered the reason for his or her illness and treated it as necessary. It's vital to keep in mind that when it comes to housing a Betta, prevention is generally better than cure. As a result, we recommend that you:

  • Clean your tank or fishbowl regularly
  • Check pH levels of the water
  • Quarantine new fish that you bring home
  • Add aquarium salt
  • Ensure you don’t overfeed your fish
  • Remove dead fish from a tank immediately for the safety of other fish in the tank
  • Ensure the water is warm

Frequent Questions

How to Treat Betta with Natural Medication?

It's no fun to see a sick betta fish. However, there are things you can do to assist your fish recover.

Steps to Treat a Sick Betta Fish Naturally 

  • Shine a light on your betta fish and watch his or her actions. Attempt to determine if your betta is stressed by water quality or has an illness.
  • Place your betta in a quarantine tank (the water in its usual tank should be drained and cleaned).
  • A heater is required in the quarantine tank.
  • Treat your betta fish with a medicine.

There are numerous other procedures that you can try besides the ones outlined above, and depending on what your betta is afflicted with, you may need to conduct additional study in order to pinpoint the specific problem and obtain the appropriate medication.

What is Aquarium Salt?

Aquarium salt, produced from evaporated sea salt, is an essential item for your aquarium. Salt from an aquarium helps to preserve fish health and enhance gill function, making it simpler for them to breathe. It also has the necessary electrolytes for fish to achieve their greatest color and vitality.

Why Betta Fish Get Sick?

Betta fish are also vulnerable to a variety of freshwater parasites. Because they are maintained in isolation, they are unlikely to be the parasite source, but if it enters their system via another fish or an infected plant, they may become ill.

Do Betta Fish Die Easily? 

Betta fish are delicate creatures that require particular water conditions and special food to live a healthy and full existence. When maintained properly, they are robust fish that may live for three to five years in captivity.

Do Betta Fish Play Dead?

Betta fish do, in fact, play dead. In actuality, betta fish sleep in postures that make them appear to be deceased. When you see your betta fish floating upside down, don't be concerned; it's likely sleeping.


If you're not sure what your fish is suffering from, don't hesitate to get help. The sooner you act, the less damage there will be and your colourful buddy betta fish will be swimming happily once the ideal approach to keep your betta fish healthy is to maintain them happy and healthy by following expert betta fish care.

It's usually preferable to be proactive rather than reactive. Betta fish don't want to be either freezing or living in a cramped and filthy environment, much like you wouldn't desire to be chilly or reside in such a place!

Sarah Robertson

I am a passionate blogger who also happens to be a fish keeping enthusiast. Writing about my hobby is something that I absolutely love to do, and it's no secret that my chosen topic is always centered around fish keeping.

Sarah Robertson

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