March 14

Sarah Robertson

Why Is My Betta Fish Not Moving?

Bettas are a particularly popular fish due to their vibrant colors, ease of care, and relatively long life spans. Young bettas are extremely active, so It's vital to find the ideal home for these creatures. Although bettas can be housed in community tanks with other fish (so long as the tank mates are not aggressive with the betta), they are most often kept alone in small tanks, generally no larger than 3 gallons.

They are active swimmers that like to move about. However, you may sometimes find your betta at the bottom of the tank for no apparent reason. "Why is my betta fish not moving?" you might wonder.

Because bettas are so active, it can be quite alarming if they aren't moving around the way they should be. They are always exploring their surroundings, doing laps around the tank, and swimming up to the top of the water to take gulps of air.

If your betta fish is not moving at all then it's likely that he is sick or near death. It's important to get a sick betta checked out by a veterinarian in order to save its life.

If your betta fish is showing less movement than usual, it's important to look at some of the reasons why this might be happening. If he isn't eating, then there may be something wrong with his digestive system or organs.

This can result from the type of food the betta is being fed. Using a high quality betta pellet food is an excellent way to promote healthy betta fish and ensure that they have a complete diet.

Why Is My Betta Fish Not Moving But Still Alive?

Sleeping or Resting:

Bettas are tropical freshwater fish that sleep at night. A betta who is lethargic and does not move could be resting or sleeping. The manner in which some bettas sleep may differ from fish to fish, but they do so on their sides without moving.

Overtired betta fish do not move as much since they are more relaxed. Make sure that the lights in your tank are out for at least 12 hours everyday so your betta can sleep properly.

Bad Water Quality:

Bettas are hardy fish, but they are still living creatures that require clean water. If the quality of your betta's water is not up to par, then he will be lethargic and may stop moving around. Using a filter is an excellent way to keep the water in your tank clean. You should also change 25 percent of the tank water every 1-2 weeks in order to keep it fresh.

Low Oxygen Levels:

Bettas are anabantids, meaning they can breathe oxygen that is in the air above the tank. Bettas must rise to the surface of their tanks so they can breath air. If there is not an adequate amount of oxygen in the tank then your betta will stop moving and may sleep a lot. Keep a living plant in the tank to circulate oxygen, or invest in a betta fish bubbler for additional oxygenation.

Water Temperature & pH Level:

Water parameters like temperature and pH plays an important role in bettas health and movement. Bettas are tropical fish, they enjoy water between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit. If the water gets too cold, it can harm or kill the betta. The immune system of the betta will slow down as a result of the colder temperature, making them vulnerable to illness.

 Hotter tank water may make them uncomfortable and speed up their aging, since their metabolism will accelerate. A heater is required to keep temperatures steady. If the temperature of your betta tank is not between 75-82 degrees, your betta may spend most of its time laying on the bottom.

The water should be changed at least once a week to keep the pH between 6.5 and 8. Water should be replaced frequently, at the very least once a week, to guarantee that the fish has enough fresh water. Individual betta may prefer a different alkalinity or hardness level depending on its age and strain.

Ammonia level and nitrite should be kept at 0.5 ppm or less in a betta tank, but ideally as close to zero as possible, and nitrate levels need to be kept below 20 ppm.

The Betta Has Passed Away:

When a betta dies it lies down at the bottom of the tank and does not move. If you come back later and it's still down at the bottom, there is nothing else to do but clean up its remains and put in a new betta. Sometimes this can be difficult to deal with emotionally, especially if you were close with your pet fish, but it's important to remember that bettas are living creatures and sometimes they just don't make it.

Swim Bladder Problems, Constipation, & Other Illnesses:

Bettas accumulate air bubbles in their stomachs as a result of overfeeding. This can cause swim bladder problems and the betta will have difficulty swimming. It may also be constipated, which can lead to a swollen belly. These issues must be treated by a veterinarian.

These illness restricts bettas ability to swim around the tank, which may cause them to be lethargic. If your betta has these issues then you need to isolate it from other fish or get it help immediately.

There are several other illnesses that could affect your pets movement. If you spot things like white stringy poop, small black spots on the bettas body, or unusual behavior it could be because your betta is sick.

 If you think this may be the problem then take your betta to a veterinarian immediately. Fin and Tail Rot, Columnaris, Dropsy, Pop Eye, Mouth Fungus, Ich, Anchor Worms..etc are some common diseases that affect bettas.

Improper Feeding & Food:

In small betta bowls, bettas should be fed once every other day. In a larger tank, they can be fed one to two times a day. Overfeeding your betta will cause the same symptoms as constipation and swim bladder issues. It can also make them lethargic and sleep a lot more often because their stomachs are full. Symptoms of improper feeding are the same as constipation, slow movement, bloated stomachs, and lethargy.

Parasitic Infection:

Betta fish are usually quite resilient creatures but that doesn't mean they can fight off every disease or parasite that comes along. If you see your betta fish scratching against decorations, have red streaks on its body, or see small black spots then it may have parasites.

Fish Flukes are a common parasite that bettas often contract. Although they are generally harmless they can cause anemia which leads to lethargy and slow movement.

Aquarium Size Not Adequate:

Bettas can grow up to 5 inches in length and they need a lot of room. Even the smallest betta needs at least 3 gallons to stay healthy and happy during its lifetime. If you shut your fish into too small an aquarium then it will spend most of its time trying to deal with stress rather than swimming around like normal . This can cause it to be lethargic and slow moving.

Betta is Aging:

Just like with humans, bettas get old and start slowing down as they get past their prime years. If your betta seems to be sleeping more often than normal or doesn't seem to want to swim around its tank then there is a good chance it's getting up there in years.


Bettas can get injured by other pets in the tank, especially if they share an aquarium with larger fish and fish with long flowing fins. Bettas may also scrape themselves on sharp decorations within the tank. If your betta has any injuries then it will be lethargic and just want to lay at the bottom of the aquarium.


Some bettas are just naturally slower and more lethargic than others. This is because of their genetics and you cannot do anything about it except provide them with a larger tank and try to make their environment as stress-free as possible (no loud noises, no other pets, etc.) If your betta is lethargic and won't swim around then it may be because of its genetics.

Fear of Tank Mates:

If you have other fish in your bettas tank then it may be bullying your Betta and keeping him from swimming around. Bettas can be very aggressive to one another and will usually fight until one is dead or severely injured. This can cause slow movement and lethargy because the weaker betta doesn't want to swim around anymore. If the bettas are placed in the same tank, you must closely observe their activities.

Betta Fish Active

How To Keep A Betta Fish Active?

Here Are the Things You Can Do to to Keep Betta Fish Active:

  • Get Good Sized Tank : To keep a betta fish, a minimum 5-gallon tank is required. However, if you have the space, go for a larger aquarium every time since bigger is usually better for fish.
  • Maintain Water Quality
    It's fine to leave your betta in his tank as you add fresh water on a regular basis, but make sure you pour the water slowly so as not to annoy the fish. But a complete water change once a week is recommended.
    Bettas prefer a pH of 6.8 to 7.5 in order to enjoy peaceful water. While they may seem to tolerate colder temperatures, they will be inactive and more vulnerable to sickness, therefore maintaining a temperature range of 76° and 85° F is optimal for their overall health.
  • Tropical Environment
    Bettas are tropical fish and need warmer environments to stay healthy and active.

If you live in a warmer climate, you may not need to use a heater all year. However, if your home temperature varies significantly throughout the year, it is recommended that you add heater to your tank especially during winter.

What Are the Signs of an Active Betta Fish?

Due to the popular misconception that bettas are lazy, most owners become concerned when their fish begin swimming and moving around the tank. This is typical behavior for bettas, so there's nothing to be concerned about!

A Betta That Is Happy and Active Will Have the Following Characteristics:

Big Appetite

Healthy fish will always try to consume as much food as they can because they like to eat. As soon as you put food in the tank, an active and happy betta will begin eating it and will seek for more. If your betta is eating everything you offer him, he is active and in good condition.


Keep an eye on your betta to see whether he or she is lively. Every day, a healthy betta should swim a fair amount everyday. Furthermore, when you are near the aquarium, the swimming should increase dramatically.


Betta fish are sociable, interactive companions that enjoy interacting with their owners and following them around the tank. When near, you may notice your betta swimming up and down the side of the tank rapidly, as if it wants to be closer to you.

Bubble Nests

An active betta fish will engage in a variety of behaviors to entice a mate. Fish are very concerned about breeding, and any betta in its prime wants to do it. Finding a bubble nest in your aquarium is an indication that your betta is happy, healthy, and active.

What Are the Signs of a Lethargic Betta Fish?

Now that you know what a healthy and active betta fish looks like, learn what to look for in an inactive one.

Loss Of Appetite

Change in betta's eating habits is one of the first signal that he or she is lethargic. While an active betta will consume all of the food right away, a motionless fish will barely eat.

If your betta begins to pick at its food and neglects meals, you should be concerned. Furthermore, the tank's bottom will have more uneaten food waste.

Slimmer Appearance

Due to loss of appetite betta will look more thinner and sicklier. This usually happens when fish are unhappy and depressed.

Loss Of Energy

An active betta is a healthy betta. So, you should be concerned if your betta's activity levels drop. A “lazy” betta will begin to idle about the tank and stop swimming as before. You may also notice that your fish has been in the same position for a long time.

Loss Of Interest

When you come close to the tank, an inactive betta will not react. This is a cause for concern since bettas like interacting with their owners. Aside from losing interest in you, your fish may hide or just hover inside the tank without paying attention to her surroundings.

Faded Color

Faded color and clamped fins are indicators that your betta is unhappy. Some depressed bettas act lethargically, whereas others become aggressive or develop erratic swimming movements.

betta fish is dying

How Do You Know if Your Betta Fish Is Dying?

Betta fish that are sick, stressed, or dying might exhibit a few of the following symptoms:

  • Lethargy & Sluggish swimming
  • Faded color / Discoloration
  • Twitching, Darting or Odd Movements
  • HidingNot eating / Loss of appetite

If your sick fish has any of these symptoms, please have a close look to identify the underlying cause.


Is It Normal for Betta Fish to Not Move?

It's typical for Betta fish to sit motionless at times, and there are several causes for this. The most common reasons that your Betta fish isn't moving is because he or she is sleeping or resting.

Other factors, such as water quality, disease, and temperature, might also cause your Betta to become sluggish and not move around as much.

Are Mirrors Good for Betta Fish?

Although using a mirror isn't harmful to your betta, excessively doing so might be. When your betta looks at his reflection, he'll get stressed. It's good stress for him since he will become anxious. It won't be harmful if you don't leave it at the point where he is exhausted or irritable.

Why Is My Betta Fish Not Active?

It's possible that it's due to incorrect feeding, illness, or improper water conditions. It could also be caused by the fact that your Betta is growing old and its life is ebbing away from its body. Old Betta fish will be more lethargic and unresponsive than young ones.

Do Betta Fish Need Toys to Stay Active?

Bettas are very intelligent. They're quick learners who can learn new skills quickly. Fish toys are an excellent way to teach your fish new tricks while keeping them engaged. You can use ping pong balls and hoops to make your aquarium more interesting.

How Can I Make a Betta Fish Happy?

You can keep your betta happy by providing aquatic plants and fish tank decorations that provide lots of hiding spots; toys, including floating mirrors; and betta hammocks. A happy betta will be more energetic and will move around the tank more frequently.

Do Betta Fishes Get Lonely?

Betta fish are territorial by nature and should not be kept with other betta fish since they will fight and possibly kill each other. They are unlikely to get lonely in their tank; nevertheless, if they're in a small container, they may become bored.

Final Thoughts:

Bettas are a particular type of fish that requires a lot of care in order to thrive in a home environment. Bettas must be fed high quality food and kept in clean water at all times. If your betta fish stops moving then look for signs of stress, illness, or poor water quality..etc. Look into feeding your betta a high quality pellet food, and keep the tank well filtered so your betta can breathe clean air.

An active betta fish will eat any pellets, flakes or freeze dried food that you offer it. Healthy betta fish are energetic and will swim around the tank when they are active. If your betta fish is staying still in your tank then something could be wrong with your fish's health. If you notice lethargy in your betta fish, there may be an underlying issue with your betta's health. If you notice other symptoms, then you should definitely seek your veterinarians advice.

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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