Is Your Betta sick? Here’s What to Do

Siamese Fighting FishSiamese Fighting Fish

Betta Fish Care: Lists of Symptoms, Diseases and Cures.

Betta fish, also known as Siamese Fighting Fish, originated from small ponds and rivers of Thailand and Cambodia. They are primarily carnivorous surface feeders and can live up to four years in captivity.

Poor water quality inside their tank increases their susceptibility to important diseases. Like any other species of fish, their health is closely linked with the existing conditions in their environment. To keep your Betta healthy, you should make it a point to check the tank’s conditions frequently, coupled with regular cleaning and intensive care.

The Betta can suffer from various health problems caused by bacteria, fungi, protozoa, viruses, and parasites. Distinct symptoms are often manifested and should give you a clue there is something wrong with your fish which needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

Disease Condition Cause Symptoms Prevention and Treatment Remarks
Fuzz Fungus (Saprolegnia sp. and Achlya sp.) White fluffy appearance on the body, and may include small gray tufts on the fin areas
  • Spot treatment with gentian violet, methylene blue, iodine and povidone
  • Aquarium salt
  • Potassium permanganate can be made into a paste and applied over the infected area
  • Aquarium fungicide can be used in serious cases
Usually an opportunistic infection that attacks immune-compromised fish recovering from another disease, subjected to a lot of stress, or has been exposed to poor water conditions for quite a long time.
Fin Rot or Tail Rot Bacteria
  • The Betta’s tail seems to be getting shorter and shorter, or they may seem to be falling apart and dissolving
  • A dark reddish color may be present on the edge of the fins or tail
  • Fins may be clumped
  • Color may be pale
  • Spot treatment of infected areas with Gentian violet, tetracycline or ampicillin
  • To help with osmoregulation, mix 1 tablespoon of aquarium salt for each 5 gallons of water
  • Frequent water changes
  • Predisposing factors include poor water quality or fin injury
  • Frequently followed by a secondary fungal infection
  • Affected fins and tails will grow back however these may not have the same color or may not be as long
Swim Bladder Disease Bacteria
  • Abnormal swimming patterns
  • Loss of balance, may float vertically at the top of the water or lie on the tank bottom
  • Treat with antibiotic in a clean, shallow tank-Fasting for 24-48 hours, and offer a pea the following day
  • Frequent water change
  • Predisposing Factors include physical injury to the swim bladder due to fighting or during transportation from the fish store
  • poor water quality
  • overfeeding
  • rough handling
  • Double Tail Bettas are more prone to the condition due to their shorter bodies
Ick (also known as Ich or White Spot) Parasite (Ichthyopthirius sp.)
  • The affected fish may appear as if it has been sprinkled with salt.
  • Less active
  • Loss of appetite
  • Clamped fins
  • May scratch on any object including rocks, plants, etc.
  • Commercial ick medications that contain formalin or malachite green
  • Increase the temperature of the tank water to 30° C (85° F)
  • Full water change
  • Very contagious
  • The parasite is sensitive to heat, thus raising the tank’s temperature causes the parasites to detach from the fish and swim in the medicated water

There are all sorts of things that can affect the health of your fish. The most common illnesses are usually bacterial or parasitic, sometimes fungal diseases, and on occasion physical ailments. Learn about all types of maladies on our extensive Aquarium Fish Diseases and Treatments page.

Peter Hartono is the founder and CEO of Just Aquatic – a proud Australian company that provides a wide selection of live aquatic plants, aquarium decorations and http://www.justaquatic.com.au/shop/build-your-aquarium/betta-fish-tanks/
betta fish tanks and supplies.

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