Beware of These Common Betta Fish Illnesses


Betta fish make fun and beautiful pets, but more than likely your betta fish is going to get sick at some point in time. It is important that you are prepared to treat your betta when he is sick and this includes being aware of various diseases that affect betta fish, their symptoms, and how you can treat them. Once you know the basics of betta fish diseases you will be better prepared to recognize and treat your betta to prevent the disease becoming too serious or even fatal. The following are five of the most common diseases that affect betta fish.

Tail or Fin Rot

Tail rot and fin rot are common betta diseases that are caused by water that becomes too dirty. You can actually prevent this disease from ever affecting your fish if you are careful to always keep their water clean. As a general rule this is an easy condition to treat and it does not seem to be contagious either. If you treat your fish as soon as possible you will be able to stop the progression of the disease and their tails and fins will grow back.

Some of the symptoms to look for include the betta’s tail and fins getting shorter and shorter. Their fins may also start to have a darker color and they may appear as if they are dissolving or actually falling apart. While some betta’s may not even act sick, others may stop eating, get clumped fins, and start looking pale.

Thankfully treating tail and fin rot is fairly easy and will provide results in a few weeks. For treatment you will need to do a full jar water change and use Fungus Eliminator, as well as either tetracycline or Triple Sulfa. After the initial change you will need to be sure to change the water every three days and when you do you should add more medication to the water as well. It is important that you continue the treatment until you fish improves and you seen new fin and tail growth occurring. This may take a few weeks, so continue the treatment until your fish improve.


Another very common disease in betta fish is ick. Ick is actually a type of parasite and many times it is present in frozen food that is live. Although ick is one of the most contagious betta diseases, it can be treated. You can prevent your fish from getting ick by adding Aquarisol and salt to your fish’s water.

If you start to see white dots appearing on your betta’s body, including the head and even his eyes, this is a sign that your fish has ick. More than likely your beta will also become much less active than before and may appear sick and have clumped fins as well. They may feel itchy, so you may see them darting and rubbing against rocks in their tanks.

Since ick is such a contagious disease it is best to go ahead and treat the entire tank of fish for disease. Ick is very sensitive to temperature, so you should raise the temperature in your tank to about 85 degrees F. For every gallon in your tank, add one drop of Aquarisol every single day until your fish are better. Usually it will only take a few days to get rid of this disease.


Dropsy is actually the most common disease among bettas and it is also the most likely to be fatal to your fish as well. While not a great deal is known about this disease many feel that it is linked to live foods, and it especially seems linked to feeding them the black worms. Many people have found that they can prevent dropsy all together by not allowing their fish to eat black worms.

The symptoms of dropsy are quite easy to recognize and they include a bloated belly and scales that appear as if they are raised. The raised scales may actually appear very similar to a pine cone.

Unfortunately there is not a known cure for this betta fish disease. It is, however, very important that you isolate the betta that appears to have dropsy as soon as possible so the other fish will not contract the disease.

Swim Bladder Disorder

Another very common disease that betta’s may get is swim bladder disorder. This actually comes as a result from feeding them too much. This disease is not contagious, and as a general rule it affects the younger bettas if they have eaten to much or have become very stressed.

If you see a betta that is having a hard time swimming, seems off balance, or prefers to just lay near the bottom, there is a good chance they are suffering from swim bladder disorder. Many times you will see them just sliding along on the bottom of the tank as well.

Many times you will find that your betta will recover by himself, but it is probably a good idea to not feed them as much for a few days. It is also helpful to eliminate brine shrimp from their diet as well, as this can actually cause part of the problem. In the future, try to be sure that you feed your fish a balanced diet to prevent this from happening again.

These are just a few of the common betta fish diseases that you my deal with in your bettas. Other diseases that bettas may have to deal with include external parasites, bacterial infection, fungal infection, depression, and velvet. Having medications on hand such as tetracyclin, Ampicillin, jungle fungus eliminator, and maracin 1 and 2. Just taking some simple preventive measures can help keep your fish from developing many of these diseases, but it important to know what to do if these diseases occur in your fish.


Source by Sarah Munn

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