Diagnosing Betta Fish Illnesses

betta lovers guide
The purpose of this article is to help diagnose different Betta Fish Illnesses. If you already know the disease or sickness your Betta has, please read Betta Diseases to learn the best cures for your Betta’s illness and ways to prevent this and other illnesses in the future.

Please note that I am not a doctor or a veternarian, and have no formal training in diagnosing Betta fish. I am simply an enthusiast with years of experience. The knowledge here comes from my own experience as well as some reading and other research I’ve done, but I make no promise or guarantee about any of the information or treatments below.

There are a variety of Betta fish illnesses that your Betta can have. As soon as you discover that your Betta is sick, it’s critical to isolate the unhealthy Betta so it doesn’t contaminate the other fish in the tank. Even if your tank doesn’t contain other fish, you should use a one gallon bowl for the sick fish – this makes it easy to administer the proper dose of medication. Avoid an abrupt change of water by using the same tank water as is in his usual tank. When you do a water change, remove around two thirds of the water and then slowly add water every hour until the bowl is full – this will also ensure your Betta acclimates and isn’t shocked by an abrupt change.

Also, as a general rule make sure to wash your hands with antibacterial soap after treating your Betta, so you don’t contaminate any new fish (and in the case of Tuberculosis, so you don’t catch it – see below).

Click HERE for Caring for Betta Fish: a Guide for Betta Lovers

It’s important to figure out the symptoms, then diagnose and treat the sick fish. Below are some common ailments and how you can spot them. Once you figure out what your Betta fish illness is, check out Betta Diseases for the best treatments.

A healthy Betta should be active and swimming around the tank, while a sick one will tend to hang around in a corner or sometimes at the bottom and only come up for air.

Betta Fish Illnesses – Clamped Fins
Make sure to check his fins. If they are close to the Betta’s body, then they may have clamped fins, which is a sign of poor water quality. Start changing half the water every day until water quality is good and his fins are back to normal.

Betta Fish Illnesses – Ich
If you see small white spots on its body and fins then it has a very serious parasite called ich. This needs to be treated immediately. Ich can be caused by fluctuating water temperatures or other stressful scenarios for your Betta. Stressed out Betta are much more prone to parasites and other illnesses. A sure sign of ich is if you see your Betta rubbing and swimming against stuff in order to wipe off the parasites.

Betta Fish Illnesses – Fungus
Gray or White growth that is larger than small spots is a fungus infection. It may eventually turn into cotton looking growth.

Betta Fish Illnesses – Tail or Fin Rot
If your Betta’s fins look like they are rotting, shredded at the ends, or have holes in them, then he probably has fin-rot. Fin rot is a bacterial infection and one of the more common ailments of a Betta. Fin rot can spread quickly to the rest of the body, so needs to be taken care of immediately. In severe cases you may see redness or bleeding of the fins.

Betta Fish Illnesses – Constipation
Your Betta can get constipated if his food is not changed regularly (Betta’s are healthiest on a variety of food – see Feeding Betta Fish for more information). If your Betta has a normal activity level, but has a swollen abdomen, he is probably constapated.

Betta Fish Illnesses – Velvet
Velvet is another common Betta fish disease. If you spot powdery yellow dust on his scales, then he probably has velvet. It can be hard to spot, so if you’re not sure, flash a light onto his scales to check.

Betta Fish Illnesses – Dropsy
Dropsy is easily spotted by the bloated belly and raised scales on your Betta. The scales will look like an open pine cone if looking from above.

Betta Fish Illnesses – Popeye
Popeye is easy to spot – if your Betta has a cloudy, protruding eye or a large bubble covering his eye area then he has popeye.

Betta Fish Illnesses – Tuburculoses
Tuberculoses is the only known illness that a fish can pass to a human being, so make sure you don’t have any open cuts and are not already sick (with a weak immunity) before submerging your hand in the water, or better yet wear clean gloves. Don’t worry too much – the worst it can do to you is give you a skin infection, although this is easily preventable.

If you see swelling or scale protrusion, weight loss, skin defects and/or discoloration, loss of scales, loss of apetite, lethargy and clamped fins then he may have Tuberculosis.

Once you figure out what your Betta fish illness is, check out Betta Diseases for the best treatments.

betta lovers guide

Do You Want to Ensure Your Betta Lives a Happy, Healthy Life?

If you answered YES to the above question, then I highly recommend you get Caring for Betta Fish: a Guide for Betta Lovers by Marcus Song.

This regularly updated, essential guide includes the right plants to keep water clean and free from ammonia, ways to acclimate your Betta to other fish, and much more. Your Betta Fish will thank you for the rest of his life! Click Here to get it now!