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Betta Fish Diseases Can Be Prevented

Updated on July 26, 2011

Betta Fish Diseases Never Come Unexpected

Bettas fish rarely gets sick mysteriously, without any evident reason. This hardy fish is unlikely to get a disease unless the feeding and water conditions are not good enough for healthy and active living. Bettas don't just feel bad without something having gone wrong in their water world. Whatever these improper circumstances are, they need to be addressed asap. Beware that there are many medications marketed at Betta owners, most of them being more harm than cure, especially in the hands of misinformed novices.

Most people get fish because they are easy to care for and look after. And there is no better fish example wise than a beta fish since they are just about as hardy as a goldfish. Because of this, many people won't maintain their betta splendens as well as they should.

Betta fish, because of their large fins, have a tendency to get fungal infections comparatively easily, but this mainly happens to them because the owner missed som points in maintenance and care.

The most common sicknesses are cotton fuzz, a kind of fungus that grows on the betta fish. True fungus is pretty uncommon with betta fish and usually occurs on dying or already dead tissue. The early warning signs of this are: the fish flicking itself on decorations on the tank, white stuff starting to grow on the gills, this can normally be treated rather quickly with antibiotic. Various pet experts recommend the use of antibiotics and anti-microbials preparations. Among such medications are: PimaFix, Fungus Eliminator (by Jungle), BettaMax by Aquatronic .

Fin rot disease is caused by bacteria which damage fins of the fish. The first noticeable signs are little holes in the fin. Betta looks drowsy and is hovering on the surface of the water. This is normally caused by dirty water or the betta damaged itself on something in the tank (plant, etc). Changing the water, removing the obstacle that cut them, or treating them with fungal medication (Jungle) or Tetracycline should help. Other options are Maracyn II and Kanacyn.

Attention: at petsores you can buy Melafix of Bettafix which claim to cure fin rot. Sadly, it is very likely this medicine will not help. Though it may stop the advance of fin rot, as soon as you stop treatment, the disease will catch up and proceed. However, both Melafix and Bettafix can be used after successful treatment to regenerate cells and help regrowing fins damaged by rot.

Pineconing is when your betta's scales look like sticking out a bit, making it look like a pine-cone. This is normally a result of over feeding, constipation, or dropsy. In reality the pineconing probably only happens in less than half of the cases. To help the ill betta, if he is overfed just stop feeding it for a wile (fast him). The same is true for constipation, another thing you can do for constipation is to cut a baked pea in half and feed it to the beta, and the pea will clean him out.

Tiny white spots that you see on a betta fish are symptoms of yet another disease, called Ick. Those spots are sometimes hard to notice. But if your betta starts looking drowsy, eats too little or loses appetite at all, or is just floating on the surface inhaling air in gulps, check the fish for white spots. Change the water in the tank or bowl. This betta disease normally is easily cured by simply raising water temperature to 75-85 F. However, if that doesn't help to treat the sickness, you may try out special anti-ick medications: ICK Away, QuICK (a solution of formalin and malachite green),

However, if there are living fish in the tank never do 100% water change, as time goes on and water quality deteriorates the fish grow accustom to the poor water quality. Bringing the water back to optimal levels should be done gradually to avoid unnecessary stress which, in turn, may end in some disease.

Preventive Measures to Avoid Betta Diseases

To prevent betta fish diseases, make sure you follow the simple betta fish care instructions below, they will make the Siamese Splendens healthy and enthusiastic.

  1. Bettas would prefer at least a 5 gallon tank with heater & filter to enjoy the surroundings. Best water temperature for bettas in mid 80s F and enough room to move around. Spacious tanks allow just that. It is a totally misleading belief that they can exist in small bowls and feel well. Bettas can live (for short time) in very small volumes of water (i.e. as sold in pet stores), they are shipped in a mere teaspoon or two of water, but they cannot live a long and active life in such conditions.
  2. Betta doesn't need an algae eater in his tank. They grow much too large and will also eat the slime coat off of a slow moving fish.

5 Do's in Preventing Betta Diseases

  • Change water in betta fish tank regularly, in small quantities. Thus any accumulated waste and excess of decaying organic substance are removed from the environent. This also helps to remove toxins from the water.
  • Do not make your betta live in an empty tank. Although it's true that more space is better, that space should be filled with some stuff that helps to build a cosy atmosphere for betta. Plants, gravel, or broken clay pots create places where a little creature my rest and hide.
  • Check the pH level of the water on a regular bases. pH can be checked with dip sticks. A high level of pH can cause fin rot disease.
  • Salt plays an important role in preventing betta fish diseases. Aquarium salt or Rock salt suit for this purpose killing bacteria and being safe for the betta.
  • Do not overfeed. Constipation is a common betta fish disease. Get used to feed your betta no more than twice a day, and give him as much food as he can eat within 2 minutes. Take the rest away. More is not better, though bettas are likley to eat everything you give, so be cautious. Create a diet consisting of various types of food, e.g. betta pellets, live and frozen worms, meaty foods occasionally. One a week fasten your betta, that is, do not give him any food. This will not hurt him, but helps to prevent constipation. Half a baked pea is another method to prevent digestive problems.


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    • profile image

      Dillon E. 

      6 years ago

      I have my Beta in a 10 gallon tank with 8 Cory cats and a bristle nose pleco. All the fish get along wonderfully and the only problem I've noticed is the Beta seems to be pushed around by the filter's current. Be patient and do research before you buy a fish, they require more maintenance than you may think.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i have a male betta fish in a 1 gallon tank and hes not eating!!!!!!! he is healthy other then that and looks ok (not skinny at all)what's wrong with him??!!?

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great points all. Most especially regarding the need for clean water. It really is as foundational for betta health as it is for human health - maybe even more so!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I HAD 5 Bettas. Two males and three females. Three of them died in less than 12 hours! I have two females left, but one of them acts drowsy, but does not meet any of the signs listed above. My blue female was the only one to demonstrate signs in enough time I suppose. The males didn't show any signs until it was too late. I noticed spots and fin rot, took all the precautions, an hour later Blue died, then 3 hours later Velvet died. I feel like a fish killer, but I think I bought diseased fish and didn't realize it.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      my betta just died :(

      i SUCK!

    • profile image

      bonnie kauffman 

      9 years ago

      i got fish after my sister we take care 2 betta now we use have three all of die 2 we buyed but my had sickness it died

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      hi i bought some gold fish for my daughter but really haven't a clue i have a 100litre tank 5 goldfish one died last week otherwise i would hav 6 anyway i hav two pumps to filter the water a oxigenerator i spotted white spott on three fish so i treated them with white spot treatment and the problem was resolved but now 4 of them hav fin rot really bad tried disease treatment but they are getting worse please help me otherwise im going to hav an upset daughter shes only 5

    • profile image


      9 years ago


    • Bard of Ely profile image

      Steve Andrews 

      9 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Excellent hub! I used to keep these fish many years back and bred them on several occasions.


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