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Betta Fish Diseases

Updated on January 13, 2016
Bob Schroeder profile image

I love the beauty of Betta Fish as they swim. I have had many of them over the years and have had to learn a lot about their diseases.

How Many Betta Fish Diseases Are There?

I was surprised to see how many there were

Here are some of the betta diseases I could find.

VELVET ...looks like your betta is covered with gold dust

POPEYE..kind of self explanatory, this is a disease your sick betta can recover from

SWIM BLADDER DISORDER...may just lay on the bottom or try to crawl along the bottom

PARASITES ...the betta will try to scratch itself on anything that is available

FUNGAL INFECTION...this happens when your sick betta has white cottony like patches on its body or head.

TAIL ROT OR FIN ROT...this one really scared me because the betta's fins and/or tail seem to be getting shorter and shorter. Fortunately, this was not happening with "Joey".

ICK ...I guess this one is pretty common your sick betta has white dots all over their body and head, even eyes.

DROPSY ...an abnormally big belly , raised scales that look like an open pine cone. The sad thing was-----there was nothing we could do about it, this betta disease is a death sentence that happens in a very short time.

Even though these are tough little fighting fish, they can develop a number of diseases. It's always best to be prepared with information and possible solutions.

picture from sick-betta-fish.blogspot.com

Keep An Eye On Your Betta Fish

Pay attention to your Betta Fish on a daily basis. They can get sick very quickly if you aren't watching them for tell tale signs.

Is Your Betta Acting Different? Maybe You Have a Sick Betta Fish

Our little betta fish "Joey" was doing fine, and then one day he started acting strange and I realized that we had a sick betta on our hands!!!

A little over 3 years ago, my wife decided that she wanted a Betta Fish for her birthday present. Of course, I jumped at this opportunity to get out of thinking up a gift myself and told her that we could go to the local pet store and find just the fish for her.

Our selection was a beautiful, vivid blue betta that was named "Joey". Don't ask me why she named it "Joey" but she did. Next step was selecting a small aquarium and all the rest of the fish gear ($3 for the fish and $35 for the gear). My wife had selected the perfect place for her new friend, out of direct sunlight and in a spot where he wouldn't get knocked over.

For the next 2 years "Joey"lived in his place, he was cleaned regularly, fed on a regular basis and actually talked to a few times a day. My wife insisted that we take him when we went on vacation in our travel trailer, so we bought a small travel aquarium and put him in a foam cushion while on the road.

picture from sick-betta-fish.blogspot.com

Introduce Your New Betta Fish

Betta Fish Care

All Seems OK

But Watch Out For The Sick Betta

All went well until a month before our last trip, about 4 months ago. "Joey seems to be getting fat" my wife told me and she pointed out how wide he was getting when viewed from the front.

We chalked it up to old age and decide to keep an eye on him, even though, in the back of my mind I had a feeling that he was getting sick.

About 3 weeks into our trip "Joey" started to get bigger again, even though he had not been getting any extra food.

His swimming was very different, he struggled to the top for air, stayed near the bottom all the time and almost rolled onto his back because of the large "belly" he had in front.

At that point I knew that our little "Joey" was a sick betta and I hoped that there was something we could do for him.

betta fish
betta fish

What Was Making My Betta Sick?

Hours and hours of research on betta diseases helped

If you are like me, you figure that "a fish is just a fish" and they shouldn't get diseases.

What a shock, when I did some research and found all the things that can make a betta ill. It was harder than trying to figure out what would make a child sick.

Here are some of the betta illnesses I found.

FUNGAL INFECTION...this happens when your sick betta has white cottony like patches on its body or head.

TAIL ROT OR FIN ROT...this one really scared me because the betta's fins and/or tail seem to be getting shorter and shorter. Fortunately, this was not happening with "Joey".

ICK ...I guess this one is pretty common your sick betta has white dots all over their body and head, even eyes.

I spent a lot of time going through the various diseases, what they look like, the symptoms my betta would display, what could be done about it and on and on. Finally I came upon the betta disease that I thought our "Joey" had.

DROPSY ..."Joey had all the signs, an abnormally big belly , raised scales that look like an open pine cone. The sad thing was-----there was nothing we could do about it, this betta disease is a death sentence that happens in a very short time.

picture from fishcare.blogliterature.com

"joey" Was a Tough Fish

He fought hard, hung in there, but this betta disease was too much for him

During the 3 years that we had him, "Joey" became part of our family.

When my wife or I passed by, he would come to the front of his aquarium, flap his fins, as if to say hello (or where is my food). He seemed to really enjoy it when one of us would stop, put our face near the aquarium and talk to him. The little guy appeared to know us and even got excited when the dogs passed by him.

We very rarely went on a trip without "Joey". Into his traveling aquarium he would go, tucked away in his foam container, all set to see the brand new world out there.

It was only a couple of days after we finally decided that he had the dreaded betta disease, Dropsy, that "Joey" passed away.

The sad thing was, we could do nothing about it. He was buried under a pine tree in New Mexico, we thought that it would be appropriate for him to give back to the earth, of himself.

betta diseases
betta diseases

"joey's" Traveling Gear

If your betta travels, this might work for you

After getting our betta, we thought that he would have to stay at home when we were traveling in our trailer.

This would involve finding someone to take care of him that knew how to handle bettas and would take the time to really clean him and properly feed him.

Since we travel in a trailer we decided that "Joey" would come with us, so we could make sure he was treated correctly.

Our travel solution was very simple........we purchased a small aquarium that had a lid on it, about 6H X 8L X 5W, just big enough for our one betta.

Then we took a piece of foam 4H X 11L X 7W hollowed out a space just big enough for the aquarium and BINGO, Joey had a travel home.

ALL YOU BETTA FISH LOVERS - Please leave any comments or tips you think might be helpful to everyone on dealing with sick bettas

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    • bettafishlovers profile image

      bettafishlovers 4 years ago

      Hey! ur lens is very interesting and educative. thanks for the great content here.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Any way to keep them from getting this dropsy? I am sure that is what mine has:(

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      We are sorry too.

      It is really sad. My son (6 years old) yesterday lost his betta, named Stickery. 2 years as a family member. This was a second fish what we lost. His stopped making bubbles, less movement after the tail twisted and his blue colors changed to the dark purple. This was a second fish what we lost. The first was Super girl. We enjoy her only 1 year. That lost was my fault. When I changed the water,the level was too high and I donât put on the top of a mini aquarium. She always was looks like happy when see us with a very exited movements. She jumped out.

      Today we will look a new betta. Thank you for the interesting informations.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I am very sorry about your betta.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      So sorry this fish story did not have a happy ending :(

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      informative indeed on sick fish, 'thumbs up' from me to you.

    • rhodacks profile image

      rhodacks 5 years ago

      bettas are very beautiful.

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 5 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      Very interesting article about sickness in fish. It's true, it's something most of us never think about. I hope you get another betta.