Common Betta Ailments and Remedies

Author: Kris Walker   Date Posted: 1 April 2020 

Helping Siamese Fighting Fish to stay healthy Bettas are an extremely popular home aquarium choice, and understanding how to spot and treat common ailments that can impact your beloved fish.

Ich ‘White Spot’

Ich, also commonly referred to as “white spot”, is a parasitic disease.

How Can I Prevent Ich For My Betta?

Ichthyophthirius multifiliis (‘Ich’) is a parasitic infection which is highly contagious. The infection takes advantage of weakened immune systems, such as those experienced by stressed fish or fish already fighting another infection.

To help prevent ich, regular water changes and the addition of water conditioner. In addition to regular water changes, keeping a close eye on water parameters such as your ammonia and pH using an aquarium water testing kit

How Can I Tell If My Betta Has Ich?

Ich is a common infection which is recognisable by small white flecks or spots on the body of your fish. Your infected fish may also experience a loss of appetite and want to hide or rest on the bottom of your aquarium. You may also notice him rubbing or ‘scratching’ himself on aquarium decor. 

How Can I Treat Ich For My Betta?

The good news about Ich, if discovered and treated early, you will see a good response from treatment. However, if left untreated, ich can be fatal.

Once you suspect ich, it’s important to begin treatment immediately.

Velvet

Piscinoodinium (‘Velvet’) is a highly contagious parasite that will spread to all fish in your tank and if left untreated, is fatal within a few days.

How Can I Prevent Velvet For My Betta?

Velvet is introduced into your aquarium with poor water quality, low temperature or stressed fish. Regular water changes, high quality water conditioner and appropriate temperature and lighting is essential to help you avoid Velvet in your aquariums. 

How Can I Tell If My Betta Has Velvet?

A fish suffering from velvet will have a grey (initial stages) to gold (later stages) coating on his body. This can be difficult to see with the naked eye, but will become more obvious when observed under good aquarium lighting. Your infected fish may, as with Ich, begin to rub himself on decor. 

How Can I Treat Velvet For My Betta?

Treatment for betta involves immediately isolating any affected fish and performing a water change. The use of an anti-parasite medication such as Wardley Promethyasul Broad Spectrum Medication, which will help control any bacterial, fungal or parasitic diseases. Additionally, raising the aquarium temperature slightly and dimming your aquarium lights temporarily can help stop the life cycle of the bacteria that causes velvet. 

Constipation and Swim Bladder Disease

Your betta fish may become constipated as a result of over-feeding. Swim bladder disease can be caused by the pressure from constipation or through sustaining an injury.

How Can I Prevent Constipation and Swim Bladder Disease For My Betta?

Constipation occurs if your betta is overfed. While it may seem simple to not feed your fish too much, this can be made more difficult by a fish that gives you ‘hungry eyes’ or in a community tank!

The risk of Swim Bladder Disease can be alleviated by avoiding constipation, however, there is a risk of damage to the swim bladder through injury. 

How Can I Tell If My Betta Has Constipation or Swim Bladder Disease?

A constipated fish may show signs including a lack of appetite or disinterest in food, a swollen abdomen and not defecating. 

A fish experiencing swim bladder disease will show extreme difficulty while trying to swim and he may, in addition to struggling to swim, float to the top or sink to the bottom of your aquarium. If swim bladder disease is caused by constipation, visual bloating will be present. 

How Can I Treat Constipation and Swim Bladder Disease For My Betta?

If your Betta is suffering from constipation, typically a day or two of fasting will clear his system and from then on, extra care not to overfeed him in future will help him avoid repeat constipation. 

If no bloating is apparent, the cause of swim bladder disease is likely from an injury. Typically, an injury should heal over time.

Confusion around betta feeding requirements, and the desire for their carers to give them the best, means that overfeeding is a common mistake for aquarium hobbyists. 

Fin/Tail Rot

Fin or Tail Rot are bacterial infections which cause damage to the tail, fins, or both of your Betta. If discovered and treated early, your fish’s fins and tail will likely grow back. However, if an advanced case is left untreated for a long duration, fin and tail rot can be fatal. 

How Can I Prevent Fin and Tail Rot For My Betta?

Fin or tail rot can be caused by unclean aquarium water or damage to the fins and tail. Such damage is typically caused with rough handling or sharp or jagged aquarium decor. Always gently handle your fish with an appropriate tool such as an aquarium net and check your tank accessories for sharp or jagged edges. 

Additionally, a high quality Betta food combined with regular water changes and conditioning can keep your aquarium water clean and help your fish avoid infections.

How Can I Tell if my Betta Has Fin or Tail Rot?

Fin and tail rot are easily recognisable in fish - you will see tears, obvious visual damage and even pieces of fin or tail missing. 

How Can I Treat Fin or Tail Rot In My Betta?

Once you have diagnosed fin or tail rot with your Betta, an anti-bacterial medication such as Fungusade is recommended to help your fish’s rot heal. 

More Information

To find out more about the best care for your Bettas, please check out our Betta Care Sheet which can help point you in the right direction to help your Betta fish thrive!

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