15 Common Betta Fish Diseases (With Photos): Prevention and Treatment
Betta fish suffer from a number of health conditions, but the good news for keepers of this fish is that these health problems can be prevented and also treated. If the infections occur in the aquarium, they can be easily identified and treated effectively.
This article covers all the common diseases and illnesses of betta fish, as well as their prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. If you keep Siamese fighting fish at home, read on to learn how you can keep your aquatic pet healthy.
Betta fish diseases and illnesses can be categorized as fungal, parasitic, or bacterial. Most fungal infections result from previous health conditions. Parasitic ailments are the most contagious, and can be introduced into the aquarium by new fish. The most common causes of bacterial sicknesses include poor quality water and inappropriate fish handling methods.
The Common Diseases of Betta Fish, in Brief
- Fin and Tail Rot
- Pop Eye
- Mouth Fungus
- Fish Fungus
- Anchor Worms
- Hole in the Head
- Swim Bladder Disorder
- Betta Tumors
1. Fin and Tail Rot
As the name suggests, this disease affects the fins and tails of betta fish. It can be caused by bacteria or fungi. The fins and tail appear to melt away as a result of rotting.
It can be prevented by keeping the aquarium or living conditions of the fish clean.
Fin and tail rot can be treated by medications containing antibiotics, such as trimethoprim, erythromycin and sulfadimidine.
If it is effectively treated, the fatality is medium.
If you have had fin and tail rot affecting your fish, you may have tried medications such as Tetracycline, Jungle Fungus Eliminator (JFE), Maracyn or Melafix. But the truth of the matter is that these medications are not quite effective in treating this infection, and some even kill your fish.
I have had little success with JFE and the other medications showed no success - they even worsened the condition. According to my own experience, the most effective medication for fin and tail rot is manufactured by a reputable company. Waterlife-Myxazin
The medication is itself a 5-day treatment, and it comes with clear instructions on how to use it. The most amazing thing about this treatment is that it starts to give positive results from day one! According to the manufacturer, it can also deal with pop eye, body rot, raised veins, ulcers, 'redness', cloudy eyes and other health conditions.
If you have the fin and tail rot disease or the related infections in your aquarium, I would encourage you to go for this medication. I have been using it since I discovered it in 2010 and I have had no disappointments with it.
This is a bacterial disease that causes the fins to rag and fray. It also causes skin ulcers or lesions, white spots on the mouth, cottony growth on the mouth, scales and fins, and gills discoloration. The fish can have breathing difficulties as a result of the gill infection.
The sickness can be prevented by treating open wounds and fungal infections. It can also be prevented by avoiding factors, such as limited oxygen, water hardness and overcrowding in the aquarium.
Columnaris can be treated by Oxytetracycline and antibiotics containing Sulfa 4 TMP, TMP Sulfa and triple sulfa.
If the infected fish is not treated, it can die in less than 72 hours.
Commonly known as redmouth, hemorrhagic causes serious bleeding inside the mouth and eyes of the fish.
The disease can be prevented by disinfecting the aquarium to kill Yersinia ruckeri, which is the bacteria causing the illness.
The treatment of hemorrhagic is possible with antibiotics such as ampicillin.
The infection is treatable, which means that the fatality is low.
This is a deadly ailment that affects the kidneys. The infected fish can have swollen abdomen as a result of accumulation of internal fluid.
Some more symptoms include; outward-sticking scales and sunken eyes.
The bacterial infection can be prevented by keeping the aquarium clean. It can also be prevented by feeding fish with vitamins-rich foods.
There is no known cure for dropsy but medications, such as Betta Revive, can help with the condition.
Most fish that suffer from Dropsy do not survive.
5. Pop Eye
This disorder causes swelling on one or both eyes. The swelling can be a tumor or viral infection.
Pop eye is usually a symptom of a disease and can be avoided by preventing infections in the aquarium.
Antibiotics such as Tetracycline can cure the ailment.
Most fish that suffer from pop eye survive at the end.
Commonly known as cloudy cornea, this disease causes white films on the eyes.
It can be prevented by improving the quality of water. A water conditioner is needed to make the water safer for the aquatic animal.
Eyecloud can be treated by antibiotics such as Metafix and Fungus Clear.
The bacterial sickness is not fatal but can impair vision.
7. Mouth Fungus
This is actually a bacterial disease, and it causes white lines or clumps around the lips and mouth of the fish.
It can be avoided by keeping the water clean, i.e., changing and conditioning it regularly.
Amoxicillin as an antibiotic can cure mouth fungus. Other medications that cure general fish fungus (described below) can also help with the infection.
The infected fish cannot survive if the illness is not treated early enough.
The symptoms of furunculosis include skin ulcers and open red sores that can also appear on the fins and tail.
Improving water quality can effectively prevent the disease.
Fungus Clear as an antibiotic can treat this bacterial ailment.
Furunculosis can kill fish that doesn’t receive treatment in time.
9. Fish Fungus
This is a fungal disease that originates from previous infections. The affected betta usually has cotton-like growths, white fuzz films, slime (mucus), or white lumps and bumps on the skin.
It can be prevented by avoiding primary infections and injuries and keeping the aquarium clean, i.e., changing and conditioning the water regularly.
Antibiotics such as Methylene Blue and Fungus Clear can cure fish fungus. It can also be treated effectively by the Bettafix Remedy mentioned below.
The sickness can become fatal if it is not treated early enough.
Betta fish infected with velvet appear to have a rusty skin and scaly head including the gills, and can have black spots allover the skin.
The parasitic disease can be prevented by improving the quality of water and ensuring the living conditions are stress-free. Water conditioners are some of the best substances to improve the living conditions.
It is highly contagious but it can be treated fully by . Manufactured by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, this medication consists of curing components such as sodium chloride, copper sulfate, acriflavin, formalin, sulfa 4 TMP, methylene blue and malachite green. Bettafix Remedy
With all these healing components, this remedy can also be used to treat all the other diseases, illnesses, sickness and disorders listed on this article. I have been keeping bettas for almost 15 years, and I have seen this medication heal my aquatic pets. I recommend that you use it to prevent, control and treat many ill-health conditions.
If velvet is not treated early enough, the infected fish dies in a matter of days.
Also known as white spot, ich or ick is a parasitic disease that causes white dots, rings, or spots on the belly, fins, tail, gills, and other parts of the skin of betta.
It can be prevented by changing and conditioning the water regularly, and also optimizing parameters like ammonia, pH, nitrites, and dissolved solids.
The sickness can be treated by Fish-zole, Malachite Green, salt baths, or the Bettafix Remedy mentioned above.
It is very easy to deal with the illness if treatment starts early.
12. Anchor Worms
This is a parasitic disease that attacks the tail or fins. The affected parts appear red and swollen and have protruding worms and threads of slime.
It can be prevented by treating any newly infected fish and keeping the water clean.
Some antibiotics such as Methylene Blue and Parasite Clear can cure the disease.
The ailment can become fatal if it is not treated early enough.
13. Hole in the Head
Betta infected with hole in the head have an abrasion on the head that looks like a pinhole or white fuzz.
The parasitic infection can be prevented by cleaning water off carbon.
Parasite Clear is an antibiotic that can cure the disease.
The infected fish usually dies after a few days if it is not treated early enough.
14. Swim Bladder Disorder
Also known as flipover, this disorder forces the fish to float at the surface of the water. The affected fish swims sideways or upside-down and can also lie at the bottom of tank. It is caused by constipation, poor water conditions, parasite or bacterial infections and enlarged organs.
It can be controlled by maintaining a high quality water, avoiding overstocking and feeding the fish with the right amount of fresh and fiber-rich foods.
When it comes to the treatment, the swim bladder disorder can be stopped by raising the water temperature, letting the fish fast for some days and then feeding them with cooked peas.
15. Betta Tumors
Betta tumors are usually cancer lumps, growths, or minor bumps/cysts under the skin of the fish. They mainly affect the reproductive organs, gills, tail, and abdomen, and are caused by genetic mutations and viral infections.
The tumors can be controlled by feeding the fish with healthy foods, maintaining a clean tank, treating other infections, and keeping carcinogenic substances away from the tank.
As far as treatment is concerned, the malignant tumors can be hard to cure, but some simple surgical operations can help. The benign tumors and cysts can be treated in a number of ways depending on the cause the lump or bump.
Fin and Tail Rot
Clean living conditions
Treat open woulds
Keep aquarium clean
Control other diseases
Improve water quality
Improve water conditions
Keep water clean
Avoid primary infections
Methylene Blue/Fungus Clear
Clean living conditions
Change water regularly
Treat new fish
Methylene Blue/Parasite Clear
Hole in the Head
Avoid carbon in water
Swim Bladder Disorder
Fasting/raise water temperature
Give healthy foods
Now you have it. With this information, you can keep betta without any worries. Some fish can develop behavioral conditions, such as stress, lethargy, and poor appetite, but you shouldn’t be worried about these short-lived conditions, especially if your fish is new in the aquarium.
Moreover, betta fish can suffer from fading color or abnormal color change, and can develop things like bubbles and solid particles on their bodies. These conditions can be controlled by changing and conditioning the water regularly, and also optimizing parameters like ammonia, pH, nitrites, nitrates, air, water hardness, water temperature, and organic matter and dissolved solids.
Important: If you haven't found a solution for your fish yet, do not fail to check the comments, questions, and answers below.
Have you ever dealt with any of the above Betta fish infections and diseases?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
My betta has been hanging out at the bottom of the tank, she doesn’t really eat. Sometimes she’ll zip around the tank and then right back to the bottom. I tried betta fix. What else can I do ?
Well, you need to check other signs of sickness in her. If she lacks these signs, then she might not be sick. It is actually normal for fish to stay at the bottom or eat less/not to eat for a certain period.Helpful 83
My new Betta fish, that I got from Walmart (so you know it was in horrible conditions before I got it) is now gasping at the top of the water; he flares up anytime that anyone comes around him, he's not swimming like a normal Betta fish does either. He's my baby brother's fish, and he would be devastated if it were to die. What can I do to treat him?
It looks like you have fed him a lot, and as a result, has developed the swim bladder condition. See how to deal with the condition from the article. He could also be under stress because of the new conditions, so you can also wait to see if he'll get better.Helpful 49
My betta fish is pale and is alive but at the bottom of its tank. What does it mean when a betta fish remains at the bottom of its tank?
Highly likely that you are overfeeding him and has developed the swim bladder condition. See how to deal with the condition from the article.Helpful 45
My betta fish is not moving much and is lazing around on one side of the tank. Its fins appear to have become stiff. What is the cause and cure for such a condition?
It looks like he's being overwhelmed by the conditions of the water. Try changing and conditioning the water, and maintain the right levels of water parameters - pH, ammonia, nitrites, etc. See all parameters in the comment section of this article.Helpful 34
My fighting fish has a lump on the side of its head by its gills, it is not eating, blowing bubbles, and only swims by the filter. I have done a few water changes and I've made sure there are not too many fish in the tank. What could be the problem with my betta fish?
If it's a hard lump, it could be cancerous which is difficult to cure. Otherwise, it is a fungal or bacterial infection which can be cured with medications such as Maxyazin and Bettafix Remedy mentioned in the article.
© 2015 Januaris Saint Fores