Betta Fish Dying
Common Reasons for Sudden Death in Betta Fish
Is your Betta fish dying? When your Betta fish dies before its natural life expectancy runs its course, you may
wonder what led to its mysterious death. Unfortunately, your Betta cannot tell you when its sick or in danger.
What seems like a mysterious, sudden death, could actually be a result of improper care or dangerous elements in
its aquarium. Below are the top reasons that Betta die young and what you can do to prevent them.
Betta fish are delicate creatures. They can easily tear their fins on aquarium toys and plants, or sustain an
injury by other fish or during handling when cleaning the tank. A very common reason for your Betta fish dying is
actually due to trauma.
These injuries will lead to fin rot, sometimes within as little as 24 hours, and can lead to death if left
untreated. Fin rot is easily detectible: you will see brown or black spots on the tips of the fins or see visible
tears or holes in the fins.
Fin rot is treatable with store bough medication and aquarium salt. Simply follow the directions on the bottle
of medication and box of salt, as directions vary by brand. Be sure to change the water frequently to prevent
further build up. Within a few days of treatment, you will notice transparent, whitish tips on the edge of the fin
rot location--this is new fin growth!
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Of course the best medicine is prevention: make sure all objects in the aquarium are smooth: no pointy
decorations or jagged edges. Also make sure that the Betta’s tankmates are non-aggressive.
Your Betta fish dying is a commonly a result of improper feeding procedures. A large belly or an excess of waste
in the tank are the number one signs that you are overfeeding your Betta.
Overfeeding can lead to swim bladder, constipation and a build up of bacteria in the water--all issues that can
lead to death. To prevent overfeeding, only feed your Betta twice a day and make sure you remove all leftover food
from the water.
Water becomes polluted when food and waste back up, creating a film on the sides and bottom of the tank. This
film breeds bacteria leading to swim bladder, fin rot and other common Betta fish diseases.
To prevent bacteria build up, change the water frequently. A good rule of thumb is to change the water tank
every two days per gallon of water. For example, change a one-gallon aquarium every two days, a two gallon aquarium
every four days, etc.
Betta fish can actually worry themselves to death. Take special care when adding new fish, plants or aquarium
toys to your Betta’s tank. If you Betta begins acting out of character, it may not be adjusting well to its new
Sometimes Betta fish dying is simply the result of shock. Bettas are highly aggressive and as a result they can
get overstressed very easily. Try removing the new object and see if that helps the Betta’s mood.
Sudden Water Temperature Change
When the water temperature changes more than one degree within 24 hours, your Betta is at risk for internal
organ failure. Gradually lower or raise the water temperature to its original temperature. If shock has already set
in, unfortunately, there is little you can do to save your Betta.
To prevent a sudden water temperature change, establish a temperature is between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit
and use heating lamps to maintain this temperature. An aquarium thermometer will help you detect even the slightest
change and can alert you to a faulty heating lamp.
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