Betta Fish Dying

Click Here For The Best Betta Fish GuideCommon 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.

Polluted 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 surroundings.

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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