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Dead Betta Fish – The Cause, Symptoms And Best Prevention

Dead Betta Fish – The Cause, Symptoms And Best Prevention

Oh no! You've encountered your first betta fish death. The first hurdle many fish owners face is Why didn't the fish survive? These delicate species can be extremely hardy, but their early success often ends in death.

Fish are often found in pools, so you may be stunned to hear that they can occasionally end up in people's homes. If you are experiencing this situation yourself, you can find out more about why this occurs and what you can do to prevent it.

It can help you identify symptoms of an emergency condition, how to spot them, and what actions to protect you from emergencies.

The Cause for Dead Betta Fish

Dead Betta Fish

As is true with many different things, there are multiple culprits concerning death. In some cases, it can be safely prevented. Here is a list of common factors.

Betta Diseases

Bleed out from your pets because of illness is one of the most common types of fish death. Common conditions include worm infection, fin rot, and enteroclysis. Both conditions can dissolve the bodies of betta fish, resulting in many deaths.

There's one more reason for making your pet sick ammonia poisoning. This can certainly lead them to gasp for air on the liquid surface, eventually resulting in suffocation. Regardless of your condition, sick freshwater fish must be looked after immediately as this can become life-impeding swiftly.

Community Tank Stress

Some female betta fish do very well in community environments. However, these tropical fish generally make poor choices for tankmates. As territorial creatures, bettas thrive when kept in a solitary tank.

Community tanks that house individuals regularly succumb to stress-related ailments, especially if they've got tankmates that behave aggressively. Young betta fish might also end up as a tasty meal for these kinds of aggressive fishes.

In contrast, betta's playful manner might cause it to stop and strike out at its tankmates. If you observe half-dead and dazed fish in your tank, it may be time to reevaluate your setup.

Poor Water Conditions

Poor weather conditions can be a reason for the death of your fish. Dirty water will often have a lot of eaten fish and leftover food that can accumulate and hamper the nitrogen cycle. This stresses your fish, which likely leads to their demise.

Specific water sources contain pollution such as lead and waste chemicals, rendering the water poisonous for most aquarium fish species. If you suspect you are using toxic water in your tank, perform a complete water change immediately, and purify it using a conditioner.

Sudden Temperature Change

One of the most common causes of dead fish is a changing climate. Bettas are tropical fish that should be kept at 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. It's possible that a sudden drop in temperature can harm your pets, resulting in hypoxia or death by lack of oxygen.

A thermometer in the tank is highly recommended to ensure the temperature is stable. If the fish you currently have in your tank is stored in cool water, providing a little heat over time can help increase the water temperature.

Hereditary Issues

Among common causes of mortality are defects that are hereditary and compound. Inherited illnesses usually go from one generation to the next, while genetic flaws are related to the health of the parent that gave birth to the animal. Poor veterinary care can also lead to death in the animal.

If you don't want to find dead fish in your fish tank quite often, it may be more sensible to invest in a pet that has a better mating (i.e., siblings) track record. This will go a long way toward prolonging your pet's life.


Overfeeding is also another common cause. The betta fish are carnivorous and need to eat often, but overeating can make your tropical fish sick and develop disorders, like swim bladder disorder. This may lead to death for that species.

Also, should they not finish all the food you offer within just a few hours, there may be leftover food that can pollute your fish tank and create soiled plumbing. It is essential to wash your aquarium water normally, which means you don't wish to overfeed if your primary strategy is to do this.

How Do Bettas Act When They Are Dying?

Bettas often behave in a specific way depending on whether they are beginning to perish. Suppose your pet is gasping for air at the water surface or swimming erratically without much direction. In that case, this may signify that it has been drowned by ammonia poisoning or other ailments related to poor living conditions.

Some fish tank fishes may also start to act lethargic. It may signify that it is suffering from a more severe disease. Bettas are often very active domestic aquarium fishes, so if your fish tank isn't as busy as usual, examine your betta for indications of a more serious issue.

For example, your pet may begin to exhibit red and white spots and skin lesions. They may also start to swim erratically or swim upside down near the water. These are typical signs that your betta is dying if you watch them in combination with other symptoms like a fast heart rate and clamp fins.

How Can I Prevent My Bettas From Dying?

How Can I Prevent My Bettas From Dying?

When treatment is impossible, it is essential to look after your dog before they become ill. There's not much chance of treatment once dead, so staying alive is your best option.

To ensure your pet's future health, maintain a proper tank environment. With that in mind, here are some essential facts to remember.

Use Ideal Water Sources

The easiest way to preserve the healthfulness of your betta is to provide them with clear water that meets their needs. This doesn’t just mean avoiding dirty water. Insufficient water can refer to any body of water that contains dangerous toxins, waste chemicals, and bacteria that may kill.

Many betta mongers choose to let their fishes feed on tap water because this water is readily available. However, it's advised to pay attention that chlorine and other chemical substances are usually present. To utilize tap water on bettas, you'll want to first treat the water with a water conditioner and perform water tests to ensure no harmful chemical compounds are present.

Some aquarists also opt for Scotch distilled water because it doesn't contain any contaminants and is entirely chlorine-free, which is suitable for your fish. However, distilled water will need to be remineralized before it becomes an ideal place for pet bettas. Learn more about the kinds of tank water here(

Whether you pick pond, lake, or river water, the most important thing is to maintain things transparent and optimal with regular water changes.

Have An Aquarium Care Strategy

Do you know the secret to providing a social life for your pet? Maintain a constant supply of clean, comfortable water! Pay close attention to the water environment and the fish keepers who house them if you want them to be most comfortable.

You should perform a partial water change weekly to avoid harmful water conditions. For example, if your container is 30 gallons in size, you should change out 15 gallons of container water every week. By introducing a portion of clean tank water, you can make sure that your fish have a neat and tidy habitat to live in.

You must also perform routine water tests throughout your aquarium maintenance strategy. By doing this, you will be able to keep the aquarium's water clean by not allowing toxic levels of ammonia and nitrate to accumulate. This is vital in split-tail fish care since death can occur if these chemicals reach dangerous levels.

Be Mindful Of Tank Decor

One of the most common rookie mistakes is overcrowding. It might be tempting to decorate your aquarium with a lot of plastic plants to add a bit of decorative appeal. You might even suppose that a tropical fish like the betta will welcome these add-on features.

Too many harmful artificial plants can be hazardous to your pet's health. Overcrowded aquariums will cause your betta to become overly anxious, affecting its immune system and increasing its susceptibility to diseases. Of course, all plastic plants also have sharp blades that can damage fins.

If you own another tank containing your betta, it's wise to fill it with some accessories that will appeal to your pet. Driftwood, rocks, and other natural ornaments can be good additions, while fake plants should be prevented as they could potentially block your betta or suffocate it.

Proper Nutrition Is Key!

You should also give your bets a balanced, nutritious diet as this will assist you in helping them live longer. Betta fish are carnivores, so they require a diet rich in protein foods such as brine shrimp and bloodworms.

Betta pellets are a nourishing food that works well, but you should exercise caution when feeding because this can provoke your fish to die. Numerous professionals counsel that you provide an eyeball-sized portion of the food. If the fish flakes are on the small side, it will seem as though you consume 5-6 pellets per day.

In addition to fasting them once a week, it's also helpful for keeping them digesting normally and preventing constipation.

What To Do If You Notice Symptoms?

You should take action immediately if you see any signs or symptoms of a life-threatening condition.

Start A Hospital Tank

The first thing you should do when you notice fatal symptoms is established a hospital tank. Since dying bettas are often victims of water-borne illness, you'll need to set up a separate quarantine aquarium where your sick fish can recover from that sickness without infecting other healthy fish in the main tank.

If your animal was kept in a fish tank, putting them in a hospital tank will provide more straightforward access to chemical treatment. Nephrology requires you to perform daily water changes of about 15 percent. Partial water changes also enable you to control ammonia levels.

Perform Daily Water Changes For A Week

If your fish suffers from dropsy, swim bladder disease, or constipation, you should perform a simple water change for 1 week. This treatment will help heal your fish, even if their symptoms persist for quite a while.

The bad news is that dropsy may be fatal if you clean your water. There is no evidence-based treatment for this condition; however, it is necessary not to lose hope because bettas have been known to recover from dropsy under good aquarium conditions.

Feed Your Betta Properly!

Feed your bettas high-quality flake food to ensure they get the nutrition they need to accelerate their recovery. Use an eyedropper to only have to feed small portions of food at a time to avoid overfeeding.

It's normal for sick fish to be inactive and not want to eat. When this is the case, simply remove uneaten food from the tank, and the fish should rest with sufficient nourishment once they feel better.

Administer Chemical Treatment If Necessary

Suppose you believe you have parasites or observe an illness in your pet that doesn't improve after changing its water and providing adequate nutrition. In that case, you will need to administer chemical treatment.

To find medications explicitly designed for bettas, search for medications made for them. The best way to administer treatment is by adding the drug directly into the tank at the hospital.

If your pet is relatively agitated and stressed after being given the drug, immediately remove them from the water for 30 minutes to obtain them into a better mindset.

Observe For Signs Of Recovery

If your bettas follow the guidelines above, they should improve with time. However, if they stop eating and drinking for two straight days or if they are forced to abandon their habitat, you should contact an aquatic veterinarian.


Do Bettas Float Or Sink When They Die?

Fish that die may be found at the bottom of the tank. As they decay, their bloated bodies start to float as their bodies take in gasses. After a few moments, their bodies will float to the top of the water, where you can gather them from the water with the bodies that originally died with them.

Does Putting A Dead Fish In The Freezer Bring It Back To Life?

No, just an old wives' tale has come from the scientific view that cold-blooded animals go into torpor when they are subjected to low temperatures. You might see a dormant animal brought back from the dead, but the truth is that their bodies will decompose sooner or later, regardless of the freezing conditions.

Do Bettas Play Dead?

They do not play dead when they feel stressed. If you have a betta in an environment that is too small or dirty for it to swim around freely, it will conserve its energy until the danger of something dangerous has passed. At that point, it would appear that the betta was playing dead, but this was an attempt to survive.

Why Is My Fish Floating But Not Dead?

Many floating but not lifeless fish will turn towards the surface of the water and appear more attractive. If you think this might be a sign that your pet is ill after a few gulps from the water, it is likely to be evidence that it has been starved of oxygen near the top of the pool.

What To Do With A Dead Betta?

Make sure you empty your tank as quickly as possible so another pet or person in the household can't accidentally harm the body. You can achieve this by placing a hoop over the tank to keep your body from coming into contact with it. Then flush it down the commode, as the feces a person might exhume can transmit diseases or parasites that are unsafe for humans and pets.


Humans often agree to nurture a betta with some of the best intentions, specifically wanting to make healthy fish that live long and happy lives. Unfortunately, even the most confident aquarists can inadvertently make serious mistakes that could endanger their beloved pets.

There are quite a few medical disorders that are reasonably preventable. We've outlined the health risks to look out for in this article, which will help keep you healthy around your pet. Simply follow our tips, and your pet will remain in good health for many years.

Did you enjoy this article? Do let us know in the comments if there s anything else you d like to know, and we d be more than happy to help! And as always, share this article with a friend if you found it helpful. Thanks for reading, and happy fishing!

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