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Healthy Betta Fish Illness and Cure Information

The most important part of raising a betta is making sure that he/she has the proper care and should they get sick, you have the ability to get them back on the “fins.” We hope to be able to provide you with that much-needed and valued information.

Signs of a Healthy Fish

  • Swims Easily
  • Aware of Surroundings
  • Eats Regularly
  • Good Color
  • Full, Complete Finnage
  • Nice, Streamline Body

Signs of a Sick Fish

  • Struggles to Swim
  • Distracted/Uninterested
  • Eats Little or Nothing
  • Faded Color/Grayish
  • Fins Stringy/Clumped
  • Bloated/Underweight

Please be aware that certain symptoms can point to many different illnesses. Investigate your betta’s illness very carefully before medicating, as treating for the wrong illness can be especially stressful for the betta. Please note that all cures provided are not foolproof and HB is not responsible for the loss of your betta.

Listing of Fish Symptoms & Illnesses

1. Water in Fishtank is Too Cold

Symptoms: Loss of color, clamped fins, lethargic. (Be aware these symptoms may also indicate further illness or inadequate water conditions, but adjusting temperature is the logical first step to try to eliminate the problem).

Fix: raise the temperature of your betta’s tank to 80 degrees Fahrenheit

2. Columnaris

Symptoms: Fuzzy, cotton-like substance attached to body (looks like fuzz or lint), clear or white stringy material hanging from the body, erosion of the gills, heavy breathing, pinholes appearing in fins. Usually effects the mouth or head region. Also may appear as yellowish, white, or greyish areas on the skin, often surrounded by redness.

3. Constipation

Symptoms: Abnormally swollen abdomen. All other activity is usually normal.

Fix: View our Constipation Article

4. Dropsy

Symptoms: Largely blown-up/swollen appearance, pine-coning of scales away from the body, loss of appetite, lethargic.

Fix: View our Dropsy Article

5. Egg Bound Female

Symptoms in Female Fish: swollen abdomen, trouble swimming, loss of appetite, lethargic.

6. External Parasites

Symptoms: Rapid darting, scratching against tank decorations, heavy breathing, possible physical indication of parasites, clamped fins.

7. Fin & Tail Rot

Symptoms: Black tips, holes, or tears in fins that appear to be getting worse. Redness or bleeding of fins may occur in severe cases.

Fix: View our Fin & Tail Rot Article

8. (True) Fungus

Symptoms: Gray or white slimey looking material on the skin, may eventually turn into cottony-looking growth (distinct hair-like filaments).

9. Gill Disease

Symptoms: Swollen and/or discolored gills, erosion of gills, heavy mucus production in the gill area.

10. Ich

Symptoms: Looks as though fish has been sprinkled with white grains of salt, rapid darting, scratching against tank decorations, heavy breathing, loss of appetite, clamped fins, lethargic.

Fix: View our Ich Article

11. Internal Parasites

Symptoms: Weight loss for no reason, white or stringy feces.

Fix: View our Internal Parasites Article

12. Poisoning

Symptoms: Heavy breathing, rapid darting, try to jump out of tank, discoloration of gills, red streaking of body, loss of appetite, lethargic.

Fix: Immediately determine quality of water in tank. Did a chemical get in the tank? Did you forget to add water conditioner? Remove fish and place in bottled spring water with water conditioner at proper temperature until tank water is determined safe.

13. Popeye

Symptoms: Cloudy, protruding eye(s), large bubble covering eye area.

14. Septicemia

Symptoms: Bleeding or red streaks along the body or fins.

15. Slime Disease

Symptoms: Excessive slime coat mucus production, white stringy strands hang off of body.

16. Swim Bladder Disorder

Symptoms: Swollen abdomen, difficulty swimming upright, floating sideways at the top or hovering along the bottom of the tank.

Fix: View our Swim Bladder Disorder Article

17. Tuberculosis

Symptoms: Swelling and scale protrusion, unexplained weight loss, skeletal deformity, skin defects, loss of scales, skin discoloration, eye protrusion, fin rot, loss of appetite, clamped fins, lethargic. This illness is rare.

Please note: Humans are susceptible to this illness. Please handle fish items with care, wear clean gloves, and wash hands thoroughly if you suspect your fish may have TB.

18. Tumor

Symptoms: Abnormal lump or growth on the body, growing in size.

19. Velvet

Symptoms: Looks as though fish has been sprinkled with a gold dusting, rapid darting, scratching against tank decorations, heavy breathing, loss of appetite, loss of color, clamped fins, lethargic.

Fix: View our Velvet Article

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