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What are the signs of a sick betta fish? What can I do for a stressed betta fish? Why does my betta fish look depressed? Follow this article to figure the ultimate guide to deal with these issues!


Bettas and all tropical fish can be very sensitive to their environment and may become stressed out at times if conditions are less than ideal, causing them to be susceptible to illness. A betta may appear to be pale, lethargic, have clamped fins, and display other symptoms during times of stress.

The most common causes are dramatic temperature changes – notably a tank with water that is too cool; poor water conditions from infrequent water changes; and traumatic events, such as jumping out of the tank. Other factors may also be to blame, but always try to determine if water readings or other environmental issues may be the cause of your betta appearing ill before treating with medication. Clean water is the best preventative (and cure) against disease for your betta!


Unfortunately, illness sometimes does strike your betta. A useful tool to have on hand is a smaller, hospital/sick tank to place your betta in when he or she is not feeling well. This will make medicating your betta much easier and avoid causing damage to living plants, tank mates, or the biological filter with medication. Some medications can stain tanks and decorations as well. For a diagnosis of a sick betta, please read the following articles about Betta Illnesses, Treatment & Preventative Measures.

Care & Treatment of Betta Fish Swim Bladder Disorder

Symptoms, Causes & Treatment of Betta Fish Fin & Tail Rot

Care & Treatment of Dropsy in Bettas & Other Fish

Symptoms & Treatment of Betta Fish Fungus

Symptoms & Treatment of Betta Fish Ich (or Ick)

It is important to remember never to treat a betta unless you are certain of what illness he or she is displaying. Overmedicating or medicating for the wrong illness can cause harmful effects on a betta’s health and stress level. Sometimes clean water accompanied by frequent water changes and a nice warm temperature is all that is needed to cure a betta that is feeling a bit under the weather.

Remember, there is always hope when a betta becomes ill. With proper care, bettas are often able to recover to their old selves. Do not end a betta’s life simply because you do not wish to deal with their problems. Many pet stores and other betta keepers will take sick bettas and nurse them back to health, or properly euthanize them if absolutely necessary.


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