Betta Disease & Illness

Welcome to our guides on betta disease and illness. If your betta is sick, we’re sorry to hear that and hopefully our guides can help you to cure it.

You can view our betta illness information using the links below, but we also have a handy Betta Illness Photo Guide that we send out to members of our email list. The guide includes the key points about betta illness and extra photos of symptoms.

Get our free betta illness guide
sick betta with bacterial infection

What to do if your betta is sick

Don't panic.

There are plenty of people here to help you, including us. The best thing to do is to remain calm, do your research, and plan the best course of action. Spend some time learning, and ask questions.

We've created several resources to help you look after your betta as safely as possible.

We run through the action steps below, but here are some of the key resources:

  • Our articles on specific illnesses (linked to below)
  • Our illness photo guide in our (free) members area
  • Our betta illness diagnosis service (find out more about that here).

Steps to take

We've created several resources to help you look after your betta as safely as possible.

We recommend following the course of action below to make use of our content as effectively as possible.

1. Identify the illness

We've created a photo guide here that contains photos of the various betta illnesses, along with descriptions of the symptoms.

2. Learn about the illness

Once you think you've identified your betta's illness, learn more about it (from various sites, not just out site), and the possible ways to treat it.

We go into more detail and discuss possible treatments in these articles:

3. Learn about hospital aquariums and aquarium salt

For some illnesses, a good course of action is to separate your betta in what’s known as a hospital aquarium.

This gives it the best chance of recovery, can reduce stress, and doesn’t affect the cycle of your normal aquarium. We recommend reading our hospital aquarium guide before you begin treating illness.

On our pages about curing specific betta diseases, not only do we mention recommended medicines for those diseases, but also using aquarium salt to cure those diseases.

If used properly, aquarium salt can be an effective cure for betta disease. However, you do need to ensure that you’re using it in the correct situation, and at the right dosage.

If you’re thinking of using aquarium salt, we recommend reading our guide here

4. Ensure your aquarium is set up correctly

There’s an adage in the fish keeping world that goes: “Fish keepers do not keep fish, they keep water”. This is because poor water conditions are responsible for the vast majority of illnesses.

If you treat your betta for illness, but then put it back into an inadequate aquarium, it will become ill and stressed again.

We have various pages on our site about the various aspects of settings up a suitable aquarium, but the main ones to refer to are:

  • Betting Keeping Requirements — this gives an overview of what we regard as the minimum conditions to keep a betta in
  • How to set up a betta tank — a written guide to setting up a betta tank
  • How to set up a betta tank (VIDEO SERIES) — this is a set of videos we have filmed to show you how to set up a tank.

5. If you still need help, seek advice

Treating your betta is a matter of educating yourself and using your own judgement.

However, if you have read or watched our content and still have questions, there are a couple more options:

  • Speak to qualified veterinarian — you can use a service like if you would like to do this online.
  • Use our betta illness diagnosis service. We are not qualified vets, but we offer this (paid) service to give you a second opinion, having troubleshooted many betta illness situations over the years.

6. Treat your betta

Obviously one cure does not fit all illnesses. For example, curing a fungal infection does not take the same method as curing Velvet. Sometimes, using the wrong medication for an illness can do more harm than good!

Don’t rush into anything, and only start your betta's treatment once you are satisfied with the research you have done.

If you do need to medicate your betta, remember to remove carbon from your filter.

When adding medication to an aquarium, it’s important that you remove any carbon that you may have in your filter. Carbon will remove medication from the water, rendering the treatment useless. If your filter has a cartridge with carbon, remove the cartridge. If the filter has a separate carbon insert, remove the insert.

Removing the carbon for a short period will not be detrimental to the aquarium. Once you have finished medicating the aquarium, simply re-insert the carbon and continue as normal.

Some betta illness can be a tiresome and complex issue – how the curing process takes place will of course depend on the illness in the first place, and the recovery process will also vary.

But once you are happy with your research and have decided on a course of action, treat your betta.

Pay attention to your betta's reaction to your treatment, and be patient should you need to continue the treatment for a prolonged period.

7. Continue learning

When it comes to betta disease, prevention is of course the best cure. But even with the best intentions, your betta will still get sick at some point.

The best way to safe guard against this is to be prepared, both in terms of knowledge and equipment. The more you know about betta illness before it occurs, the better prepared you will be should it happen.

Even if you have treated one illness successfully, if you feel there are gaps in your knowledge, continue to learn about betta keeping and illness so you are even better prepared should your betta fall ill again.

Browse our betta illness content: