In this guide we provide information and photos to help you identify betta illnesses. We cover the key symptoms, and use photos to help explain the descriptions. If your betta is sick, we hope it makes a swift recovery and we’ll do our best to help.
Please be aware that this guide is not intended to be the complete guide to betta illness, but rather an assistive tool, and we provide more detailed information, including suggestions for medicine and usage of salt, in the betta illness section on our website.
By no means should this guide be used as the sole source of reference when curing your betta. It should be used as a guide towards making the right moves when it comes to ridding your fish’s aliment. It’s always best to do a substantial amount of research before deciding on medication for your betta.
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. Obviously one cure does not fit all. For example, curing a fungal infection does not take the same method as curing Velvet. Sometimes, using the wrong medication for an illness can be more worse than good!
Remember, prevention is better than cure, so the more you learn about illness before it occurs, the better prepared you will be should it happen. 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. Keep your water at a high standard and you’ve already won half the battle of illness prevention.
Fin rot is caused by bacteria eating away at your fish’s fins. Any healthy aquarium has bacteria in it -- it’s what’sneeded to break down waste. Betta fish develop fin rot when kept in water that’s not clean enough.
Bacteria that thrives in dirty water can then infect the weakened betta. Fin rot is not caused by one specific typeof harmful bacteria, more so an overwhelming of aquarium bacteria. However, if your betta is injured for whatever reason - maybe it’s ripped its tale on an aquarium decoration, for example - this will make the fish more susceptible to fin rot/a bacterial infection. The chances of a minor rip or wound advancing into fin rot is minor if your fish is well maintained and looked after.Only if the fish becomes stressed (which can occur due to poor keeping and/or poor aquarium conditions) its immune system will weaken thus making it more susceptible. Read more about fin rot here on our website.
In its simplest form, velvet is a parasite. The main way a betta can become exposed to the parasite is when a fish with the infection is added to the aquarium.
Velvet can be one (or more) of several parasites known aspiscinoodinium. The main way a betta can become exposed to the parasite is when a fish with the infection is added to the aquarium. Velvet is very contagious so it can spread quickly to other fish. It can also hitchhike on things like plants, previously used aquarium décor or other aquarium inhabitants like shrimp or snails. Read more about velvet here on our website.
Most of the time, popeye is simply a bacterial infection of the eye. A betta is not at all likely to contract it if it’skept in a clean aquarium.
A very dirty aquarium causes Popeye, in most cases. Popeye isn’t difficult to cure, but it can sometimes be an indication that your betta has a serious internal condition.
If that’s the case, then Popeye may prove fatal for your betta. Popeye is incurable if it’s a sign of a serious internal disease. Popeye can be a symptom of betta tuberculosis. Read more about popeye here on our website.
Ick, also known as ‘Ich’ or ‘White Spot’, is an external parasite that latches onto the body of a betta, causingirritation, itchiness and malaise
The parasite stays on the fish for up to 4 or 5 days before it drops off, reproduces, and then latches back onto the fish.
Ick is fairly easy to treat - especially if you catch it early on - but if left untreated, it can swarm the fish and lead to fatality.
Read more about ick here on our website.
A fungal infection is when a fungus grows and eats the skin, fins and mouth of a fish (in this case, a betta). Itappears as a white, cotton-like slime on the fish.
Fortunately, most fungal infections only attack the external tissues of fish. Most infections are usually caused by a pre-existing infection or injury. Fungi are present throughout most aquariums, but certain conditions increase the possibility of fungal infections, such as poor water quality, or a stressed or injured fish.
Read more about fungal infections here on our website.
A bacterial infection can occur if there’s an overwhelming amount of bacteria in the fish’s aquarium or if the fishis in a high state of vulnerability (that is, if it has a very low immune system)
Even if an aquarium appears spotless, there’s still bacteria present in it, and if the fish is unwell, certain bacteria will start to infect the fish. It can be hard to know what’s caused a bacterial infection and how it’s affecting the fish. The betta on the right appears to have translucent skin and decaying scales. This could be a subcutaneous infection or an affect of an internal infection. Dropsy is also a huge indicator of an internal bacterial infection; the fish will swell and his or her scales will pine cone.
Read more about bacterial infections here on our website.
There isn’t much evidence to explain what causes betta dropsy; it’s all very vague in the world of betta keeping.Dropsy is the process of fluid building up inside a betta (usually swelling of the kidneys).
This disease is associated with organ failure. It’s believed to be caused by poor water quality and diseases contracted from live food. Dropsy isn’t contagious but the bacteria, which is believed to be a cause of it, is.
Read more about dropsey here on our website.
Swim bladder disorder is when a betta has a disrupted swim bladder. This can be caused by overfeeding or it can occur with younger bettas when their swim bladders are not yet fully formed.
This disorder is commonly seen in betta keeping and it usually just goes away by itself. It’s not contagious.Sometimes it can be a symptom of a bacterial infection ora fin injury. If the fins seem fine but the fish seems lethargic, has clamped fins or discolouration, try our cure for bacterial infection.
Read more about swim bladder disorder here on our
Before we get started we should mention that it’s quite rare for a betta to contract tuberculosis, so don’t panic if your betta starts exhibiting one of the symptoms that can be indicative of TB.
The chances are it’s a different illness altogether and with the right treatment your betta will make a recovery. Ultimately, the bacteria will attack the internal organs (especially liver and kidneys), causing organ failure. This is when the symptoms of TB will show - such as raised scales, bloated body - and will be swiftly followed by death. This is the only fish disease known to be contagious to man, although the good news is it’s very hard to contract tuberculosis from a fish. Fish tuberculosis can be resident in water but has also been linked to live foods (researchers found cases of live foods infected by tuberculosis), and is mainly passed by ingestion (eating contaminated live food, or eating a dead fish that was a carrier, etc...).
Read more about tuberculosis here on our website.