Betta Fish Vertical Death Hang? [Causes, Treatment, Prevention]

In the fish tank, most fish love to roam and play in a unique manner that can look weird. One of the weird things is that the fish swims vertically or vertically making their head up which is typical for a few fish like shrimp and trumpet fish. However, if your betta swims vertically then it’s not normal rather it is a sign of vertical death hang or dreaded swim bladder disease.

Swim bladder disease is the main reason for bettas vertical death hang. There are many causes for which your betta gets affected by swim bladder disease. The least you can do is that you will need to figure out the swim bladder factors and treat the fish as early as possible.

The factors are largely related to the condition of the aquarium. Basically, poor water conditions, filtration system, constipation, etc. mostly cause swim bladder disease. Eventually, your fish’s head will be vertically up or it will swim vertically. As a result, if you don’t act quickly then the situation can be worse.

Therefore, if your betta is swimming vertically head up then it is a sign of a severe problem and you will need to take the betta to the vet as early as possible. However, most people get into a dilemma of what they need to do after their betta fish is suffering from vertical death hang.

That is why this article discusses the reasons for vertical death hang and how you can treat your bettas suffering from vertical death hang.

What Exactly Is A Betta Fish Vertical Death Hang?

Betta fish vertical death hang is a condition where your fish is suffering from swim bladder disease. Basically, vertical death hang is the aftermath of swim bladder disease. So, if your betta fish is suffering from swim bladder disease then it will swim vertically or hang and will die eventually which is known as vertical death hang.

I am going to elaborately and separately discuss the two terms, “swim bladder disease” and “vertical fish death hangs” in the next part of the article. Stick with me till the end.

Swim bladder disease is a condition, where the swim bladder of the fish doesn’t function properly due to various factors. The factors can be largely related to environmental factors, physical problems, mechanical malfunctions, etc. As a result, due to these factors, the fish gets attacked by swim bladder disease which can make the health condition of the fish bad.

If your betta fish is attacked by swim bladder disease, then it gets tougher for the fish to keep balance in the water or buoyancy. As the swim bladder or gas sac organ helps the bony fish to float or swim upright in the water. 

In the next stages, your betta fish will find it hard to swim upright or keep their head straight. As a result, they might swim vertically for a while or hang vertically until it dies. This condition is called vertical death hang. The vertical death hang can take place in the betta fish very quickly which is why you will need to treat the fish as early as possible.

In the above paragraphs, I have elaborately explained swim bladder disease and vertical fish death hang but if you still have confusion then you can connect with a vet to have the proper knowledge.

What Causes Betta To Hang Vertically?

Well, there are many factors that can lead to your betta hanging vertically. Mostly the causes are based on the condition of the aquarium. Also, there are other factors that are largely related to the health condition of the betta fish. However, you should always keep an eye on the condition of the water in the tank because most betta fish hang vertically due to the causes related to the water.

The betta experts have also recommended that the factors due to which bettas hang vertically are mostly related to the condition of the water. The other factors can equally affect the bettas if not taken care of properly.

I have listed all the factors that can lead betta to hang vertically:

Tank Factors

  1. Quality of the water
  2. Hygiene in the water
  3. The temperature of the water
  4. The size of the tank
  5. pH level in the water
  6. Filtration
  7. Chemical level in the water

Health Factors

  1. Overfeeding
  2. Diet
  3. Constipation

These are the most common factors that can lead your betta fish to hang vertically. If you notice the sign of any of these factors then you should take the necessary steps as early as possible. I have described these factors broadly in the later part of this article.

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Factors that Lead To Betta Fish Vertical Death Hang

Whenever bettas begin floating vertically, something that is exceedingly unusual for a betta fish to accomplish, this is known as a “betta fish vertical death hang.” Betta fish are extremely unusual and attentive to their surroundings. As a result, your fish might exhibit fatal signs like betta fish vertical dead hang if you overlook any minor element.

It frequently happens when the betta fish keeper has relaxed their betta criteria. For example, improper aquarium maintenance might cause the water’s nitrogen concentrations to rise, rendering it poisonous and causing betta fish to hang vertically as a consequence. You risk losing a betta to the vertical death hang if you don’t manage the necessary tank capacity or condition.

Therefore, you have to keep a close on the condition of the tank as well as the health of the betta fish. Because if you miss one of the factors that can lead to vertical death hang then it can turn out dangerous for your betta fish.

I have described all of the factors that can lead to vertical death hang down below in simple words. In case you don’t understand the words of the vet or any experts then you can go through the next paras which will give you a full insight into the factors:

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Size Of The Tank

Bettas are known for their fierce attitudes and they are regarded as one of the alpha fish species. That means they are aggressive when it comes to protecting their territory. The bettas want ample space to move around and move more freely. However, if you keep the bettas in a small tank then they will feel congested or restricted which can affect the fish negatively.

In addition to the other aspects of the water, the size of the tank in which your bettas are kept is crucial. Betta fish will experience anxiety if they are kept in a tiny tank, and this tension will cause the fish to progressively die. If you have numerous fish, it may be best to acquire different aquariums or split the aquarium they inhabit, particularly if they begin attacking.

Quality Of The Water

The quality of the water plays an important role in keeping the betta fish healthy as well as preventing the fish from getting attacked by swim bladder disease. The water needs to be fully suitable for the betta fish as they are very sensitive fish. In addition, you have to make a balanced number of additives you need to add to the water.

The water quality actually reduces the chances of vertical death hang to betta into half a percent. Therefore, whenever you are adding water to the betta tank make sure you follow the guidelines for making a healthy betta environment.

Keeping the water quality pristine is crucial in preventing diseases like swim bladder disease, as highlighted by Mary McCauley of Mary’s Magic Bettas.

Regularly check your water parameters, ensuring ammonia and nitrites are at 0, and nitrates stay below 20ppm,” she advises.

Adding tannins, such as Indian Almond leaves, can further improve water quality. Though pristine water conditions can significantly reduce disease risk, McCauley reminds that severe infections often require medical intervention, emphasizing the importance of a balanced and carefully monitored aquatic environment.

Hygiene Of The Water

A crucial aspect that might cause your betta fish to hang vertically in death is the cleanliness of the water in the aquarium. In particular, since bettas are such delicate fish, you shouldn’t disregard the degree of hygiene and condition of water if you have one. The level of purity always ensures that there are fewer chances of bacteria in the water which will eventually decrease the chances of health complications in the bettas.

If you can maintain hygiene in the water of the bettas then it can bring down the proportion of causing vertical death hang to the bettas to zero percent. For part of your routine care, keep monitoring and testing the purity of the water in the tank. It is recommended to have the expert’s advice about ensuring hygiene in the betta’s tank.

Filtration System

The filtration system is one of the most important mechanisms in the betta’s tank. As the filtration system makes sure that there is high-quality water and a high level of hygiene in the water of the betta’s tank. Betta fish benefit greatly from purifiers since they increase the amount of oxygen in the water, keeping the aquarium hygienic, and eliminating dangerous germs.

Your betta fish will flourish in a steady, sterile habitat provided by a decent filter. When kept in excellent working order, a filter may effectively purify the tank from ammonia and other undesirable pollutants. In order to keep the water condition adequate for your betta, a filter will aid in the decomposition of hazardous substances. Additionally, the filter uses a pumping mechanism and a filtering media to effectively extract any impurities from the water, which including feces.

Therefore, whenever you are buying filters for your betta’s tank make sure you buy a premium version of filters. As high-quality filters will ensure long-lasting service as well as will keep the tank free from any sort of disease including swim bladder disease.

The most effective filter for betta fish is a spongy filter. Your betta fish faces the possibility of hanging vertically to death in the fish tank due to the excessive concentrations of toxins in your aquarium.

Temperature Of The Water

The temperature of the water is also one of the vital factors to look at if you want to keep your bettas being attacked from vertical death hang. Bettas can be killed by chilly water because their physical health will be weakened and they will be more prone to illness. They may feel unpleasant in warmer water and age more quickly because of their accelerated metabolism.

Betta fish require water that is between 71- and 80-degrees temperature in their aquarium. To lower the likelihood of your betta fish hanging vertically, be mindful to keep this temperature all through existence. To sustain the necessary temperature for the betta fish, it would be beneficial if you implement steps like purchasing a dependable water heater and ensuring there is constantly a source of energy.

pH Level In The Water

The pH level in the water determines a lot of healthy aspects for your fish. The betta fish will be affected if the pH level is low or higher than the recommended level. If the pH level is higher than the recommended level then it will highly affect the fins of fish and will create obstacles in their swimming.

If the pH level is lower than the recommended level then it will cause the vertical death hang which can be alarming. Lower pH in the water means the acidity level in the water is higher which cannot be tolerated by the fish.

Chemical Level In The Water

The chemical level in the water of the betta’s tank needs to have a balanced amount of chemicals like chlorine or chloramine. Because you will need to ensure the water is free from bacteria and microorganisms. However, the type of water also plays a vital role in balancing the chemicals.

For instance, tap water, since it has been treated with chlorine, chloramine, or some comparable chemical, tap water is devoid of pathogenic organisms.

Tropical fish cannot survive exposure to chlorine-based chemicals. These pollutants may be neutralized and made safe for fish by using a water purifier, which is something you can buy.

However, Spring water often has a delicate texture. Despite the fact that it probably contains chemicals or polymer waste, some people believe it to be cleaner than tap water. Therefore, whatever type of water you use for the betta’s tank, you will need to make sure that there is a balanced amount of chemicals in order to extract the debris.


Remember that constipation can also contribute to stomach swelling. A fish’s ability to swim will only be affected by constipation if it is in a severe condition, which is typically brought on by overfeeding or an erratic eating pattern.

Following the fish’s excrement will help you identify if constipation or a swim bladder condition is to blame for the bettas swimming vertically. Constipation could be the cause if the waste is staying on the fish instead of falling off and drowning. In order to prevent your fish from dying, it is crucial to recognize these indications and take prompt action.

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Overfeeding frequently causes betta fish to hang inverted. The fresh food of betta fish includes bugs and larvae, which contain a greater moisture level. This is a factor that many people overlook. Bloodworms and granules are frequently offered to pet betta fish; these foods are rougher and can make the fish bloat if they’ve eaten too much of them.

As a result of the enlargement, the swim bladder may get blocked and under stress. Then the fish will swim vertically because of the stomach bloating. Therefore, you will need to make sure that you do not overfeed your betta fish frequently and follow the advice of the fish vet.


Betta fish diet needs to be overlooked if you don’t want your fish stomach get swell up from overfeeding. You need to give the fish a sufficient amount of food which will contain a lot of nutrients which is necessary for the fish. You will need to create a schedule for feeding your betta fish timely.

If you want more knowledge about the diet of betta fish then you can catch up with an expert or vet. They will give you a list of food and the amount that is required for the betta fish. If you follow the food ratio from the listings then there would be no chance of stomach bloating.

How To Handle A Vertically Hanging Betta Fish?

Well, if you notice that your betta fish is hanging vertically then you will need to take some necessary measures. The measures mostly depend on the problem that is causing the betta fish to hang vertically. Therefore, the first thing you will need to figure out is what causes the betta to hang vertically.

After figuring out the problem you will need to take steps in order to fix the problem as early as possible. In the meantime, you will need to keep the affected betta separately in a different tank. You have to make sure that you have given the necessary treatment to the betta fish.

Finally, you have to also make sure that you sorted out the problem before putting the betta fish into the tank again. Because if the problem is not fixed then the betta fish will get affected by the swim bladder disease again. It is recommended from the experts that you should consult with a vet in order to handle a vertically hanging betta fish.

In the later part of this article, I have discussed how you can treat betta fish that has been swimming vertically or possibly showing signs of vertical death hang. Stick to the last word in order to find more answers.

Treatment For Betta Fish Vertical Death Hang

There are so many things that can cause betta fish vertical death hang. The factors can be of different types and you will need to find out the specific factor for your fish. The treatment will be followed by the type of problem that is causing the fish vertical death hang.

However, If you observe betta fish swimming up straight, swim bladder failure is usually to be responsible. Prior to starting treatment for your betta, identify the causes of the swim bladder issue and implement the required modifications to assist your fish in recovering rapidly.

Below we have discussed some of the treatments that you can follow if you want to treat the swim bladder disease. But you have to make sure that you have taken the advice of a fish-certified vet before attempting the treatment. The treatments are elaborately described down below:

Treating The Water Conditions

You may assist your betta fish in recovering by taking a few steps if you feel that poor water quality is the cause of it swimming head-up vertically. Clean up the water in your aquarium, get rid of any fungus, and perform weekly water replacements of at minimum 15% to 25%.

In addition, the type of water also plays an important role in the health of the betta fish. For instance, tap water is free of harmful organisms because it has been disinfected with chlorine, chloramine, or a chemically similar substance.

Exposure to chlorine-based compounds is fatal to tropical fish. Using a water filter, which is something you can buy, these toxins may be mitigated and rendered safe for fish.

Spring water, on the other hand, frequently has a delicate texture. Some individuals think it is better than tap water, irrespective of the fact that it presumably includes chemicals or polymer debris. As a result, you must ensure that there is a balanced amount of chemicals in the water you use for the betta’s tank in order to remove the debris.

All of the minerals have been taken out of distilled water. It is not a positive idea in this situation. For continued life, your fish requires these essential nutrients. The misconception that betta-specific water can be utilized as a quick fix for a new betta tank is widespread. There are no healthy microbes in this water.

Therefore, ensure that you have tested the condition of the water properly before adding it to the tank and changed the water frequently.

Fix The Filtration System

Due to its inability to perform its filtration function, a poorly maintained filter might result in swim bladder illness. The same is true of filters that are unable to adequately cleanse your aquarium, such as artificial filters that are less effective than biological filters in removing toxins created by fish.

Spend in an excellent biological filter while caring for betta fish. It’s still preferable to use a biological filter despite the allure of mechanical filters that may include charcoal filters and other materials. Immediately clear the filter of any blocking or dust buildup, or change it, if necessary.

Additionally, check to see whether your filter has a modest stream because high-flow filters are harder on the fins of your fish.

Fixing The Water Temperature and pH Level

To survive and develop, betta fish need a cozy, warm habitat. If maintained in water that is excessively chilly, betta fish will experience the vertical death hang. Your betta fish will typically hang up in an aquarium if the temperature is persistently under 70 F. The increased metabolism of these organisms may lead them to mature more rapidly and make them feel uncomfortable in water temperatures.

Ideally, the pH should range between 6.8 to 7.5 in the tank. Your tank’s pH may be lowered by adding peat moss or driftwood, or it can be raised by adding coral dust or limestone. It is recommended by the experts that the pH level of the water in the tank should be in between 6.5 to 8. Anything less or more than this level can be deadly for your betta fish.

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The Size Of The Tank

As bettas are considered aggressive fish when it comes to protecting their territory. Therefore, you will need to give them ample amount of space so that they can thrive freely. If you keep them in a small tank then they will feel restricted or congested which can result in stress.

And stress is one of the main reasons why the betta fish suffers from vertical death hang. Therefore, you will need to buy at least a 10-gallon water tank for your betta fish. In addition, you have to make sure that you have added betta-friendly mates to the tank so that there are no chances of fighting over the territory.

Treating Constipation

If your betta develops swim bladder illness due to constipation, you may aid in the recovery of its abdomen by denying it food for a day or three before feeding it a pea. You don’t need to be concerned about not nourishing your betta for a day because it can last up to ten days without food.

After your betta has gone without food for a period of time, simmer a pea for five to fifteen minutes, then peel it and chop it into small chunks. Alternatively, you may just smash the pea and add it to the aquarium one piece at a time. You just need to give them half a pea, however, you may give them more if required.

After overcoming constipation, ensure that your betta only eats the recommended meal quantities. You can give it food once or twice per day. If you give your betta fish bloodworms, you should only give them one or two pieces every feeding session.

The recommended amount of pellets to consume every meal is one to four, and they must be immersed in water for a minimum of eleven minutes prior to intake.

Feeding Portions

Overfeeding, which leads to bloating, is a major issue in betta fishes hanging vertically. This may be avoided by giving them just a couple of times a day and adhering to the recommended meal quantities. Whenever you are feeding them, let them consume no more than two or three bloodworms at once.

It is advised to immerse pellets first in order to enable moisture to seep into the meal. Before you properly serve your fish, the fish food pellets must be steeped in the aquarium water for at least 10 minutes. The Betta fish will be able to consume securely and without bloating if this is done.

Treatment For Betta’s Bloated Swim Bladder Due To Constipation

There are many ways you can treat a betta’s swim bladder. You can follow different treatments for swim bladder disease however, we have described the treatments in simple words so that you can understand easily.

The treatment for a bloated swim bladder due to constipation is also included in the treatment that we are describing down below. The following treatment is basically the primary treatment for a betta and for further advice you can certainly contact a vet.

Primary Medicine

The application of wide-ranging antibiotics during medication might be beneficial if an infection is considered to be the origin of a fish’s swim bladder condition. You should consult your veterinarian about this. The first line of defense in a swim bladder condition is to stop feeding the fish for 3 days if it is believed that an expanded stomach or gut is the culprit.

Feeding Peas

If your betta becomes ill with swim bladder disease as a result of constipation, you may help its stomach heal by depriving it of food for a day or two before giving it a pea. Well, in extreme cases your betta can survive without food for up to ten days.

When your betta’s hunger pangs have subsided for a while, stew a pea for five to fifteen minutes, peel it, and then cut it into little parts. The pea can also be smashed and added to the aquarium one piece at a time. They just need to get half a pea, but you may feed them more if necessary.

After getting rid of constipation, make sure your betta only consumes the required amounts of each meal. It can receive meals either once or twice per day. Only one or two pieces of bloodworms should be given to your betta fish during each feeding session.

A maximum of four pellets need to be taken and should be soaked for at least ten to fifteen minutes.


Applying a little Anxiety Coat water softener can prevent the growth of blisters and reddish patches in afflicted fish that float with a section of their body continually visible to the air. Maintain a temperature range of 77 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit, and make sure the water is very pure.

For the fish to travel all around the tank more easily, the water level should be lowered.

Water flow should be decreased in tanks with high currents.

Are Other Fish Susceptible To Swim Bladder Disease?

It is impossible for fish to spread a swim bladder illness to other fish. The best course of action is to transfer your sick fish to a different tank so that they may receive care and be monitored. In order to examine the fish’s condition properly, the tank should be devoid of pebbles or weeds.

Use only clean water; do not use any water from the tank the fish were originally from since that water may have contributed to the issue.

How Can You Treat Betta Fish With Enlarge Stomach?

It could be necessary to replenish some of the water in order to lessen the edema. To begin, combine two teaspoons of uncolored, unprocessed Salt with Four liters of water and allow it to melt fully. The remaining water in the betta fish tank should be removed, about 25% of it, and then replaced with the Magnesium salt solution.

While resting for fifteen minutes, it is advised to do this procedure three additional times every fifteen minutes.

Well, if you follow this treatment thoroughly, you will easily treat your bettas from a bloated stomach. However, it is recommended to take the expert’s advice regarding this.

Final Verdict

Finally, by now you should have got proper knowledge about the betta fish vertical death hang. However, you will still need to be careful about swim bladder disease because the diseases always search for new factors so that they can attack your fish. Therefore, you should routinely check up on your bettas and make sure their health is perfectly okay.

You should contact a veterinarian right once if you see signs that your bettas have swim bladder illness. Because the vets will be able to perfectly find out the factors that can play a role in causing the swim bladder disease. It will be best if you follow the medication of the vet in order to treat your betta fish from vertical death hang.

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Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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