How To Save A Dying Betta Fish?

Betta fish are beautiful creatures and make great aquatic pets. But they are susceptible to many illnesses and conditions that can cause their early demise. Here’s what you can do to revive your dying Betta fish.

The first step is finding out why the Betta fish is ill and reversing the conditions. You can try changing the tank temperature, swapping out the water more often, cleaning out the tank, or checking for signs of infection. Always reach out to a vet after stabilizing the fish or if its situation is too critical.

Betta fish are notorious for hiding their sickness until it gets too critical. So, I’ve provided some details on how you can spot the issues and prevent your favorite pet from dying.

What Are Some Common Things I Can Do To Help My Betta?

If you see that your Betta fish is not moving, or too lethargic, it might be in shock. This happens when the temperature of the tank is too cold. You should try moving the tank to a warmer place or adjusting the temperature if you have the option.

The fish might eventually sink to the bottom of the tank if you don’t act fast. The fish will enter a coma otherwise and reviving it will be much harder.

Don’t be alarmed if the fish does sometimes swim to the bottom. It could be choosing to rest itself, and that is a natural behavior.

Another issue that happens with temperature is if the Betta fish is moving around the tank restlessly. Your fish is suffering from intolerably high-water temperature. Move the tank to a cooler atmosphere or lower the water temperature.

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You can try swapping out the water more often in case the Betta fish is too sluggish. Your fish could be having have a harder time breathing. Not changing the water or cleaning the tank often can lead to lower Oxygen levels and filth.

how do you know if a betta fish is going to die infographic. Shows most common signs before betta fish die including lethargy, less swimming, fading colors, loss of appetite, etc.

Want to get a printable version of this infographic? Click here! [If you want to use this infographic on your website, please link back to this post as the source!]

What To Do If My Betta Fish Still Doesn’t Get Better?

When your Betta fish shows no signs of improvement, it may be battling a disease. Mary McCauley, owner of Mary’s Magic Bettas, highlights the urgency of recognizing illness: ‘Watch for difficulty swimming, changes in breathing, lethargy, appetite loss, weight changes despite eating, alterations in poop appearance, deteriorating fins, color loss, bloating, pineconing, wounds, and anything fuzzy.’

These symptoms, often indicative of fungal infections, require prompt attention and knowledgeable intervention.

Typically, Betta fish will start showing some common symptoms of fungal infection early on.

  • Sluggish or unable to swim.
  • Unwilling to eat food.
  • Frayed fins
  • Blotchy patches on the body and head.
  • Clamped fins.
  • Loss of color.

A tell-tale behavior that you can spot is the fish rubbing its body along the walls of the aquarium. The Betta is trying to rub off the fungus on its body.

If you see any of the symptoms and find your fish acting this way, take immediate action. If you have multiple Betta fish, check each one for similar issues, and then isolate the ones that are infected.

Using Medication

You can take some steps to counter the infection without medication. But do not continue this treatment if they show little to no signs of improvement within 10 days.

  • Adjust the temperature from 23° to 25° Celsius in stages.
  • Add one teaspoon of agricultural salt per gallon.
  • Keep swapping out around 80% of the tank water every day.
  • Always add the needed amount of salt to the added water.
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If your fish is not responding well to the treatment, then you can try using the following medications.

  • Methylene Blue. 1 teaspoon of a 2.303% solution per 10 gallons.
  • Paracure. Use 20 drops in a common fishbowl.
  • Copper Sulfate. Add to bring copper levels in the water to .20- .25 ppm.

Methylene Blue is used as the first response to treat Betta fish, as it has a wide safety margin. Prepare a solution of half a gallon and bathe the fish in it for half an hour every other day for 10 days. You can add a teaspoon of salt with a quarter teaspoon of Epsom salts per gallon for effectiveness.

Move on to using the other mentioned medications if your Betta fish’s condition is severe or regressing.

What Other Illnesses Can Affect My Betta?

Betta fish can suffer from other issues as well. Some other diseases that can be found in Betta fish are Popeye, Dropsy, fish ick, parasitic and bacterial infections.

  • You can tell your Betta fish has Popeye if its eyes are bulging out of its eye sockets. Change water every day and add ampicillin to it for a week. The symptoms should disappear.
  • Dropsy is renal failure, which causes Betta fish to look bloated. This happens when you have either overfed your fish or fed live food like worms that contaminate the water. So, pull back on how much feed the fish and use processed high protein food only.
  • Fish ick causes white sandy or salt color patches on the skin. You can raise the temperature slowly up to 29° Celsius to kill the infection.
  • For most other parasitic and bacterial infections, the common symptoms are changing or dulling color, developing odd-colored veins, lethargy, and appetite loss. For these cases, you can add half a teaspoon of salt per gallon.
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What Can I Do To Make Sure My Betta Fish Stay Healthy?

Prevention is always better than cure. And making sure your Betta fish stay healthy in the first place can allow it to live a good 6 to 9 years long life. You should consider some options to ensure your fish’s health.

Clean your aquarium regularly. Change 25% to 50% of your tank water per week. You should also check if the water is around 23° Celsius. And switch to a processed high protein diet for your fish.

Consider getting a bigger tank for multiple fish. Your fish can have more Oxygen and space to swim around. At least 3 gallons is needed for one Betta fish, and you must add a gallon more for each fully grown fish.

Keep a stock of medicines that your Betta fish may need in case of an emergency. Aquarium salts, anti-protozoans, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, Ampicillin, Kanamycin, Tetracycline, Methylene Blue are some medicines that come in handy for most illnesses.

Final Words

Betta fish are called fighter fish because they will try to combat any illness by themselves. Since they hide their discomfort, it’s good practice to keep a close eye on them. You can revive a dying Betta fish because of its fighting nature, but it’s better to save your fish from undue pain and discomfort if you take good care of them.

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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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