There are many different illnesses bettas can get. More common illnesses tend to be Dropsy, Constipation and fin rot. All fish found ill should be seperated straight away unless many in the tank allready have the illness then all must be treated. Prevention is always better then cure, however some time illnesses cant be helped, as some times when you buy a new betta it may show no signs of being ill untill a few days after owning it. Or like my experience where i bought a betta from a fish shop that was being kept seperat from any other and when it was bagged up rather than using the water from its tank they used water from another tank when i got the fish home there was nothing wrong and a few days later i noticed little white dots on my betta it had white spot. My conclusion is that either the fish may have only just come in that day or a few days before and it was already carrying the white spot or that by using water from another tank that may have had the begining of white spot, i believe this one is more likely and the cause of white spot on my betta, this almost killed him but luckly i was able to treat him and now he is cause but he is a very small slightly deformed betta now as from previous encounters with white spot i have found my fish to loose weight and there bodys become slightly an odd shape and once cured they seem to stay the same and never recover there shape though they eat normally they dont seem to grow.

Below is a list of some illnesses :




 Symptoms - fish becomes bloated looking there body swells filling with fluid, scales look jagged and do not lay against the body any more instead the stick out, the fish does not want to eat constantly sits at the surface of the tank or on the ground, in later stages the fish becomes very off balance un able to swim properly constantly falling to the side or floating up side down You can buy dropsy treatment which can be bought from pet shops selling fish or fish shops it comes in a bottle and is a liquid. Depending on how many liters you tank holds depends on the Measurement of medication given, the solution is mixed into the tank water. I have had many fish with dropsy and have never managed to cure any of them, i allways seperate the fish straight away to stop it spreading just in case and treat them as soon as any signs show but it has never helped they have allways died but its still worth ago. Once i had a 13 year old big indoor gold fish that got dropsy and because it was such a special fish and had been in the family 13 years we didnt want to loose her so we took her to a fish expert and they said that there isnt really a cure that works for dropsy and that he could drain some of the fluid to take some of the presure away or just euthanize it but we had some fluid drained and brought her home and eventually she passed away in her tank. This is be contagious.

Cause of illness-  Dropsy is a bacterial infection which can be caused dirty water or contaminated food. Dropsy damages the organs and causes organ falier which causes death.

Treatment - You can buy dropsy treatments from pet shops that sell fish or fish shops.

Prevention - Make sure fish tanks are allways kept clean, regular water changing, make sure fish are not over fed as uneaten food will contaminate the water quality.

Below are pictures of bettas with dropsy.



Symptoms - Constipation is very common in bettas, the abdomen of the betta swells, you will also see that they are not passing any feacle matter and can sometimes go off there food, And in later stages the bettas colour may fade.

Cause of illness - The main cause is over feeding your betta or if you feed you betta only on very rich foods like blood worm, It is best to vary there diet.

Treatment - Many say to starve your betta up to 4 days (dont worry bettas can go with out food for months but it is recommended not to try this) and it should just sort its self out on its own but if it doesnt then to use the pea method where you take either a tined or frozen (need to defrost) garden pea cook it untill it is very soft, break it up and feed to your betta, the pea will help like a laxative. But if the betta still doesnt want to eat this wont work. Some say to feed them daphnia as this also works as a laxative. If they dont work then you can try them with epsom salt and it must be this type of salt, you can not use any other type of salt. It may be easier to move you betta out the tank into a bowl (with no gravel or anything at the bottom so you can see if he poos) when giving him a epsom salt bath rather than emptying the tank then filling it back up with the epsom salt water mixture then emptying it again to fill it up with clean water. So while your fish is having his epsom salt bath in a bowl you can clean out his tank so he has a nice clean tank to go back in.                                                  To make the solution add 1 table spoon of epsom salt per gallon of water make sure the water is at the right tempreature for the fish. leave the betta in the epsom salt for 15 to 20 minutes. The epsom salt bath can be given up to two times a day but be aware of the stress to the betta.

Prevention - Make sure you do not over feed your betta as this will cause this problem so it is best to feed them small meals 2-3 times a day instead. Dont feed to many Rich foods so vary there diet. Also you can give your betta a starve day once a week to help clear everything out, or i have read that you can give them 1 pea a week if they like pea that is.

As you can see in these pictures that these fish have very big bellys .


Fin rot

Symptoms -  Small pin holes in the fins occur, the fins seem to become thinner and more see through, the fins seem to be freying at the edges, Bits of fin break off in large chunks,  and slimey looking at the edge of  fins. Fin rot is not contagious.

Cause or illness - Fin rot is a bacterial infection which affects the fins this can be due to poor water conditions, stress or if the fins become damaged and the water is not clean enough they can become infected.

Treatment - You can buy special bottled medication in liquid form from pet shops that sell fish or fish shops . If you catch fin rot in the early stages where there are only pin hole sized holes you have a good chance of clearing it up.

Prevention - Make sure water conditions are allways good, and that you betta is feed a well balanced diet. Try and avoid fin damage though sometims this cannot be helped if the fish accidently catches its fins.


White spot also known as ick.

Symptoms - small white spots that look like grains of salt or sugar found all over the body and fins, these will make the fish ichy and want to rub itself agains things, they may not want to eat and may just sit arround looking sad all the time. They will become weaker and possibly loose weight. This parasite will spread very easily to other fish in the tank ( it is very contagious).

Cause or illness - This is a parasite. This parasite is encoraged but poor water conditions, also i have read it can some times be found in frozen blood worm and other frozen fish food. Stress can make it easier for the fish to catch this.

Treatment - A liquid medication can be brought for pet or fish shops. Though treatment does not allways work in most cases it is successful but there are a few that done make it.



Symptoms - Fluffy cotton wall looking patches which can occur on the bettas body, face or fins. This is contagious.

Cause of illness - A sore or cut that becomes infected due to bacteria in the water ( poor water condition).

Treatment - You can buy liquid medication from pet or fish shops which is added to the water.

Prevention - Keep tank clean if you notice a fish with a sore try and keep the tank extra clean or try and add general tonic which helps improve the bettas health and water quality. 


Swim bladder 

This illness is very common in bettas, and looks alot worse than it actually is. If your ill betta is in with other fish then it should be isolated in a tank with lower level of water. Swim bladder is not contagious.

Symptoms- The fish becomes very unbalanced and is unable to control its movements properly, often the fish will either float unbalanced at the surface on sink to the bottom of the tank. The fish will struggle to swim often just swimming in circles on its side or upside down, struggling to reach the surface for air. The fish may appear to be misshapen like it has a kinked spine, often barely moving until having to quickly make it to the surface for air. Sometimes they will have a swollen belly too but not allways.

Cause of illness -  Constipation can often lead to swim bladder, Overfeeding, injury, birth defects, and bacterial infection.

Treatment- Liquid medication bought from pet shops can be added to the water.

Prevention - Swim bladder is most commonly caused by over feeding and constipation, try not to over feed your betta, as a bettas stomach is extreamly small it is the same size as one of its eyes. Try and feed several feeds a dat rather than one large meal, and try and feed a complete diet pelet or flake and dont feed to many fatty foods like blood worm.

Water quality is extreamly important to keeping healthy fish.


Pop eye.

Pop eye is not a disease but is more a symptom of an underlying infection. It is a bacterial infection and the eye swells as fluid builds up behind the eye.

Symptoms - Swollen bulgy looking eye or eyes, the eye or eyes often go cloudy looking, they can become slow and lie arround alot and the bottom of the tank and they may not want to eat. If not treated they can loose their eye or eyes.

Cause- Injury to the eye , bad water quality, high ammonia, nitrates, metal or plastic poisioning if both eyes are infected then it is more likely to be a bacterial infection.

Treatment- liquid medication which can be added to the water, bought from pet or fish shops.

Prevention- Check that every thing is safe in the tank and not giving off toxic substances into the water, keep good quality water conditions in the tank. Remove old uneaten food or dead fish.

There are many more illnesses that bettas can get which are not listed here. All the illnesses listed above are more common illnesses that bettas get. 

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