Recognising Betta fish diseases and Betta fish disease list

One very difficult aspect of keeping Betta fish is keeping them disease free. Whilst Bettas can survive in water with poor oxygen levels, there are still plenty of Betta fish diseases that can latch onto even the most resilient of them.



Here is a guide on Betta fish diseases and information on what you can do to cure them.

Recognising Betta fish diseases

The first step is noticing when your Betta fish isn’t in the very best shape. The first signs are that it will stop eating accompanied by a lack of movement. It is also possible that the Betta will dart around. You also need to check your Betta’s eyes, gills and belly for sores, abnormal patches, raised scales or just out of shape body parts.


Upon discovering that your Betta is diseased, you must seek to isolate the infected fish as soon as possible. Disease can spread very quickly in a fish tank and the best way to protect your fish is to keep them away from infected specimens. You must keep a diseased Betta fish away from plants too as some diseases can remain dormant in plants.


Betta fish disease list:

Below is a list of Betta fish diseases with their symptoms in red and their treatment in green.

Fungal infection
Many tropical fish can fall prey to fungal infections which appear like fury patches, usually white, often on their head. They may show signs of reduced appetite.

The Betta fungal infection should be treated with a 100% water change and removing any leftover food to prevent it rotting in the water. There are Betta fungal treatments available which act as a fungicide whilst causing no harm to the Betta fish providing dosage instructions are followed.

If you have been involved in the Betta fish hobby for a while, or even kept any kind of aquarium fish, you may have come across the term “ick”. This is caused by a parasite and appears as small white lumps resembling sugar grains on the body of the Betta fish. You may also notice scratch marks on your Betta where it has been trying to remove the parasite.

Ick can be prevented with just a teaspoon of salt per gallon of water or with medicines, usually containing formaldehyde. You must treat the whole tank, even if only one fish has ick as it is a very contagious parasite.

Fin rot
When a Betta fish gets fin rot, it will probably look as though its fins are being eroded, or burnt away. It is a fairly common condition that often arises from poor water quality. It can leave permanent damage.

Fin rot treatment typically consists of changing the water and adding some fungus medicine. The condition generally won’t persist for much longer than a month.

TB (Tuberculosis)
Yes that’s right, Betta fish can get TB and it kills all fish that contract it. There is no cure and even the strongest of bleach might not be enough. I would suggest destroying everything that has come into contact with your Betta fish as well as hoping your other fish don’t catch the disease. This Betta fish disease must be eliminated from its environment before other fish have to die needlessly.

Bacterial infection
If your Betta fish stops swimming around and has red patches, its probably bacterial.

Isolate the infected fish, change over 50% of the water and change your filter media. There are treatments for this too so ask in your local pet shop.

Swim bladder disease
It is common for aquarium fish to suffer from swim bladder disease and Bettas aren’t the only sufferers. It causes the Betta fish to swim very slowly, possibly not at all and occasionally appear swollen around the abdomen.

Swim bladder disease is caused by overfeeding and bloating and so the best cure is to stop feeding your Betta as much. You can try starving them for a day or two with no ill effects. Go easy on live foods too as Bettas feed on these very enthusiastically.

This causes raised scales accompanied with swelling up. They may also appear very drowsy.

Treatment must start with isolation to prevent infection. Treatment will almost always fail and the Betta will die within a fortnight. There is very little that can be done to help.