Betta Fish Diseases – Part 1


Diagnosing a sick betta isn’t an extremely difficult task when you have basic information about the common betta fish diseases. Many sick Siamese fighting fish can share some similar symptoms no matter what the illness may be, but in most cases, having a keen eye for the specific symptoms can help you diagnose your betta and find the best solution to their health problem.

Sick bettas can be devastating for children so finding the the best cure quickly is vital to both the health of the aquarium fish and the sanity of your family. The purpose of today’s article is to go over the common betta fish diseases, what causes them, how the Siamese fighting fish actually looks when they have the illness, and an approach to treating the sick betta fish.

Betta Fish Disease #1 – Fungal Infections

Bettas with fungal infections are quite easy to spot. They have patchy white areas on their scales. The fungus that attack fish usually look like cotton hanging off of the body of a fish. The patches of fungus can get quite large and the Siamese fighting fish might try to scrape it off by swimming against plants and decorations. Other symptoms include pale colors, clamped fins, and decreased activity.

Like many betta fish diseases, fungal infections are treated starting with increased water changes. The next step is to try a fungus eliminator which should be used until the fish no longer has the cottony patches on it.

Betta Fish Disease #2 – Fin Rot

Betta fish with fin rot are easy to spot. They start to develop ragged fins which might look like they are melting away. The fish can lose some coloration and look paler – a sure sign of illness. If not treated early the fins will continue to rot away. Most cases of fin rot are bacterial and/or fungal in nature and start with a poorly cleaned fish tank that has filthy water.

Start treating fin rot with a big water change. A few different medications can be successfully be used to treat fin rot. These would include both fungus eliminator and tetracycline. To let the medications work without having to dose every day, make water changes a few times per week and add a new dose of the fish medications after a water change.

Betta Fish Disease #3 – Ick

Ick is another one of the betta fish diseases that is easy to recognize!  It is an external parasite that is extremely contagious.  Even if you do not add any fish or share tools (nets, etc) between your fish you can still transfer it as ick is extremely contagious.

Bettas with ick are usually described as looking like they have crystals of salt or sugar stuck to their bodies and fins since this illness is an external parasite.  Start the ick treatment by doing a water change (noticing a trend yet?) and raising the temperature of the water a few degrees to 84F or 85F which helps kill off the parasites.

Aquarium salt is a great medication for bettas with ick.  The parasites cannot tolerate the increased salinity.  Add about 1 tablespoon per 10 gallons of water or 1 teaspoon per 3 gallons.  If this isn’t good enough, try adding Aquarisol.  This is a potent medication so you only need small doses of approximately 1 drop per gallon of water!


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