How to Comfort a Dying Betta Fish? | Everything You Need To Know|

A betta fish and its owner have a really special bond. I am sure every betta fish owner agrees with me. I have my own betta fish tank and losing one of them is really hard for me.

So, In this article, I am going to share my experiences of how I comforted my dying betta fish and some information I found after extensive research. I think your betta fish deserve that kind of commitment.  

Who is this Betta Fish? 

Before going on to details, for those who don’t know about betta; they are scientifically referred to as Betta splendens. It is a freshwater fish mostly found in areas of Southeast Asia. This Betta fish spread globally as a common aquarium pet.

dying betta fish

Can Betta Fish get sick and die? 

Yes, of course. All living beings go through sickness and finally, they have to face death. When it comes to aquatic life, there are many reasons for fish to get sick.

one basic parameter is the oxygen dissolved in the water. Another thing is the amount of food it can reach. Apart from that, other parameters are temperature, pH, and salinity of the water. 

Moreover, They can get sick due to various diseases. Even Though fish passes all this obstacle in life they are going to die due to old age.

What can you do to comfort your dying Betta Fish? 

Basically you can check all the parameters of your aquarium and adjust them to optimal level. It will make them comfortable.

dying betta fish

Check and optimize the water quality 

In a case of pH decreasing 

If you detect a low ph level in the tank. Carefully remove the betta fish in to storage container and.

Decreasing the pH means water acidity goes too high.

Then you can neutralize the acidity by adding crushed corals and Dolomite chippings. Make sure to add those in small amounts to the tank. 

While adding you need to mix the contents and measure the pH continuously. Once the pH level increases, stop adding chemicals. Then slowly re-introduce your dying Betta Fish to the tank.

If pH increases? 

When your tank pH goes higher than 7.5 you need to immediately reduce the pH. In this case also remove the fish before adjusting the pH.

You can use one or few of the methods below. Anyway, the continuous monitoring of pH is required to stop additives.

  • Put a mesh bag with peat moss in the water filter.
  • Lower the aeration of the tank.
  • Add more aquarium plants to increase the CO2 level.
  • Add RO water.

Maintain the aquarium temperature 

According to the research, the appropriate temperature is 780F to 820F for the Betta Fish. So, you need a heater or warm room to maintain the temperature accurately. 

Always use a thermometer to measure the temperature. Do not put the aquarium near windows and doors. It will change the water temperature in a significant amount.

aquarium temperature

Keep the aquarium that can obtain optimal sunlight

When considering this parameter, increasing, and decreasing the sunlight may affect the betta fish badly. If there is too much sunlight, it enhances the more algae blooming in the tank. 

Plus, it can affect the temperature of the water also. When there is no sufficient sunlight, your fish may fade.

So, you need to identify the requirements of the pet. When you keep the aquarium in a place of plenty of sunlight you must clean it frequently because of the algae blooming. 

If your fish is dying it must be hidden in its home for a longer period. And the regular cleaning must be a disturbance. So, you better keep it away from the sunlight.

But you need to keep an eye for both water temperature and fish body color. Then you can act as any variation of your dying Betta Fish.

Reduce the flow rate of water 

If your Betta Fish is dying it needs lots of rest. So, you need to keep the flow rate very low. In a low flow rate the power of the waves is very low and it affects the fish. 

Because the fish is very weak. In a higher flow rate it needs to put an energy level in the tank. If it needs to rest somewhere in the aquarium, low flow rate will not affect it.

Let your Betta Fish to rest 

Everyone, even humans, need a rest whenever they are weak. Same as all, you Betta Fish need a lot of rest.

So, you need to provide a lot of shelters to make it happen. For that purpose, smooth and silky grasses work. 

Another thing is avoiding unnecessary involvement with the tanks. Keep in mind to avoid adding new fish to the tank. It is stressful for your dying Betta Fish.

And reduce or stop cleaning the tank and water removal in unwanted intervals. It really disturbs your dying fish.

Fish have the ability of keen sensing regarding sounds. So, you need to keep the aquarium environment calm. Which will help to reduce the stress and more rest to the dying Betta Fish.

dying betta fish

Reduce the feeding rate 

When your fish is dying most of its body functions slow down. If you add more food into the tank, it will disturb their behaviour. 

And when adding food, add them closer to the fish because it probably cannot swim well towards the food as before. 

Do you need to separate the dying Betta Fish? 

Yes, if you can separate dying fish from the others. Some diseases can easily spread among the fish population. Therefore, when you identify a sick fish or a dying fish you must remove it as soon as possible to another tank. 

You can treat the sick fish when it is in a separate tank. It will be easier to look after the dying fish also.

Then there is another question that will arise: what will happen to other fish in that aquarium. Well, you need to quarantine all of them for a two weeks of period to save them as well as your aquarium.

Will your Betta Fish suffer when he falls sick?  

Sadly yes, they will suffer due to their condition. When considering Betta Fish illnesses, those conditions will kill Betta Fish slowly. 

Some situations like rotting fins and tail can consume the whole body of a fish easily. So, it is your responsibility to take care of your aquatic pet in a better way.

What are the factors you can identify that your Betta fish is sick and dying? 

  • If you see Betta Fish gasping at the bottom of the tank or the surface of the water, it must be sick.
  • Your Betta Fish is appearing in a pale colour that you have not seen before.
  • An inactive tail fin when it is floating on the surface or at the bottom of the tank.
  • Fisheyes are something incredible when they are looking at us. But if you see your Betta Fish eyes as unresponsive the fish may fall sick.
  • The fanning gills of Betta Fish.

If you can notice any of the above features from your pet, you need to act immediately to save its life.

If your Betta Fish is dying, what can you do to save its life? 

Start with tank water change 

If you feel your Betta Fish is sick and dying, at first you need to change the water of the tank. Before adding clean water, you need to clean and disinfect the tank completely. 

Even after cleaning the tank, if your fish has no progress with its health immediately contact an aquatic veterinarian for further medications. 

Do not forget to remove the sick fish from the tank. Otherwise, you will not be able to save your other fish.

Eradication if it is a fungal infection 

When your fish is infected by a fungus it will appear in pale colors and white cotton patches on the skin. Also, their fins will be clumped together. This came as the result of less cleaning and less salt addition.

First, you can clean the tank and add fresh water with fungal eliminators. Medicines of Bettazing or Bettamax can act as fungal eliminators. 

You need to repeat the process every three days until the fungus symptoms disappear from the fish body. These infections are highly dangerous. 

So, you need to treat this disorder quickly. Do not forget to quarantine the fish.

What happens if it tails rot? 

Your Betta Fish sometimes will appear with black-colored fins and tail with red margins. 

Sometimes both of them have holes and tears together and gradually they become dissolving themselves. Before you lose your pet from this, immediately clean the tank, and repeat the process within every three days.

When treating, add either Ampicillin or Tetracycline together with some fungal eliminators into the water to treat it. 

You need to repeat this process also until you can guarantee your fish’s fin and tail dissolution disappear. Its tail will recover and grow with time. 

But sometimes it cannot receive the original length. Keep in mind, if you are unable to stop this condition, this rotting will spread all over the fish body. As a result, your pet will die.

How to treat the swim bladder disorder? 

As a result of this condition, the belly of your Betta Fish is enlarged. Which means it is unable to excrete what the fish ate. 

You can recognize this issue with the absence of excretion in the aquarium. Also, the fish is unable to swim upward with the swollen bladder. 

This is the sign for overfeeding your fish. You can fix this situation by reducing the food that you are giving to your Betta Fish.

When your Betta Fish start to ich? 

If your fish appears in white dots around its body and lacks appetite together with itching itself, it will be a sign of ich disease. This is a common spreadable disease among fish and it even causes death. 

As the treatment, you need to increase the temperature of the tank to between 780F and 800F. And maintain the temperature for 48 hours. 

Also add formalin and malachite green to the aquarium water. Because of the spreading nature of this disease, remove the fish and keep it separately until it is becoming better. And quarantine other fish also.

For the condition of Velvet 

Fins are holding against the body, lack of appetite and fade the colour are the main signs of velvet disease. 

If you can watch closely using a flashlight you will see a light gold or rust layer growth on its skin. For this situation you need to clean the tank by adding fresh water. 

And add Bettazing, salt and water conditioners in sufficient amounts in three days intervals.

What are the signs of a dying Betta Fish because of old age? 

According to researchers, a Betta Fish can live 3 to 4 years if you are providing optimal conditions for them.

Signs of an old Betta Fish 

  • Fade the body colors.
  • Stop making bubble nests if he did it before.
  • Always takes frequent naps.
  • Fins start to rag and curl.
  • On its skin, there are white dots that appear from time to time. Once appearing without treatment, it disappears with time.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • The body became thin.

These symptoms can appear from time to time. For example, once they disappear, they will return after a few months.

So, you need to study your Betta Fish carefully. Unless you may misunderstand those signs as disease symptoms. Then you will add unnecessary medication to the aquarium which leads to their death.

How can you care about your old Betta Fish? 

Lower the water level in the aquarium – This helps the Betta Fish to inhale oxygen easily. Also, it does not need to swim far for both oxygen and food.

Keep the tank heat – Set the temperature of the tank at about 810F to 820F. It can provide the heat that Fish need for themselves.

Provide lots of shelters – Because he sleeps frequently, you need to provide enough silky and smooth grasses and objectives to lay down.

Use frozen or wet foods – With time their vision and sound will fade totally or partially. So, they need something with strong odors to detect the food.

Let them rest – Because it is very weak, let it rest. Resting will save more energy and time to live more for your Betta Fish.

How to Cope with a Loss of a Betta Fish 

Your Betta Fish has acted as one of your best friends for a long time. So, we know it is not easy to say goodbye.

To make your mind peaceful. You can try the following things. It will recover and give you time to move through hard times.

  • you need to acknowledge your grief. If you need to cry, just cry as much as you need to release your sadness.
  • Look after yourself. We know how you feel when you lose your pet. But you need to be strong for yourself. So, make time to walk, eat well, meditate and be relaxed.
  • Do not allow others to tell you how to feel. Even though most of the people acknowledge your grief, few are not. Those few will try to fail you by discouraging you. So, keep away from those kinds of people.
  • You need to accept the thing that happened. Because you care about your Betta Fish, you have nothing to worry about. Time will heal your grief slowly.
  • Do something memorable to your pet.
  • We know it is hard, but you need to bury your aquatic pet at the end. Do not flush it. Sometimes your Betta Fish may die because of an illness. Flushing will spread its illness to the environment. So do not flush it. 
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About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.