How Do You Know If Your Betta Fish Is Dying?

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After coming from outside, the first thing a betta owner do is stand in front of the aquarium and enjoy the lively swimming of his betta as it is the most satisfying scenario for the whole day. As a Betta fish owner, the worst thing is a dying fish. We know how much effort you put to keep your fish happy and healthy. But several times, fish dies, and you don’t even know why. So, we are here to tell you about how do you know if your betta fish is dying. Later on, you will also find some tips and tricks to avoid that and keep him healthy.

The Life Expectancy of Betta In a Bowl

The average life of the Betta is 2 to 4 years in captivity, for both males and females. Some aquarists have reported keeping Betta for 6 years! Lucky!

Why Would My Betta Fish Die?

The life of Betta will be threatened if kept in unfiltered water. This is always true if the volume of the aquarium is less than 10 liters. The pet stores expose the Betta in mini containers because of their aggressiveness and territorial nature.

It is a habitat for only a little time since the cohabitation is delicate with the females and the other fish. And with males, it is impossible to cohabitate.

Pet stores also sell small aquariums of less than 10 liters (or even only 2 liters!) It is not suitable for these fish and would reduce their life expectancy.

How do you know if your betta fish is dying?

The observation is essential to know if your fish has a normal behavior or not. They must swim easily, eat, maintain an intense color, and good overall appearance. You can check the following 10 clues that show that he is dying:

Glued fins

When the fish keeps its fins glued, it is not necessarily a good sign. The fins can also suffer from a bacterial disease. They fray and rot. It may be a lack of food or poor quality of water.

The shimmy

We talk about shimmy when the fish seem to swim on the spot. His fins move, but he does not move. It is because of too low a water temperature or a too sudden temperature drop.


If your fish bangs against the scenery, the windows or rubs against the ground, this is flashing. He’s just trying to scratch himself. If this behavior persists, your fish may have external parasites.


If your fish always stick together and one of them isolates itself, it’s a bad sign. This is especially visible if you have several fishes of the same species that form benches.

Modified swimming behavior

When a fish is sick, it may have a changed swimming behavior. Some fish swim at a certain level of the aquarium. It may be on the surface, in the middle or slightly towards the bottom. If you notice a change in these habits, take the time to observe it.

Skin problems

Skin problems in fish can be varied. The fish may be covered with white dots on the body and fins. He may also have swollen abdomen and scales that bristle. These are often bacterial diseases.


The fish can lose the intensity of its pigmentation. It may be a discoloration of small parts of the body.

Swelling of the eye

If one or both eyes are swollen, it may be a viral, bacterial, or fungal disease.


If your fish is losing weight, it may be due to a lack of food or vitamin deficiency. This can lead to death.

Acceleration of breathing

You may find that your fish is breathing faster than usual and is agitating by snapping up the surface air. Water has a deficit of oxygen.

So now you know the betta fish behavior before death. Have a close look and you will know if your betta fish is dying!

What to do when you know your Betta fish is dying?

If you have any doubts about the health of any of your fish, try to notice the signs. Especially check out if there is any sign mentioned above. If you have recognized any, transfer it to a quarantine aquarium as soon as possible. You can have look at this youtube video!

How to decrease the chance of the death of the Betta fish?


It is recommended to choose an aquarium with a volume of 20 liters to have happy and healthy betta. If the place forces you, a 15-liter aquarium is a necessary minimum.

A smaller aquarium will seriously affect the life expectancy of your Betta.  Because the chemical balance of the water will be very precarious and the Betta will not have enough places to hide: it will be stressed. Finally, die.


The Betta needs a specific diet, rich in fiber and protein. Some betta fish will not even touch the food for tropical fish because it does not meet their needs.

It is, therefore, necessary to try different food for betta fish. Add supplements with other foods that are rich in protein. For example, bloodworms or artemias.

These can be freeze-dried, frozen, or alive. In the wild, fighters have access to many prey and are active carnivores. They will increase the longevity of betta fish and reduce untimely death.


Another main cause of death is the poor quality of the water. Always try to avoid distilled water. Distilled water lacks nutrients and minerals. Betta fish need these elements to be happy and healthy. Use tap water if its ph is 7. If your water does not meet these parameters, use mineral water.


Small aquariums require timely and frequent cleaning because of the unstable balance and waste’s significant impact on water quality. As you feed your Betta, they discharge ammonia. The resulting diseases can make your fish sick and often result in death due to degraded water quality.

Make sure your aquarium is clean by regular water changes. For example, 3 water changes of 20% per week if there is no filter. Always use a filter to prevent the accumulation of ammonia and other toxins.


The Betta fish are from the tropical area and need a constant warm temperature of around 24 degrees. Avoid sudden changes in temperature and avoid cold temperatures. You should get a heater for your betta fish if you don’t have one. It will keep the temperature steady.

I use Tetra HT Submersible Aquarium Heater With Electronic Thermostat for my male betta fish and it’s giving pretty good service so far!

The untimely death of your loving pet is sad. All you need is just a little awareness to prevent this. Just lookout for the sign that may indicate that your betta is dying. Take adequate measurements to avoid the symptoms.

If you follow these simple rules, we hope you will have a happy and healthy betta. Now we will discuss some worst situations that can happen if you don’t take proper care of your betta. Here we go!


Is my betta fish dead or sleeping?

If you suddenly see that your betta fish is not moving, what would be the first reaction?

“Is it dead?”

But an absence of reaction can have other explanations like- he sleeps, he has a problem of the swim bladder, he is constipated, or maybe the water is too cold.

So, before feeling blue and starting to mourn, check if he is indeed dead or something else.

But how would you understand?

Not so tough. Let’s have a look at the followings-

Turn on the lights

If the lights in the aquarium are out and the room in the dark, it may be why your betta fish did not react. He might be sleeping!

Yes, the betta fish also rest, usually at night, when it is deep dark. For this, they lie on the side without moving, and the impression is almost similar to being dead.

Thus, in an attempt to wake your betta fish if he is alive, turn on the lights and Tap a little help on the aquarium.

Observe his breathing

Most fish species have gills through which they breathe. When they breathe, the gill operculum generally moves. So if operculum of your other fish does not move, it’s likely he’s dead.

But, some species, like betta fish, breathe through the mouth. So, don’t panic if the grill operculum doesn’t move. Check the movements of your betta’s body.

Look at his eyes

If your betta fish has sunken eyes or if its pupils are glassy, it is usually a sign that it is no longer alive or that it is in agony. I wish your betta wouldn’t face such a situation.

Check the water temperature

Though it is a pre-doing, it is important to notify you. Have you checked the water temperature on a regular basis?

When the water in the aquarium is too cold, it can plunge the betta fish into a kind of hibernation. So, remember to check the temperature of the water as well as its toxicity.

Indeed, if the water has too much nitrate, your betta fish may have been intoxicated and is, therefore, sick. In this case, a water change is required.


Why did my betta fish die suddenly?

Surely you have ever had fish at home, and suddenly they have died, not having been long since you acquired them.

But why?

If you’re supposed to take good care of them, they wouldn’t have to die.

Well, in this part you will discover what the most common causes of the sudden death of betta fishes are-

For cleaning water from the bucket

When you are going to clean the fish tank, you have to transfer the betta fish to a bucket full of water.

But the water has to be a mixture of the water they have in the fish tank with clean tap water. You cannot simply fill a bucket with tap water since the chlorine is very harmful to the fish.

Many fish in the same bucket

If you have many bettas in an aquarium, try to separate them into different buckets or bowls. Bettas fear each other. This fear causes intense stress.

On the other hand, betta fish are very aggressive by nature. They can kill each other too.

For using chemicals for cleaning the aquarium

Do you use household cleaning products to clean the decorative objects or the interior of the fish tank?

If yes, you are heading your betta to the end.

You have to use some specific and exceptional products to clean. The random soapy stuff has some sensitive chemicals. This can kill your betta fish.

Do not use a dirty bucket 

Before filling a bucket in which to put the betta fish, check that it has no soap residue or many bubbles form. Even if you make the mixture well, the soap remains will kill them.

Hitting the glass a lot

The betta fish is very sensitive. So being constantly hitting the glass makes them scared, and that stresses them. The more stress, the more likely they will die soon.

Fill the aquarium with clean water

Aquarium water cannot simply be flushed out and put on a new one. At least 40% of the previous water must be left So that the fish do not notice so much change.

If you empty the aquarium, the fish will not get used to the sudden change and will probably die.

For throwing the fish into the aquarium without care 

Whether you are going to put a betta fish for the first time in the fish tank, you cannot drive it crazy. You have to put it carefully, avoiding sudden movements.


Why betta fish dying after the water change

You should know that Betta dying after a water change is a common occurrence. If your betta fish suddenly die after the water change, then there must be some mistakes in the process. Here’s why betta usually die after water changes-

Water change

When we change the water in the betta tank, we must let the new water rest. If we use tap water, the fish can be poisoned due to the high concentration of chlorine.

Therefore, betta can die in the short term. Water should not be changed in its entirety. To maintain the water values ​​we already had, we retain 20% of it and add the rest of the new water.

Water container

The container in which we put the water must not have been in contact with any generic cleaning product.

It could cause fungus and infections in our little betta fish and later their death. The best thing to prevent is to use a new container.

Filter and ornament cleaning

We need to clean the filters by rinsing them with the water we have allowed. We will do the same with the ornaments that we have put to our aquarium.

You can do all with the help of an unused toothbrush, like all the utensils we use in the process.

No soap! This can cause death to betta fish after the water changes.

Water temperature

Before reintroducing the fish one by one, check the temperature of new water. We need to fill in the fish tank little by little so as not to stir the water.

These are some of the essential guidelines that, however, we do not usually take into account, especially when we are beginners.

The highest percentage of deaths in this phase is due to soap, cleaning utensils with remnants of other products, or the radical change of water.

If we keep these warnings in mind, we are sure that your fish will swim happily and happily for a long time.

Wrapping Up

Bringing out dead betta from the aquarium is really pains-taking. If you can’t recognize the sick fish then you might suffer the same.  How do you know if your betta fish is dying? We have presented you with almost everything about it. Just go in front of your aquarium and find out the sick betta.

If you find this article helpful, please do share! If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comment section!

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