When you first bring home your betta fish, he’ll likely be a little shy. He won’t know you for a few days, but once he does and sees that his new home is safe, he’ll begin to explore. If you have the opportunity to watch your fish while it explores its new environment, you may notice him tapping on different surfaces with its tail and pectoral fins. This means that he can taste those surfaces and decide whether or not he finds them palatable. When a betta discovers something he doesn’t like, like a leaf or some other piece of vegetation, he will use all three appendages to push it away from his territory. A healthy betta will also display behavior when eating; these fish are known as “eater-disease” because they quickly eat their food and then swim away from their bowl as soon as they are finished.

Symptoms of Illness

Although bettas are a hardy species, they do have some common illnesses. Some of the symptoms of these illnesses are listed below. If your betta is experiencing any of these signs, it’s a good idea to take him to a veterinarian who is experienced with aquarium fish.

– Lethargy: Lethargy (a lack of energy) is a sign of infection in fish. Lethargic fish may stop eating, and swimming, and may be seen at the bottom of their tank or bowl.

– Abnormal Swimming Pattern: An infected fish may swim in a disoriented manner. He might swim upside down, sideways, or he may swim in circles.

– Loss of Appetite: If a fish is not feeling well, he will stop eating. This is because his body doesn’t have the energy to digest food properly. A healthy betta will be eating all day long.

– Cloudy or Muddy Water: Cloudy or murky water can be a sign of bacterial infection. In addition, if you add new bacteria-fighting products to your fish’s water and it becomes murky, this could be a sign of illness.

What to Do If Your Betta is Too Sick to Eat

If your betta is too sick to eat, your first step is to quarantine him in a hospital tank. It’s important to use a separate tank or bowl of clean water. If your betta is suffering from a bacterial infection, you’ll want to treat his water with an aquarium salt solution. This will help to kill the bacteria. A good rule of thumb is to treat his water with at least 1 tablespoon per gallon of water.

If your betta is suffering from parasites, you’ll need to treat both his water and his gills. To treat his gills, you can purchase a product called Triflex. Alternatively, you can kill the parasites by adding a product called Parazoryne to his water.

How to Care for a Sick Betta

If your betta is sick, you will need to take special care of him. He will not be swimming and exploring his environment as he normally would, and he may not have the energy to swim from one end of his tank to the other. Bettas need a clean, warm water environment. This will help to facilitate healing. You’ll want to change his water daily.

To help reduce stress, you can add a few plants to his tank or bowl. This will also help to keep the water clean. You can feed a sick betta fresh or frozen vegetables. Some bettas enjoy eating spinach, and you can also offer them romaine lettuce. You can also feed them sprouted legumes.


You can learn a lot about a fish by watching him swim, feed, or explore his environment. If you’re able to observe your betta, you may be able to notice if he is not feeling well. This early-warning system can come in handy if your betta comes down with a bacterial or parasitic infection. In this case, you’ll need to take special care of him so that he can recover. If your betta does get sick, it may take him a little longer than usual to get well. If you take good care of your betta, he will be a great addition to your home.