Common Health Issues of Betta Fish & How To Prevent Them

The Betta fish, or Siamese Fighter Fish as it's commonly known, is a small fancy tailed tropical fish endemic to the country of Thailand. These have been bred for impressive colouration and fin displays over many centuries leading to the Betta's we know and love today.

While Betta fish make a stunning addition to any aquarium, they are unfortunately prone to several health issues which can ultimately be fatal. Appropriate, proactive care and treatment must be taken in order to give your Betta the best fighting chance. 

Below we discuss the common health issues, and recommendations of treatments to prevent and overcome them. 

Ichthyophthirius Multifiliis (White Spot)

Ick, more commonly known as White Spot is an issue we often see in these siamese fighting fish, as small white speckles on the fish’s body and fins. It is often brought out by stress and in our case, as importers of fish we often see them arrive with the parasite when we order overseas. Once a fish has White Spot, it will generally spread incredibly quickly through all of the fish in your aquarium and without effective treatment it is likely you will experience deaths. If you have ever looked at White Spot under the microscope you will understand why the parasite can quickly cause an aquarium pandemic – one single parasite has thousands of visible eggs within it which will hatch very quickly. In instances where we have whites spot, we generally treat with eSHa Exit – carefully follow the guidelines on the product and ensure there is ample oxygen supply for the fish. 

Swim Bladder Disease

Swim bladder disease as the name suggests is a serious bacterial infection (which affects all fish; however, Betta fish are particularly prone to it), making the buoyancy organ of the fish defective. This results in Betta's (or indeed any other fish) as follows:

  • struggling to keep upright, 
  • swimming upside down 
  • occupying the very top/bottom of the aquarium without the ability to control this

Swim Bladder Disease is often brought about by poor water quality, but can also be caused by genetics, stress, injuries, breeding or fighting. There is no official cure or treatment for swim bladder issues. All we can do is attempt to help the fish and hope for an internal healing of the swim bladder organ. This involves placing the Betta fish in a clean, shallow aquarium and treating it with anti-bacterial solutions such as eSHa 2000. 

Fin Rot

The final issue we often see in Betta fish is Fin Rot. Like all of the above, Fin Rot can affect almost any fish, however it is more clearly visible in fish with large flowing fins such as Betta's. Fin Rot is another bacterial based infection which leads to the destruction of fins, eating them away until they are virtually gone. It is important to not confuse fin rot with fins being damaged by other fish – An example of this would be keeping a Betta with Tiger Barbs which would persistently nip at the fins until they were severely damaged. In any instance, if Fin Rot is left untreated, it will normally kill the fish. Treatment consists of effective water changes and antibacterial treatment – once again we favour eSHa 2000 for cases of fin rot. 

To summarise Betta fish are prone to the above described problems, as well as the many other diseases, infections, inflictions and issues that affect ALL tropical fish. In order to keep your fish in top fighting condition we recommend regular visible inspections and water parameter tests. If we find any anomalies in the early stages, chances are we can nip it in the bud by using targeted treatments. Keeping superb water is paramount to successful fish keeping, and will minimise any potential issues you may come across. 

For further advice or product recommendations contact us today, and speak to one of our expert team members who will happily help.

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