Betta fish lying at the bottom of the tank: illness or other reasons - Explanation (2023)

Betta fish lying at the bottom of the tank: illness or other reasons - Explanation (1)




Shelby Crosby

12minimum reading

Betta fish have a beautiful appearance. They can often be seen swimming in the water or hiding behind crevices and hydrophytes. However, sometimes they don't swim and stay at the bottom of the aquarium.

What if they spend most of the day at the bottom of the tank?There's no need to panic if you find a betta at the bottom of the tank. However, this Betta fish behavior is a major health issue when other alarming symptoms are present.

If you observe this behavior, you will immediately become concerned. Are you starting to think something is wrong?

Keep reading to find out why your bettas are behaving this way and what you can do about it.


Is lying at the bottom of the tank considered normal?

It is normal for your betta fish to lay down on the side or bottom of the tank as they like to hide behind rocks and decorations. However, staying in the same position for longer than usual is not normal behavior.

Betta fish normally love to run around the tank and it is unusual for many aquarists to see them perched at the base. But in simple settings with minimal hiding, Betta fish find it safer to relax.

Tip for beginners:Betta fish, for example, spend a lot of time lying on the bottom of the tank. So it's not alarming until they develop other troubling symptoms.

Possible causes and treatment

When a freshwater aquarium owner approaches the tank and sees the fish they love lying on the bottom, they get that familiar feeling of panic, regardless of their experience.

However, there could be many reasons why your finned friend is lying on the aquarium floor, most of which can be remedied. Let's take a look.

1. Water temperature shock

Although bettas have a reputation for being hardy fish, they do have issues with temperature fluctuations.A thermal shock can cause a lot of problems if the tank doesn't stay between 75 and 80 degrees.

In a tank that is too cold, the immune system will be damaged and in a tank that is too hot, your Betta will not get enough oxygen to live. Maintaining a constant temperature will help your fish thrive.

How to deal with:It's natural for the outside temperature to fluctuate, but you shouldn't allow that to happen in your aquarium. Add an aquarium heater to keep it warm when it's cold outside. Keep the tank away from windows to keep the sun from rising and heating it up.

These warmers are inexpensive and will keep your betta happy and healthy. They are worth the investment.

2. Stress

When bettas are stressed, they may sink to the bottom of the tank and may fade from their original color. Both external and internal stressors can affect Betta fish.

loud noises

It is highly recommended that freshwater aquarium owners place their aquariums away from noisy sources such as a television or sound system.Water amplifies sound, so reverb can distract your fish even when the volume is turned down.You can also stress your fish by banging on the aquarium glass. Sound travels nearly four times faster in water than in air, which amplifies sound.

How to deal with:Keep the aquarium away from sound systems. Also, it's best to use a filter that runs silently to avoid disturbing your fish, as some filters can be too noisy for them.


Light that is too bright or too dim can scare Betta fish and cause them to stay at the bottom of the tank all day.You need the right balance of light and dark for your aquarium. Betta fish are typically nocturnal in nature, while others are active during the day.

How to deal with:Install lighting carefully. A good balance of light and dark is essential for both species of fish to sleep and function as they should.

Also See 8 Most Friendly Aquarium Companions For Betta Fish - Choose The Best For Your Aquatic Companion

Incompatible tankmates

Stress is caused by fish not peacefully coexisting in the tank. Check them if you find ripped fins, hidden fish, or fish aggressively chasing other fish.

How to deal with:It may be necessary to move the demon with offensive flow to a new tank.

tank overflow

The maintenance of a quality aquarium has very strict parameters andOvercrowding can create imbalances that stress fish.It is not possible to put five Betta fish in a five gallon aquarium in the wild; Your fish would be swimming in a much wider environment there. However, you must also consider the number of decorations and plants in the tank and the fact that live plants require oxygen.

Likewise, the shape of your aquarium can have an impact; A tank that is taller than it is long will not provide most fish with the space they need to swim back and forth, but it can be perfect for fish that like to jump and dive.

How to deal with:One Betta fish per 5 gallons is the rule of thumb when determining the proper fish population for your aquarium.

3. Fish age

Betta fish live up to 5 years, although we all wish they could live forever. Just as humans lose some energy with age, so will your Betta.

Therefore, lying on the bottom of the pool is more efficient than swimming in the middle or at the top. At the bottom of an aquarium, an older betta will spend more time relaxing. It is typical betta behavior before death.

How to deal with:Despite our desire to turn back time, we are powerless to do so. Let your Betta spend its golden years wherever it pleases.

Betta fish lying at the bottom of the tank: illness or other reasons - Explanation (2)

4. Don't Stop

The fact that you sometimes see the betta lying on the bottom of the tank does not necessarily mean that it is time to worry. You can catch Betta fish napping every now and then as they sleep 12 hours a day.

Although they sleep most of the night at night, they can nap during the day if they sleep more than 12 hours a day. They don't need to worry as long as they don't spend a lot of time at the bottom of the tank or exhibit other worrisome symptoms.

How to deal with:Your betta fish needs a good night's rest too! The only thing you can do here is let your betta fish sleep.

5. Poisoning

Another worrying reason that can make your Betta sit at the bottom of the tank is poisoning. It could be ammonia or nitrate poisoning, which can be extremely harmful to your fish.

ammonia poisoning

The presence of ammonia in the aquarium is normal, as beneficial bacteria convert it into nitrite. This doesn't mean that ammonia can't kill your betta just because it's a natural by-product. In fact, ammonia is one of the most dangerous poisons for fish.It is easy to detect and rule out this condition with a test kit. Ammonia levels above 0.2 mg/L are toxic to your betta.

How to deal with:There is currently no cure for ammonia poisoning in bettas. Still, there are some things you can do to control your ammonia levels. You should start by changing half of the water.

Put some neutralizer in the tank before adding water. Retest the ammonia levels and add an ammonia neutralizer if it's still too high to give the bacteria time to recover.

Ammonia neutralizers do not remove ammonia, but temporarily protect fish from it. If the bacterial colonies don't reach it, you'll find your betta dead when the neutralizer stops working.

child poisoned by nitrate

Ammonia converts to nitrites, which in turn convert to nitrates. Like ammonia, nitrates can also kill your fish. The only thing you need to do to regain control of your aquarium is to circulate the water when nitrates are high.

Once the water level returns to normal, your betta can fully recover, even if it has been poisoned with ammonia. You mustTest the water to determine if you are poisoned by nitrates.

See also Rare Blue Clownfish: Myth or Reality

How to deal with:Nitrate poisoning is relatively easy to treat. If nitrates keep rising, change 1/3 of the water. Do not feed your betta during this time if nitrate levels are still high. From there, feed your betta sparingly if necessary.

Fish produces less ammonia, which reduces nitrites and nitrates. If you want to continue normal feedings once the nitrates are under control, you will need to change the water more frequently to prevent them from rising again.

Author's note:Maintain your aquarium weekly by cleaning and testing it. It is an essential part of maintaining your tank. Or you can choose one ofSelf-cleaning aquaponic tanks.

6. Diseases and Illnesses

If your betta fish appears lethargic or is sitting on the bottom of the tank, it may be uncomfortable. There are several causes of your illness. Let's discuss:


ICH is a parasitic infection of the betta fish, and these organisms are present in almost all betta fish, waiting for the opportunity to attach to a host. A parasite calledIchthyophthirius multifiliis, which spreads out in white patches on the fish's scales and skin, is the cause. In most cases, if no therapy is given, it kills the host.

A Betta's scales develop white patches that resemble small cotton balls. A cyst is an immature stage of a parasitic disease called tomites. When trying to remove parasites, fish pinch their fins and rub against the surface of the tank.

How to deal with:You must remove the charcoal filter during the freestyle phase before treating the ego. Add an Ich treatment like malachite green to the water while raising the tank temperature to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. This encourages the cyst to rupture, releasing the tomites, which can be killed by drugs in the water.

Swim bladder disorder

Betta with swim bladder disease have trouble swimming normally. They may have trouble keeping their balance and swim to one side or upside down, or have difficulty reaching the top or bottom of the tank. Usually this infection is caused by bacteria caused by poor water quality. However, other causes may include transport injuries, reproduction problems, or fights.

How to deal with:Bettas with this disease are taken to shallow ponds where the water is just a few inches above their upper fins for treatment. Until the fish are fully recovered, give the water an antibiotic and replace it daily.

Betta fish lying at the bottom of the tank: illness or other reasons - Explanation (3)


Dropsy is a rare disease that your bettas can get, but it is deadly. Betta fish with bulging eyes, pale droppings, bulging scales that appear like pine cones, bloated bodies, and lack of interest in food make the fish inactive. These are symptoms of dropsy in bettas.

how to deal with: Once this disease has spread, there is no known effective treatment for your betta. To avoid further suffering from this disease, it is recommended that you euthanize your fish.


If your Betta suffers from Velvet you will find that he behaves differently. They often rub and contort their body on something in the tank. They also become lethargic and lose their appetite. Parasites cause these behaviors.

How to deal with:Raise the temperature in your betta's tank to 26-25°C while treating with Velvet to kill the parasite.

· Other diseases

Popeye and tail and fin rot are other common diseases that can cause your betta to sink to the bottom of the tank. You may see blood on the fish's fin or a swollen eye if you have any of these conditions.

How to deal with:The best way to treat these ailments is to change the water and add aquarium salt for a few days at a time.

7 Small aquarium size

There is no aquarium too big or too small for Betta fish, although they can live in smaller tanks. If you don't have a large aquarium, your betta fish may get bored and stressed.

See also Is your aquarium water cloudy? Don't make these mistakes!

Do not use an aquarium or aquarium with rounded edges.If you have one of these tanks, they will feel trapped in an amusement park mirror, which can cause your betta to become stressed when seeing distorted images.

How to deal with:Transferring your Betta to a larger tank is an obvious solution, but remember this will take time. Adding your Betta right away will only create new problems. You must manage the aquarium before adding your fish.

Add some aquarium water or transfer some gravel from your old tank to your new one. Don't forget to give your new tank a chance to roam and balance before adding your betta.

8. Current too high

Betta like gentle currents that don't stress them out. Once you realize that the betta fish breathes at the top of the tank, it makes sense.They can find it tiring to fight a current that pushes them into the tank all day.

While a younger Betta can handle it, they certainly aren't after it. As bettas age, their ability to fight the current and breathe decreases.

How to deal with:The cause of excessive current in a betta tank needs to be eliminated or reduced. If your filter is too strong, you may need to buy a less powerful one or simply a new tank. A Betta needs a slow current to thrive, so a strong current will make them unhappy and miserable even if they can handle it.

common questions

Why is my betta not moving at the bottom of the tank?

You shouldn't be surprised if your Betta fish spends some time lying on the bottom of the tank. It could be because they are tired, sleeping or just getting older. It's okay if they can be found at the bottom of the tank occasionally, but they shouldn't spend their entire lives there.

What does it mean when a betta is lying on its side?

The betta fish may simply be resting on the bottom of the tank or in some vegetation if it is lying on its side. It can also be caused by swim bladder disease.

Is my betta fish close to death if it doesn't eat and stay on the bottom?

No, death is not the only reason betta fish won't eat and stay at the bottom of the tank. The reason may be ammonia poisoning, changes in water temperature or chemistry.

Why doesn't the betta swim and sink upside down in the tank?

It could be a concern if your betta doesn't move and sinks upside down. They could be dead or suffering from swim bladder disease. You should keep an eye on your fish and treat them as soon as they develop any symptoms.

Should I be concerned if my Betta is lethargic and sleeping more than usual?

The Betta normally explores throughout the day and sleeps soundly at night. It is not healthy to leave a betta lying on a plant or on the bottom of the tank all day. If they are lethargic, it could be a sign of illness or that the water is not ideal for health.

Betta is breathing heavily, short of breath - what to do?

Like other animals, betas need oxygen to survive. Therefore, if there is no gasoline in the tank, they cannot breathe well. It is important to ensure that you bring the new water to an ideal temperature for this problem, around 24-28°C or 75-82°F.


Although bettas are not very demanding, that doesn't mean you don't need to take care of them. Fortunately, if you commit to learning everything there is to know about aquaristics, you won't have any problems.

To keep the water parameters under control, just get everything you need. You don't have to worry about anything else as long as you do this.

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Shelby Crosby

Shelby is a passionate fish breeder who has been writing about fish for over 5 years. She is a professional hobbyist and holds a bachelor's degree in wildlife and fisheries. She creates beautiful aquarium layouts of her own and loves to share her tropical fish knowledge with other aquarists.

Career highlights:

  • Worked as a consultant for several aquarium manufacturers
  • Organizing and conducting workshops on how to keep freshwater fish in retail stores, educational institutions and libraries
  • Published content for the amphibious community through your writings

Educational highlights:

  • BSc Honors in Wildlife and Fisheries 2011 (University of Northern British Columbia)
  • Completed his bachelor's thesis on the effects of zoochlorella supplementation on fish growth and health.

writing experience

Miss Crosby is a freelance blogger; Many of her articles are published online on various blogs. She has also written a few short articles for Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine in the past. She is a regular contributor to Her education, first-hand experience with fish farming, and in-depth knowledge of aquaculture make her one of the industry's most accomplished writers.

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