Betta Fish are very beautiful pets for any aquarium. Their vivid colors and adaptive nature to the environment make them famous among many aquarists. But it can fall victim to many diseases without you knowing about them. So it’s important to analyze your betta behavior to ensure a happy and healthy life for betta fish.

The Common Betta Fish Behavior Before Death is loss of appetite, laziness, clamped fins, darkening of color, and difficulty swimming. Betta fish owners need to take notice of these signs and take them to a certified fish veterinarian. In this article, We will discuss 10 common Betta fish behavior before death and what steps we can take to save our fishy friend. We will also go through:

  1. What causes the immediate death of a betta fish
  2. What causes the slow death of a betta fish
  3. How can we increase the life span of our betta fish?

What are the common Betta Fish Behavior Before Death

Beautiful white Betta Fish
Beautiful white Betta Fish

Loss Of Appetite

One of the earliest and most noticeable signs of illness in a betta fish is a decrease in appetite. If your betta fish is no longer showing interest in its food or is missing meals, this can indicate a potential health issue. Loss f appetite can be caused by:

  • Water quality issues
  • Presence of disease or parasite in the tank
  • Stress

Regular monitoring of your betta fish’s eating habits, as well as regular water testing and maintenance, can help prevent and detect potential health issues early on. To reduce stress on the fish the fish must have a wide spacious tank and enough decorations to play in.


Bettas are normally very active creatures. They swim around in the tank and hide in fish decorations. But if you notice that your fish is no more active and playful it can be a sign of his declining health. In such conditions, betta fish move down to the bottom of the tank and just lay there. Every betta fish owner needs to keep an eye on the betta fish behavior in a new tank. You must address the underlying cause to help improve its health and prevent further decline. This may involve changing the water conditions, providing proper nutrition, or seeking veterinary care if necessary.

Clamped Fins

Clamped fins refer to a condition where the fins of a betta fish are closed and pressed to its body. In a healthy betta fish, the fins are typically open and spread out, allowing for the full range of motion and ease of swimming. However, when a betta fish is feeling unwell, it may clamp its fins as a sign of stress or illness.

betta fish behavior before death
Red Betta Fish: Swimming in a tank

Loss of Color

Betta fish have bright, vibrant colors that can range from deep reds and blues to iridescent greens and purples. Their color makes them attractive and cute pets for fish keepers. When a betta fish is feeling unwell, its color may change and become dull or darker. White patches appear on the betta fish it is mostly due to aging and illness. They look very dull in color and are not as active as they use to be. This is a sign that your fish is suffering from the disease.

Hiding and avoiding social interaction

Bettas normally hide in decorations of the tank but if they are constantly hiding or not moving for a long time it’s not a good sign. They mostly remain active in the tank. Like other creatures, they prefer to die in peace and privacy so they start hiding more than usual. They stay away from interaction with other tank mates and lie down at the bottom of the tank. Regular monitoring of water quality, as well as providing a suitable environment and proper nutrition, can help prevent hiding and maintain the health of your betta fish.

Difficulty Swimming or Floating Abnormally

Difficulty Swimming or Floating Abnormally is another common betta fish behavior before death. Healthy betta fish are strong swimmers, easily navigating their environment and maintaining their balance. However, when a betta fish is feeling unwell, it may have difficulty swimming or floating abnormally. This can be a serious concern for betta fish owners, as it can limit their ability to move and interact with their environment, as well as make them more susceptible to predation and death. Betta fish must be provided with the ideal environment to live in.

Rapid Breathing and Gasping

Red Betta Fish swimming in tank
Red Betta Fish

Healthy betta fish have a slow and steady breathing rate, with their gills barely visible as they swim. However, when a betta fish is feeling unwell, it may begin to breathe rapidly or gasp at the surface of the water. This can be especially concerning if it occurs in conjunction with other signs of illness, such as clamped fins or a decrease in appetite. If you notice your betta fish breathing rapidly or gasping at the surface you should fix the amount of oxygen level in a fish tank to provide relief to your dying betta.

White Spots or Patches

White spots or patches are a sign of a fungal or bacterial infection in a betta fish. The white spots or patches can appear as small, white dots or larger opaque areas. Infection can quickly spread in the aquarium environment. So it’s necessary to separate the sick betta fish from the other tank mates. White spots or patches usually appear in aging betta fish and it is a sign of a weak immune system. Additionally, using a high-quality aquarium water conditioner can help remove harmful detergents from the water, and using an aquarium filter can help maintain proper water circulation and oxygenation.

Fish Tuberculosis

Fish TB, often known as fish tuberculosis, is a contagious illness. A bacteria called Mycobacterium marinum, which destroys the internal organs, skin, and fins of infected fish, is the cause of the disease. A variety of symptoms, including weight loss, lack of appetite, and irregular swimming behavior, as well as more severe ones like open sores and ulcers, can be brought on by fish TB.

Since that many of the symptoms of fish TB are similar to those of other common fish infections, it can be difficult to detect and treat this sickness. However, once Fish TB has taken root, it is challenging to cure since the bacteria that causes it is very resistant to several conventional aquarium drugs. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to save your betta if he has Fish TB.

Swollen Eyes

This is also a common betta fish behavior before death that their eyes start swelling. Their vision gets blurry. Swollen eyes are mostly because of infection or inflammation which can lead to the death of your betta fish. In some cases, their eyes swelled because of the poor quality of the water if that happens check the ph of the water. The ph level of water for betta should be between 6.5 and 8.0. It is advised to do weekly water changes to provide betta with an ideal environment.

What Causes the Immediate Death of a Betta Fish

Betta Fish Swimming in Tank
Betta Fish Swimming in Tank Credit: Pexels

The immediate death of a betta fish can be caused by two main reasons.

  1. They could have been sick for a very long time like traveling from a fish farm to a whole seller then to a fish shop and then finally to you. During this time it is possible that they were sick for a very long time before you place them in your aquarium. There are ways to tell whether your betta is sick so get their proper check-up before bringing them in.
  2. The second reason for an immediate betta death could be your fish tank environment. Before putting your betta into a tank get the water ph level and temperature checked and see whether it is suitable for a betta fish or not. Ammonia and nitrate can easily cause a betta death.

What Causes the Slow Death of a Betta Fish

The slow death of a betta fish is often due to chronic or long-term health issues, such as malnutrition or communicable disease-induced fin rot. A number of diseases, including parasite infections, fungal infections, and bacterial infections, can cause a slow deterioration in the health of betta fish over time. Slow death can occasionally also be brought on by underlying medical issues or genetic diseases. In addition to treating them for the symptoms, it’s critical to identify the cause of the stress or illness in order to save the other fish. You should also notice the betta fish behavior in a new tank. Sometimes their new tank environment might not be suitable for them.

How can we Increase the Life Span of our Betta Fish?

White Betta Fish
White Betta Fish credit: Pexels
  1. Maintain Proper Water Conditions: Keep the water temperature in the range of 75-80°F and maintain a neutral pH of around 6.5-8.0.
  2. Provide Sufficient Nutrition: Betta fish should be fed a balanced diet that includes live or frozen brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms, as well as high-quality pellets or flakes.
  3. Prevent Overfeeding: Overfeeding can affect betta fish’s health and cause poor water quality. 2-3 times every day, give them little amounts of food.
  4. Use a Properly Sized Aquarium: Betta fish need room to swim and explore, so they should be housed in a roomy, well-filtered aquarium. A minimum of 10 gallons is recommended for a single betta.
  5. Reduce Stress: Betta fish are sensitive to changes in their environment, so try to minimize sudden changes and provide plenty of hiding places in the aquarium.
  6. Proper Lighting: Betta fish thrive in aquariums with low to moderate lighting, so pick an aquarium light that offers sufficient illumination without being overly bright.
  7. Avoid Crowding: Betta fish are aggressive and territorial, so avoid keeping multiple bettas in the same aquarium.
  8. Regularly Check for Diseases: Watch for any sickness symptoms, such as white patches, hazy eyes, or fast breathing, and take immediate action if necessary.
  9. Regularly Check Water Quality: To maintain stable water conditions, keep a close eye on the aquarium’s water quality and do routine water changes as needed.
  10. Offer Mental Stimulation: Betta fish can get bored and stressed in a stagnant environment, so offer plenty of hiding places, toys, and other enrichment items to keep them mentally stimulated.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the signs of distress in a betta fish?

Signs of distress in betta fish can be loss of appetite, rapid breathing, gasping at the surface of the water, hiding in a fish tank, white spots on the body, swollen eyes, and loss of color.

Do betta fish hide when they are dying?

Yes, betta fish may hide when they are dying. This behavior indicates a health issue, stress, or discomfort. In some circumstances, medical care can be required. The fish may ultimately pass away if its health doesn’t improve, frequently lurking until its very last moments.

How to tell if your betta fish is unhappy?

To tell if your betta fish is unhappy, you should look out for behavioral and physical signs. Some behavioral signs of an unhappy betta fish include lethargy, loss of appetite, dull coloration, clamped fins, and excessive aggression. Physical signs to look out for may include fin rot, fungal infections, and other visible signs of illness or injury.


Betta fish often display certain behaviors before they die, which can serve as warning signs of impending illness or other health issues. Some of the most common betta fish behavior before death to look out for are enlisted above. You need to make sure that your betta fish in the new tank receives the care and attention it needs to grow and live a long, healthy life by being alert and attentive to changes in its behavior.