Betta fish are certainly growing in popularity as aquarium fish. Well, who would not want a low-maintenance fish with widespread and colorful fins? However, there are always downsides. Betta fish are highly susceptible to various kinds of illness that may be caused due to different factors. Sometimes, you may also notice your betta fish not swimming at all or swimming lethargically.
Betta fish not swimming and laying ideally at the bottom of the tank is quite common an occurrence. In most cases, the signs of betta fish not swimming do not indicate anything serious, but this does not mean you should ignore them. There might be specific reasons behind your betta fish not swimming. The most common ones are betta fish sleeping, a relatively inactive old betta fish, swim bladder disease, and ammonia or nitrate poisoning.
Betta Fish Not Swimming: Causes
There might be several causes behind the stillness and inactivity of your betta fish. Some of these causes prove no harm to your betta fish, while some of them are signs of stress and illness in your betta fish. Thus, if you notice your betta fish not swimming and just lying at the bottom of the tank, you should not ignore it.
Here are some of the most probable causes for the inactivity of your betta fish.
Betta Fish Has Aged
Betta fish can live about 2 to 5 years in a captive environment if proper care is given. By the end of this period, betta fish tend to become relatively more lethargic. A young betta fish, in its initial years, are swift swimmers. They usually swim at the top level of the tank, where they may also occasionally visit the surface to breathe air using their labyrinth organ.
However, as the betta fish ages over time, the stamina and the activeness of the betta fish slowly decrease. For this reason, if you have an old betta fish, you may sometimes find the betta fish not swimming and lying at the bottom level of the tank.
Betta Fish Is Sleeping
Betta fish, like us, also follow a proper sleeping schedule. So, how do you identify a sleeping betta fish? A sleeping betta fish generally looks quite still with only its fins and mouth moving. Betta fish do not have eyelids, so there is no other way to identify a sleeping betta fish.
You often notice your betta fish not swimming, just floating, sleeping at the bottom of the tank and on its side. At first, you may wonder whether there is something wrong with your betta fish. However, you need not worry as betta fish sleeping at the bottom of the tank is pretty standard. Betta fish may also sleep under tank decors, over leaves, or just float in the middle.
Swim Bladder Disease
Swim bladder disease is a prevalent disease that generally affects your betta fish when you overfeed it. Betta fish are highly susceptible to being overfed, and overfeeding causes the betta fish to get constipated and bloated. Such overfeeding may also directly affect the swim bladder of the betta.
The swim bladder of the betta fish is necessary for maintaining the proper balance of the fish while swimming. As overfeeding affect the swim bladder, it also affects the balance of the betta fish. A betta fish with the swimbladder disease may find it challenging to swim upright and will lead your betta fish to be on its side for the most part. Thus, if you are wondering why is my betta fish swimming backward, then it may because of the swim bladder disease.
Ammonia & Nitrate Poisoning
Water quality corresponds directly to the health of your betta fish. Thus, inadequate levels of the water parameters can cause stress to your betta fish. Ideally, your betta tank must be free of any unwanted chemicals like ammonia, chlorine, chloramine, nitrates, nitrites, etc.
However, any discrepancies in the tank conditions may cause a sudden spike in the levels of these elements in your tank. For instance, leftover betta food is broken down by bacteria in the tank over time to increase the levels of ammonia and nitrates in the tank.
Such an unnecessary increase in the levels of ammonia and nitrate can stress your betta fish. A stressed betta fish is characterized by lethargy and loss of appetite. Thus, if you notice your betta fish not swimming that actively, it might be due to ammonia and nitrate poisoning.
Besides the reasons mentioned above, there might be other factors that may be the reason behind betta fish not swimming. Any factors that may cause stress to your betta fish can lead your betta fish to become inactive.
Stress may be caused due to a variety of different reasons—inadequate water parameters like water temperature, water pH level, water hardness, water current, etc. Your betta fish may also become lethargic as a result of different fungal or bacterial infections like fin rot, ich, or velvet.
Betta Fish Not Swimming: Treatments
The nature of the treatment depends on the nature of the cause. In case of natural causes like a betta fish sleeping and a betta fish getting old, we cannot do anything to prevent that. However, other causes like swim bladder disease, ammonia poisoning, etc., may be treated and prevented.
Look into the following considerations to ensure that your betta swims actively.
- Water temperature between 76 and 82 degrees F
- Water pH should range from 6 to 8
- Add tank decors like plants, driftwood, etc. to provide hiding spots
- Avoid overfeeding your betta fish
- Check the ammonia, chlorine, and nitrate levels regularly
- Conduct periodical partial water changes
FAQs On Betta Fish Not Swimming
How to treat swim bladder disease in bettas?
Try feeding thawed green peas or daphnia to your betta fish to reduce the bloating and treat the swim bladder disease. You may also consider fasting your betta for a few days.
Why is my betta at the bottom of the tank not swimming?
Maybe your betta fish is sleeping or has just gotten old. Ammonia and nitrate poisoning, swim bladder disease, and stressful conditions may be other reasons.
Why is my betta fish not swimming after the water change?
Betta fish are sensitive to water quality. If you have not changed the water properly, it may stress your betta fish out, making them sluggish.
Thus, there might be several reasons behind your betta fish not swimming and just lying at the bottom of the tank. It may be because your betta fish is aging or just taking a nap. Swim bladder disease and ammonia poisoning may also be among the probable causes.