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Betta Fish Vertical Death Hang: What To Do?

betta fish vertical death hang

Betta fish vertical death hang is when betta fish starts swimming vertically, which is highly abnormal for a betta fish to do. As one would presume by the name, vertically hanging will imply deadly consequences of a betta. One must know why does betta does this vertical hang of death.

Betta fish are hypersensitive and very peculiar about their habitat. Hence, if you miss out on any small detail, your fish could show deadly symptoms, like betta fish vertical dead hang. It is usually because the betta fish owner might have eased out on any requirements of betta. For instance, not cleaning the tank properly could raise nitrate levels in the water, making it toxic, resulting in betta fish vertical death hang. If you do not maintain the required tank size or the temperature required by betta, one could lose it to the vertical death hang. Hence, it is vital to know what causes it and prevents it.

Betta Fish Vertical Death Hang: What Is It?

Betta fish vertical death hang is something that should be taken seriously. It is when your betta fish, instead of swimming horizontally like it usually does, swims vertically. This is when its head is facing either the surface of the substrates. If you find your fish swimming vertically often, we recommend checking the tank parameters immediately.

Sometimes betta fish will resume their normal swimming phase but return to the abnormal state. Your betta may die if it persists in swimming vertically without help. It would help determine why your betta is hanging in a vertical direction to avoid its death. You will know the treatment once you have figured out why your betta fish is in a vertical death hang position. 

Betta Fish Vertical Death Hang: What Causes It?

Betta Fish Vertical Death Hang: What Causes It?

There can be many reasons behind the betta fish vertical death hang situation. Please take a look into it to avoid any such deadly conditions in the future with your fish.

Tank Size

Even though many pet store owners believe that a betta would thrive in a fishbowl, a betta fish must be kept in a tank no less than 5-gallons. A small tank will not be enough for its territorial personality. Betta fish needs space to swim and survive in confinement. A small tank or bowl might stress it out, and stress is a slow killer of a betta fish.

Water Quality

Betta Death Hang Water Quality

Water quality is something that no fish owners should compromise on. A betta requires a temperature ranging from 70- 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not alter the temperature beyond this range, or your betta will fall victim to the vertical death hang of the betta fish. So that you can maintain this temperature, one should always install an excellent heater to the tank. It will keep the temperature fluctuations in check.


Any fish tank needs to have a proper filter. For bettas, a sponge filter would suffice. The gentle current of the sponge filters will help it swim properly. Cleaning the water once every week ensures optimal water quality as required by the betta. It also keeps the nitrate content minimal to keep the toxicity away from your betta, which could otherwise lead to the betta fish vertical death hang.

pH Levels

A betta fish is susceptible to the pH measure of its water. Mainly they should be kept within the range of 6.5 to 7, which is the pH for the tap water recommended for a betta. A high pH would raise the likability of the water, which would slowly attack your fish’s fins and interfere with its swimming patterns.

Nevertheless, the cause for a betta fish vertical death hang is a low pH level which implies that your water is too acidic for your fish’s body. Do not let your water go beyond the stipulated range. Keep testing the water to avoid any fatality.


Like every other living being, a betta fish should not be overfed. Betta fish are predatory, so they eat all they get. This, most of the time, leads to the problem of overfeeding in bettas which in turn leads to bloating in betta fish. This bloating can cause blockage in the swim bladder of your betta. Any injury to their swim bladder will make them swim vertically.

Betta Fish Vertical Death Hang: How To Treat?

Betta Fish Vertical Death Hang: How To Treat?

Tank conditions are essential to avoid any mishaps to your fish. Here are a few ways you can treat the vertical death hang in betta.

  • Provide premium quality water to your fish. This implies, that water parameters that your fish requires to survive long should be provided to it. Ensure no ammonia or nitrite content in the water, zero toxicity and clean the tank once every week.
  • Feed them propely. Provide a range of nutrition to your betta, which includes insect larvae, live bloodworms, pellets, flakes twice every day not more than that. Do not overfeed it.
  • Maintain all tank requisites. Include all the tank decorations, toys, logs, mirrors, live plants an dshurbs to make betta feel lik it is in its natural habitat, to avoid any stress and anxiety in your betta. Do not keep your betta in a bowl, buy a tank for them. Due to their agggressive nature it is best to keep them alone.
  • If you decide to keep a betta tank mate, choose a calm fish, and a bigger tank so that he does not feel threatened by it. Keep observing the tank for any signs of aggressions.

FAQs on Betta Fish Vertical Death Hang:

Why is my betta hanging at the top?

Your betta might hang at the top because it has problems breathing oxygen. If you find your betta frequently coming at the top and gasping for air, check all the tank conditions and refer a professional.

Why is my betta fish hanging vertically?

Due to damage to the swim bladder, your betta hangs vertically. A swim bladder helps balance the fish; therefore, any harm to it would result in abnormal swimming patterns of betta.

What does a dying betta look like?

You may notice your betta losing all the gaudy pigmentation it has. There will be brown or white spots all over its body.

Final Thoughts on Betta Fish Vertical Death Hang

Betta fish’s vertical death hang can be avoided if the tank conditions are appropriate. Betta fish hanging vertically is a serious indication that your betta is not getting the habitat it should. Hence, check all the tank conditions immediately to avoid any losses.