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Betta Tail Biting Problem: Reasons and Resolution

Betta Tail Biting

Betta Tail Biting is not something uncommon. It’s something that is seen very commonly in the Betta species. But what exactly is Betta tail biting? Why does it happen? In this article, we will be answering those questions and discussing what to do and how to take care of Betta Tail Biting. 

What is Betta Tail Biting? Just as the name says, it refers to your Betta biting chunks of their tail. This tendency of biting its tail off is generally seen in Betta fish with long tails. Even though generally seen in Betta Fish with longer tails, it does not mean they are the only fish that do it; any Betta can bite their Tail. 

However, unless you have proof that the loss of the tail is from Tail biting, one should not diagnose it as Betta Tail biting, as the loss of the ail could also be from fin rot or fin damage or due to some other reasons. 

Why does Betta Tail Biting happen? 

While the exact reason why Tail biting happens in betta is unknown, there are a few reasons which experts think as to why betta tail biting occurs. 


betta stressing

Betta fish get stressed easily, so a lot of people think Tail biting happens due to stress. Some common things that make a Betta fish feel stressed, like poor water conditions, a new environment, lack of hiding places, aggressive tank mates, can be some of the reasons why a Betta feels stressed. 

One should keep in mind that if stress is the reason why your Betta is biting its tail, then the stress won’t go away with just biting. If stress is the case, one needs to immediately make the necessary changes to keep the fish happy and comfortable

If the Betta continues to be stressed for a long period, this could weaken their immunity, making them susceptible to many diseases. 

Pent Up Aggression

Bettas are aggressive fish, and sometimes when they don’t have an opportunity to take it out on someone else, they take it out on themselves. 

Large fins

large fins betta

Betta fish have long flowing tails, and they are heavy. As the tails are heavy, they weigh the fish down, and some Betta fish don’t like it. 

Having a tail that will weigh them down and restrict their movement frustrates the Betta fish, and hence they will bite the tail in an attempt to bite it off. Unfortunately, there’s not much one can do to stop it if the reason is this. 


Bettas get bored easily, especially if the tank is small and they do not have any decorations. Boredom makes them feel frustrated, and when they do feel it, they could start harming themselves. If the tank is smaller than 5 gallons, the fish get bored and get stressed very easily. 


Sometimes the reason a Betta bites its tail could be hereditary. Some Bettas feel a more natural tendency to bite their tails. This could be hereditary, and if that is the case, there is not much one can do to stop it. 

The Symptoms of Betta Tail Biting

The only symptom and the important symptom one would notice about Betta Tail biting is the loss of tail and the tail looking more torn up. However, just because the tail looks torn up does not mean that Tail biting has to be the reason. 

Here is what tail biting would look like:

Rapid loss of tail

When a Betta starts biting its tail, one notices large chunks of tail missing in a minimal amount of time. 

Some other causes, such as fin rot, take a long time to affect the fish and show gradual loss of the tail, and damages caused by decorations do not happen often. 

If the Betta loses a large portion of its tail overnight, it would most likely be the result of tail biting. 

Missing large chunks of tail

Other reasons for the deterioration of the tail happens in a more gradual, uniform manner; however, when it comes to betta tail biting, large chunks of the tail will be missing. 

The chunks will look round, and if looked at closely, one would be able to see the bite marks. The number of missing chunks will also be higher if it is a result of tail biting. 

If the missing chunk is on a portion of the tail where the Betta would not reach, then the reason might not be Betta tail biting. 

Cleaner edges

Any other reason for tail loss would make the tail edges appear tattier and as if the tail is slowly ripping off. When it comes to tail biting the edges will be cleaner. 

If the tail has a more clean deterioration, it could result from betta tail biting. 

Seeing it with one’s own eyes

The most solid proof of Betta tail biting sees your fish do it with your own eyes. If you see your Betta biting its tail with your own eyes, then you need to interfere immediately and stop the behavior and treat it immediately. 

How to tell if a Betta has fin rot

One of the major symptoms of fin rot is the appearance of tiny white dots on the edge of the fins. It will be hard to notice them at first as they are very tiny. However, they will grow bigger and worsen as time goes by.

Ways to Prevent Betta Tail Biting

Decrease the lighting

If stress is the reason why your Betta is biting its tail, then one of the best things to do at the time is to decrease the lighting. The darker lighting could make the fish feel like they have more places to hide, thus reducing the stress.

If you still want to see your betta, another alternative for switching off the light would be to turn the light to have a dark blue shade, if possible. 

Adding decorations

Adding decorations, mainly Indian almond leaves, is yet another way to help the fish reduce stress. 

Indian almond leaves release antioxidants into the water, which are natural stress relievers. They also turn the water into black water, which is the natural habitat of the Betta. The replication of its natural habitat also helps the fish be more relaxed. 

The almond leaves also provide enough hiding places for the Betta.

Also, Read | Top 5 Best Handpicked Betta Leaf Hammock

Tank Mates

Even though bettas are aggressive and tend to live alone, there are some good tank mates for bettas. As long as the temperament of the fish is fine, then they should get along pretty well. 

Read our recommended article on Kuhli Loach and Betta: Best Friends Fish-ever? To learn more about the best tank mates for betta fish.

Show him his reflection

Showing the betta his own reflection would help the fish flare and let out some of the pent-up aggression, which would help the fish reduce their stress level. 

However, one needs to make sure they do not show the betta his own reflection for more than 15 seconds as that could make the fish more stressed and do more harm than good. 

Treating Betta Tail Biting

Sometimes the damage happens so fast that the only thing one can do is help the tail grow back. Some things that can be done to help with this are listed below. 

Frequent water changes

Tail biting could lead to fin rot or tail rot to make sure that does not happen when water changes have to be made frequently. The water tank would help the fish from getting any infection. 

The water change can be done once a week or more, depending on the size of the tank. 

Adding of Aquarium Salt

Aquarium salt will help kill off the unnecessary, unhealthy bacterias and help the betta reduce their stress level. The salt needs to be diluted before adding to the tank. 

One can add it for four days continuously before doing a water change. 

Recovery From Betta Tail Biting

The recovery from Betta tail biting would only happen if the fish stops doing it, and the duration of the recovery would depend on the damage caused to the fishtail. If noticed early, one can interfere before it is too late and reduce the damage. 

The growth back will start quite quickly as soon as the Betta stops biting. Betta tail biting is very rarely fatal. One has to keep the water clean to make sure this does not lead to any other infections. 

Commonly Asked Questions Related to Betta Tail Biting Problem

Will betta fish tail grow back?

Yes, the tail will grow back in due time. The time for recovery, however, depends on the damage done to the tail. One needs to make sure that the tail biting does not lead to any other infections. 

Why are my fish biting each other’s tails?

A fish is biting another fish’s tail because one of them is an aggressive fish, and the other is a passive fish.

Can Fin nipping kill fish?

Fin nipping is not considered fatal; however, if it leads to any other infections, it could prove fatal for the fish. One needs to make sure the fin nipping is treated right and at the right time and to make sure the water stays clean at all times to prevent the nipping from turning into an infection.


Betta tail biting is something commonly seen in betta fish. While not fatal, if left in unfavorable conditions could lead to potential infection, which would adversely affect the health of the fish. This could be happening due to various reasons, and there are some ways one can help stop this and make the betta fish get better.

Everything about Betta’s tail biting and why this happens, and how one can help Betta stop this have been discussed in this article. I hope it was useful!