Even though betta fish have a showy exterior with vibrant colored fins and elongated bodies, they are highly susceptible to various kinds of ailments and diseases—one of the most common issues that betta fish face is swim bladder disease.
The swim bladder disease betta, as the name suggests, affects the swim bladder of the betta fish. As we all know, the swim bladder of the betta fish aids in maintaining the balance of the betta fish by controlling the buoyancy. Thus, if you see your betta fish having problems swimming upright, then it may be suffering from swim bladder disease. Overfeeding, parasitic infections, and stress are some of the causes behind swim bladder disease betta.
Swim Bladder Disease Betta: Symptoms
Here are some of the most evident symptoms of swim bladder disease betta to look for. You are wondering how do I know if betta swim bladder disease is from constipation or bacterial infection? These symptoms might help you distinguish between the two.
One of the most visible symptoms of swim bladder disease in betta fish is that your betta may start swimming lopsidedly in many cases. Due to the affected swim bladder of the betta fish, the balance of the fish is also affected.
Thus, in many cases, you might notice your betta fish swimming on its side. If you notice this, then there is a high chance that this is a sign of swim bladder disease betta. However, sometimes betta fish also tend to sleep on their side.
As stated earlier, the swim bladder of a betta fish aids in maintaining the balance of the betta fish. Thus, there is no need for the betta fish to swim constantly to stay in one place as long as the swim bladder works correctly. However, if the swim bladder is affected, it may cause some problems for the betta fish.
For instance, an affected swim bladder may prevent the betta fish from staying still in one place. It will constantly cause the betta fish to swim up and down in the tank as the buoyancy is also affected. Swim bladder disease is heredity in some cases as well. Therefore, you may find a swim bladder disease betta fry.
Besides the lopsided swimming of the betta fish and the related buoyancy problems, the betta fish may also appear to be bloated if it is affected by the swim bladder disease. Thus, if you notice a betta fish’s back curved or belly distended, it may be a sign of swim bladder disease betta.
Loss Of Appetite
Due to the buoyancy problems associated with the swim bladder disease, the betta fish may be forced to swim at the bottom of the tank for the most part. Betta fish generally collect their food on the water surface. As the betta fish will be unable to swim to the water surface, loss of appetite is imminent.
Swim Bladder Disease Betta: Causes
Here are some of the most common causes behind swim bladder disease betta.
The most common reason behind swim bladder disease betta is overfeeding. Betta fish are voracious eaters and will eat anything presented before them as long as it fits in its mouth. This habit makes them highly susceptible to being overfed quite occasionally.
Overfeeding causes the betta fish to get bloated and may also lead to constipation. As the betta fish swells up, the working of the swim bladder of the betta fish is also affected.
Stressful conditions are also driving factors in swim bladder disease betta. For instance, if there is a sudden change in the water temperature in the tank, it may indirectly affect the working of the swim bladder disease. A low water temperature (less than 78 degrees F) may slow down the digestion process, leading to constipation and bloating.
Besides the factors mentioned above, betta fish are also easily affected by various kinds of bacteria and parasites. These parasites affect the organs of the betta fish, which may influence the working of the swim bladder. However, these kinds of cases are rare and have more prominent symptoms other than swim bladder disease.
Swim Bladder Disease Betta: Treatments
Depending on the cause, here are some possible modes of treatment for swim bladder disease betta.
Fasting Your Betta
If overfeeding or constipation is the case, then fasting your betta fish for a few days is your best bet for treating swim bladder disease betta. Besides fasting your betta fish for a few days, you may also try feeding it blanched peas and daphnia, which are highly recommended food for a betta fish with swim bladder disease.
Feeding peas and daphnia to your betta fish is said to have benefits relating to the proper digestion in the betta fish. Proper digestion would reduce the bloating in your betta fish and help treat constipation. Once constipation is eliminated, then the working of the swim bladder is also back to normal.
Epsom Salt Bath
The procedure is quite simple. You would need to add half a tablespoon of Epsom salt in half a gallon of water. Now, to this container, add conditioned tap water. Once the salt has adequately mixed, add this mixture to the tank after making sure that the water temperature of the container water is adequate or not.
The betta fish will excrete within the first 10 to 15 minutes of this bath in an ideal situation. However, do not lose hope if this does not happen, as it may happen eventually. Thus, drawing an Epsom salt bath for a constipated betta fish is excellent for treating swim bladder disease betta.
Medication & Precaution
If the swim bladder is affected due to some parasitic or bacterial infection, then fasting the betta fish and drawing an Epsom salt bath is not enough. In such cases, you need to provide proper medications melafix and Betamax.
You also need to regularly check the water conditions like the water temperature and pH level in the tank to maintain a stressless environment. For instance, make sure that the water temperature is between 78 and 82 degrees F at all times.
FAQs On Swim Bladder Disease Betta
How long can swim bladder disease betta live?
A betta fish permanently suffering from the swim bladder disease may live throughout its lifespan. However, some lifestyle changes are necessary.
Is swim bladder disease fatal?
In most cases, the swim bladder disease is easily treatable. However, if bacterial and fungal infections cause it, it may prove fatal.
How long does it take to treat swim bladder disease betta?
Ideally, an Epsom salt bath can treat a swim bladder disease betta within a few minutes. Swim bladder disease caused by causes other than constipation may take time.
Are antibiotics safe for betta with swim bladder disease?
Antibiotics are only safe for betta fish if the cause is severe enough. If the swim bladder disease is caused due to constipation, antibiotics are not needed.
Thus, if you notice your betta fish unable to swim straight or lie at the bottom of the tank on its side, there is a high chance of being caused by the swim bladder disease. A swim bladder disease betta can be treated quickly if the cause is identified correctly.