Bloated Betta: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & Prevention

If your fish has been appearing bloated recently, or if it is having trouble swimming correctly, it might be due to a variety of factors. Dropsy, constipation, swim bladder illness, pregnancy, Malawi bloat, and tumor are all possibilities for your fish. All of these variables contribute to bloating in your fish. However, there is no need to be concerned because each of them has its unique therapy.

Swelling can develop in a variety of locations depending on the illness. All of these infections have many causes, some of which are easily cured while others necessitate more care and patience.

The most common cause of bloated Betta fish is constipation. Other causes are bacterial infections, swim bladder disease and the worse case is dropsy.

Here is a comprehensive guide to help you understand all of the reasons for bloating in your fish, as well as the symptoms and various treatments. so that you may act quickly after you’ve discovered a diagnosis for your fish.

What is Bloating in your Betta?

A bloated betta will have bulging sides on one or both sides of its body. The fish is frequently lopsided. A bloated fish may find it difficult to swim since it will either stay on the bottom of the water or float on the water’s surface. If not handled promptly, this can be quite harmful to the fish, as the animal has to surface regularly to breathe.

Bloated Betta

What are the Causes of Bloating?

Bloating in your betta can be caused by a variety of factors.

Constipation is the most common beginning point for the voyage, followed by swim bladder illness, and if these two are not treated in a timely manner, the fish will be forced to suffer from dropsy. This is a difficult condition to treat and can limit the life of your betta, as opposed to the other two, which can be healed quickly.

1. Constipation

Constipation is a major source of bloat in your betta’s tummy, as previously stated. Its treatment and prevention are simple, and if caught early enough, your betta can recover quickly. This is the most prevalent cause of betta swelling. You may notice the following symptoms in your betta in addition to a swollen belly.

Symptoms of Constipation

More than a bloated belly, here are some other constipation symptoms in Betta.

Lack of Appetite

Because betta fish are highly gutsy, you’ll be able to identify this sign quickly because your betta will stop eating. Bettas seldom do this because of their greedy mentality, but when they have constipation, they will.

Is Unable to Pass Stool

Your betta will be unable to defecate, which is another symptom you may notice. Because bettas don’t create a lot of waste, this sign might be difficult to detect. If you see this together with a lack of appetite, treat your fish for constipation right away before it becomes anything else.

Causes of Constipation

Constipation in Betta can be caused by a variety of factors. So, rather than treating the problem, you should search for ways to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Constipation is caused mostly by feeding your fish low-quality food. Your fish will bloat as a result of this. Always feed your bettas high-quality betta pallets, and supplement their diet with frozen-feed dry food and live food. Give your betta as much food as it can consume in a few minutes. Also, once a week, adopt the fasting technique, which involves not feeding your fish for the entire day. This aids in the digestion of previously-stored meals.

Constipation in your betta might also be caused by a lack of activity. To avoid constipation, your betta has to move about the tank to force the food down to its digestive tract. However, if the tank is too tiny, this will not be possible. It should be at least 10 gallons in size to let your betta move about freely. Your betta will get bored and frustrated if you do not do so.

Related Post: 23 Betta Fish Diseases, Symptoms and Treatment Guide

How to Treat Constipation?

Constipation in Betta is quite simple to cure. Fasting is commonly used to relieve constipation in bettas. They fast their fish for 2 to 3 days to empty their intestines, but this does not always work, so you may feed your betta-cooked peas and live creatures like daphnia, mosquito, larvae, and brine shrimp. This will introduce more fiber into its digestive tract, alleviating constipation. If this still doesn’t work, try giving your betta an Epsom salt bath.

2. Swim Bladder Disease

Another prevalent ailment in the betta population is swim bladder disease. Constipation can induce it, and vice versa. Swim bladder problem is not a sickness in the traditional sense; rather, it is a popular term for a condition that affects a variety of fish, including bettas.

Swim Bladder Dysfunction Symptoms

Because of its enlarged belly, a fish suffering from swim bladder illness will have trouble swimming. This can cause buoyancy concerns in the fish, such as sinking to the bottom, being stuck at the surface, swimming lopsidedly owing to swelling, and being unable to remain in one posture.

The betta might lose its appetite due to being severely damaged or any other condition, in addition to having difficulty swimming. Furthermore, your betta’s posture may alter, and in severe situations, it may develop a curled back; you should address this as quickly as possible since it is as unpleasant as it appears. Finally, your betta may become sedentary; they may avoid moving about at all times due to being overly full or in pain.

What are the causes of Swim Bladder Disease?

One of the most serious issues with swim bladder illness is that it can develop for a variety of reasons. So, before treating your fish, you must first determine the true reason for swim bladder illness, or you will be spending your time treating it for something it was not diagnosed with.

The following are the most typical causes:


Same to how bloating may be caused by swim bladder illness, constipation can also be caused.


Injuries can be caused by nips from other fish in the tank or your beta hitting itself with something in the tank. Alternatively, it may have leaped out of the tank and landed on its own. To avoid such issues, keep the lid closed or leave a small gap to allow your betta to breathe freely.


Swim bladder illness is sometimes caused by a bacterial infection or parasite assault. You’ll note that your betta’s feces are light and stringy rather than hard or brown in this situation.

A shock in betta can also induce shock-swim bladder condition. Regular water changes, keeping a proper pH level, and frequent light changes all contribute to this shock. If your fish has acquired swim bladder illness as a result of shock, the underlying reasons can be addressed.

How to Treat Swim Bladder Disease?

Swim bladder illness may be treated in a variety of ways, much like constipation in fish, by acting quickly, feeding a high-quality diet, and using Epsom salts. In certain circumstances, a swim bladder problem does not necessitate your intervention.

3. Dropsy

If your fish does not appear to have swim bladder illness or constipation, it might be suffering from dropsy. If this is the case, you must begin treating your fish as soon as possible. This condition, however, is incurable and extremely difficult to treat. Some experts even advocate euthanizing the fish.

Symptoms of Dropsy

These are the signs to check for if your betta fish has dropsy and you want to confirm it.

When a betta has dropsy, the injured internal organs enlarge, causing the fish body to inflate up and force the scales outwards, forming a pinecone-like structure.

You may also see your betta’s spine curving. This occurs as a result of organ enlargement. However, ensure sure the spine is bending horizontally rather than vertically, as this might indicate TB.

Causes of Dropsy

Dropsy can be caused by a number of factors. Poor nutrition, terrible water conditions, or other ailments can induce stress in betta fish. Stress impairs the immune system of the betta fish, making them more susceptible to illness.

Dropsy can be caused by bacterial infections that your fish may have had in the past. Internal damage causes the betta’s organs to enlarge and inflate, resulting in bloating. These can happen while moving fish from a fish store to a new house.

Treating and Curing Dropsy in Bettas

Dropsy is extremely difficult to treat and cure in bettas. There’s a good risk your fish may succumb to dropsy.

However, if the sickness is caused by bacteria, you can try to heal your betta by doing regular water changes and applying an antibiotic. Methylene blue can also be used.

4. Malawi Bloat

Malawi bloat is a fairly uncommon condition that can affect your betta. It only affects cichlids, however, once your betta succumbs, it is too late to save it from this lethal sickness. However, your betta’s chances of experiencing this are quite slim.

Symptoms of Malawi Bloat

Malawi bloat causes the fish’s body to inflate, as the name implies. You may also notice your fish abandoning its food. Finally, as you may have seen, it makes it harder for the fish to breathe. You may have seen your fish gasping for oxygen on the tank’s surface.

What Causes Betta to Bloat in Malawi?

This bloating is most common when a parasite or bacteria is present in the tank. Nobody knows which of them causes it, but you may avoid the sickness from spreading by keeping the water clean and feeding your betta good food.

How can you get rid of the Bloat in Malawi?

If you suspect your fish is suffering from Malawi bloat, we regret to inform you that this condition is devastating and your fish may not survive. You can, however, take it to a veterinarian or a specialist to get it examined.

5. Tumors

Bloating in your fish might be the result of a tumor growing inside it in extremely rare cases. It’s quite unusual for a betta to develop a tumor, but if it does, there’s nothing you can do but have it terminated.

Fortunately, tumors are uncommon in betta fish, so don’t be alarmed if you notice a bulge on your fish; it’s most likely due to something else.

6. Producing Eggs

If you have a female betta along with a male, then bloating within your female betta could be because of eggs inside it. On top of this bloating, you will also see white stripes all over her body and a tube attached to it.

What steps to take when you see your Betta Bloated?

When you discover your betta is bloated, you must move quickly and try to correct the situation. Here are some things you should do to figure out what’s wrong:

The first and most important step is to determine the source of your fish’s swelling. If you have constipation, keep it in the main tank.

1. Shift the Fish to a Quarantine Tank

If your fish is in the main tank, relocate it to a quarantine tank to limit the danger of the disease spreading to other fish. It will also make it much easier to treat fish. It will also be calm if your betta is suffering from swim bladder illness.

2. Start the Therapy

Now that the fish has been replaced, it’s time to begin the treatment. Use a treatment that is appropriate for the disease that has been identified. Once your fish has recovered, do not return it to the main tank until it has fully recovered.3. Keep an eye on your fish’s symptoms to determine whether they have improved or if they are growing worse following therapy.

How do I keep my Betta from Bloating?

It is usually preferable to avoid disease rather than treat it in your betta. Therefore, don’t wait for the sickness to go away on its own; take action right now.

1. Make Sure the Water is Clean

To avoid bacterial, parasites, or fungal build-up inside the tank, thoroughly clean your tank and the water. This will aid in the prevention of a variety of ailments.

2. Keep Your Fish Away From Other Aggressive Fish And Things in the Aquarium

It’s preferable to keep them in separate tanks if possible. To avoid any physical injury to the fish, utilize soft silk things in the aquarium.

3. Provide Your Betta with High-Quality, Nutrient-Dense Food

As a result, the fish’s immune system will remain strong, and it will be able to battle sickness on its own.

4. Make Sure You Have a Big Enough Tank

Make sure the tank is large enough for your betta to move about freely. The tank must be at least 10 gallons in capacity.

5. Maintain the Tank’s Temperature at a Steady Level

The optimum temperature for your betta is between 76- and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperatures continue to rise, your fish will become more susceptible to infections and their immune systems will deteriorate.

The Bottom Line on Bloated Betta

Bloating is a prevalent issue among betta fish. Fortunately, the majority of bloat-related sickness is curable. Bloating may be avoided by ensuring that the tank quality is good, feeding your betta the proper high-quality food, and keeping it out of stress.

If you suspect your betta is suffering from something other than constipation, you should transfer it to the hospital tank and treat it there. If your fish hasn’t totally recovered, don’t put it back in the water until it has. If the sickness isn’t treated properly, it can spread. Simply be mindful of your surroundings and extra attentive with your fish.

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