Swim Bladder Disease In Betta: Symptoms, Causes, Prevention & Treatment

Is your betta acting strange lately? Is he not eating properly? Or has recently had difficulties when swimming? If this is the case, it might be an indication of swim bladder illness developing within your betta. This is fairly frequent among the betta community, so there is no need to be concerned; simply continue reading to learn everything you need to know about the sickness.

The swim bladder is an organ in Betta fish that allows it to float comfortably in the water. Swim bladder disease is not really a disease, it is actually a term used to explain an illness, situation, or damage that causes the swim bladder to stop working properly.

What Is A Swim Bladder Disease

It is extremely unusual for swim bladder illness to be deadly because it may be cured in a matter of days if the proper therapy is administered at the correct time.

We have covered every aspect of the condition, including its causes, remedies, and therapy, on this page. So read on to have a thorough understanding of the condition.

What exactly is a Swim Bladder?

Your betta’s swim bladder is an internal organ that helps it to manage its buoyancy. It allows the betta to conserve energy and swim more effortlessly rather than continue paddling to stay in one location. Because the swim bladder is placed behind the other organs, it may be harmed if something occurs to them.

What is a Swim Bladder Disease?

To be clear, swim bladder disease is not a sickness; rather, it is a word that is used to describe an affliction, condition, or scenario that causes damage to your betta’s swim bladder disease and prevents it from functioning correctly. So you’re treating a symptom of another disease when you say you’re treating swim bladder disease.

What are the causes of Betta Swim Bladder Disease?

There can be and are several causes of swim bladder problems in your betta. You must be cautious when diagnosing your betta for swim bladder illness since things are not always as they appear and you may wind up exacerbating the condition.

1. Constipation/Overfeeding

Overfeeding is the most common cause of swim bladder illness in bettas. Bettas have a strong appetite and will eat even when they are not hungry. They never stop eating, which makes them constipated, and it also causes fatty deposits to form in their bodies, which damages their swim bladder.


Additionally, bettas may swallow a lot of air when eating from the surface, which might impair their swim bladder.

Finally, the most common cause of constipation in bettas is when they are given low-quality betta pallets, which damages their swim bladder and makes them ill.

2. Shock

Although this is a less prevalent cause of swimbladder, it nonetheless exists. If your betta has been under shock as a result of some activity in the tank, such as a water change or bad water conditions, this might cause your betta to cease feeding and other behaviors. As a result, your betta develops a swim bladder problem.

3. Parasitic Infection

If you are certain that your betta has not had a chock or is not constipated, a parasite infection in your betta might have caused it. Although this is an extreme example of swim bladder parasites infiltrating the betta fish and making it difficult for it to swim as they penetrate the intestines and cause internal harm.

4. Infection Caused By Bacteria

Swim bladder illness can be caused by a bacterial infection, exactly like a parasitic infestation. It’s possible that this is due to poor water quality. If your betta has a bacterial illness, swim bladder infection might be one of the symptoms, among many others. If the bacterial illness has progressed to the point that the swim bladder is impacted, euthanasia may be required. It is usually done in situations of dropsy since it diminishes your betta’s chances of surviving. However, these are all severe situations that can be avoided if therapy is started at the appropriate time.

5. Reduce The Tank’s Water Temperature

If your tank temperature is below 78 degrees F, this might be the cause of swim bladder illness. When the tank temperature is below the appropriate range, your betta’s digestive system slows down, making it more probable for him to become constipated, as well as for other organs to swell.

6. Additional Factors

In some cases, cysts or abnormal eggs in your female betta may cause the swim bladder to malfunction. In such a situation, though, there is nothing to do but wait and watch what occurs.

Signs and Symptoms of Betta Fish Swim Bladder Disease

Swim bladder illness manifests itself in a variety of ways. However, not all of these symptoms must show in your betta if it is suffering from swim bladder illness.

So, before we begin, there are a few things I want to make clear. First, the symptoms will not be listed directly; instead, they will be separated into two groups to make them simpler to grasp.

1. Overeating, Absorbing Too Much Air, And Constipation Symptoms

If the causes of swim bladder dysfunction in your betta are the ones listed above, then these are the symptoms.

As a result, the first and most prevalent sign of swim bladder illness in betta is difficulty swimming and sustaining buoyancy. You won’t be able to move properly and will likely float on top of the water. Because it is so prevalent and visible, this symptom is easy to see.

We cannot state that seeing your betta swimming asymmetrically or on its side is an undetectable indicator of swim bladder infection, in addition to floating on the surface or sinking to the bottom of the tank.


This is a common symptom: no matter how hard your betta swims in a certain location, it will sink or float up as it strives to maintain a regular posture.

A bent spine or enlarged belly is a more severe indication of the swim bladder. This is caused by constipation. However, if you detect this coupled with pine cone scales on your betta, it might be a clue that it has dropsy, a deadly condition for which there is no cure.

Your betta may lose its appetite if it has swim bladder illness, which might be due to its being trapped at the bottom or top of the tank. This is a pretty obvious ruse since betta fish are gutty, and when they aren’t feeding, it’s obvious that something is amiss.

Finally, we have lethargy, which occurs when your betta is overfed, but be careful that it might also occur as a result of an infection.

2. Parasitic and Bacterial Infections Cause Symptoms

As well as the other symptoms mentioned above If your betta has a bacterial or parasite infection, you may observe the following symptoms:

You may notice that your betta has clamped fins because it holds its fins close to its body when it is not feeling well. As a result, if you detect this, addressing it for constipation or overfeeding will be ineffective or have no effect.

Second, if your betta is trembling, it is a definite indication that it has been affected by an illness and has not been overfed. If you don’t observe any of these symptoms, it’s possible that something else has impacted your betta.

Swim Bladder Disease Treatment

It is critical to confirm the ailment before beginning therapy, since you may be treating your betta for something it does not have. and it’s possible that this will make things worse. To be sure you have the sickness, read the preceding material and examine your fish correctly, then take the actions below.

So, before we proceed with the treatment, there is something very crucial that you should be aware of: before treating your betta for any sickness, you need to keep a separate quarantine tank in which you may treat your fish.

1. Overfeeding Your Betta Can Cause Swim Bladder Illness

So, if your betta has swim bladder disease, you’re in luck since it may be cured swiftly if you start therapy soon away and provide the proper medication.

If you have additional fish in the main tank, the first thing you should do is relocate your betta to a quarantine tank. Then you will go three days without feeding your betta. The three-day fasting approach is another name for this procedure. Also, don’t worry about your betta becoming hungry; in the wild, bettas may survive days without food.

Then, after everything is in order, raise the tank temperature to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This is due to the fact that the higher temperature aids your betta’s digestion.

What Is A Swim Bladder Disease

And after the three-day fasting is through, check to see whether your betta has improved from before; although this approach is sufficient for therapy, if you do not detect any improvements, there is no need to be concerned.

If your betta still has swim bladder illness after three days, give it daphnia, which is high in fiber and can help improve the betta’s immune system as well as assist it to eliminate waste from its body. If your betta is having trouble pursuing the daphnia, consider freezing it and then feeding it to the betta. However, thaw it beforehand before feeding it.

Even after that, if you don’t observe any change, your betta may be suffering from anything more serious than constipation.

2. Removing Parasites And Bacterial Illness From Your Betta

The procedure for treating parasitic or bacterial infections is the same as previously; however, you will not starve your betta; rather, you will require medicine to treat your betta.

First and foremost, relocate your betta to a quarantine tank where you can properly care for it, especially while administering medicine. The aquarium will then be dosed with medication. If you suspect a bacterial illness, use Melafix; if you suspect a parasite infection, use Betamax. However, the odds of parasite infection are really low, therefore you should start with melafix.

Before using it, make sure to read the instructions on the label. use the proper dose. Swim bladder illness in your betta can be caused by a parasite or bacterial infection. If you believe this is the case, your betta’s future may be poor.

3. Reduces The Chances Of Shock

If you believe that your betta’s swim bladder condition is caused by shock, there isn’t much you can do. Shock happens when your betta collides with itself, gets hurt, or when the water temperature in the tank drops. You may assist your betta by keeping the proper temperature and reducing the light so that it can relax and recuperate quickly.

Swim Bladder Disease and Epsom Salt

Epsom salt is the best approach to cure swim bladder illness in your betta if you have it on hand. This is also a highly successful approach to treating your betta, and you may do it this way.

To each half-gallon of conditioned tap water, add one spoonful of Epsom salt and stir well. After that, fill the container with half a gallon of aquarium water. Then, replace the aquarium water that has been removed with conditioned tap water and keep it at the same temperature as the tank. Leave your betta in the salted water tub for 10 to 15 minutes, then add the fish back if constipation hasn’t cleared up.

Keep a close check on your betta after the salt bath and examine it to see whether it is swimming better or has excreted. However, if you see your betta not moving or remaining upright in the saltwater, remove it immediately and return it to the main tank.

Swim Bladder Disease Prevention

The most important thing to be aware of is illness prevention. You should establish a lifestyle in which you apply all illness-preventive strategies. The swim bladder is relatively simple to avoid, and you may do it by following the steps below.

1. Purchase High-Quality Betta Pallets

This is very important that you feed your betta high-end quality food from renowned brands. As the poor quality food has air in it that can cause constipation in your betta and thus affect its swim bladder.

2. Make Sure You’re Not Overfeeding Your Betta By Soaking The Food In Water

Soak your betta’s food before feeding it because when you put dry food directly into the tank, it floats to the top, allowing your betta to take in more air.

3. Ensure That The Water Is Of Acceptable Quality

This is also important as if the water quality is not maintained well then this causes stress in your betta and it may further deteriorate its position. So make sure that the water is clean, perform a frequent water change every week, and add a bubbler in the tank as well.

4. Maintain The Water Temperature

The best temperature that you can keep your betta in is between 76 degrees to 78 degrees F.  No more than that nor less. Maintaining a good water temperature calms your betta and keeps it out of stress.

5. Separate The Fighting Fish

If there are any fishes in the tank that tend to fight a lot then it is best that you separate them if they come in contact with each other they may keep on fighting with each other and hurting themselves.

6. Remove Any Ornaments From The Tank That Might Harm Your Betta

If you have any decoration ornament or plant that could hurt the fish then it is best that you remove it. It will protect them from hurting themselves and also will lead to fewer diseases and infections spreading.

Is it possible to die of Swim Bladder Disease?

The disease’s mortality is entirely dependent on where it originated. If the swim bladder condition is caused by constipation or bloating, your betta will heal quickly; but, if the sickness is caused by something far more serious, such as dropsy, your betta will not survive. The major cause of swim bladder illness is when your fish has injuries such as open wounds or scars, which attract bacteria and germs, causing the fish to get ill.

Is it communicable to have Swim Bladder Disease? Is the Disease Contagious?

This, too, is dependent on the nature of the disease’s occurrence. If the condition is caused by constipation, it is not communicable and can be cured simply, but if it is caused by overfeeding, there is a potential that other fish in the tank may contract it as well because they are all housed together.

If the condition is caused by a parasitic or bacterial infection, however, it is likely to be very infectious since parasites and bacteria live in water and may readily be transmitted to other fish in the tank. However, if your betta has a robust immune system, a bacterial attack is unlikely.

The Bottom Line on Swim Bladder Disease In Betta

In conclusion, I would want to emphasize that instead of focusing on illness treatment, put disease prevention at the forefront of your mind. Only in this manner will you be able to escape the infections. However, if your betta is diagnosed with a swim bladder condition, be sure to give it the proper therapy at the right time and always check your fish before a diagnosis, and if there is something you don’t understand, see your doctor for the best advice. I hope this instruction was helpful and that you now know what to do.

Similar Posts