Betta fish have been around for a long time, and new hobbyists are discovering them all the time. Since they have a multitude of personalities and variants, they are a popular choice for pets. When a pet looks to be dying, it may be distressing for the owner. Why do they often look like dead betta fish? We’ll discuss this in detail in this article along with tips and solutions.

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7 Reasons Why Your Betta Looks Like Dead Betta Fish

1. Resting or Sleeping

Betta fish have an interesting quirk: they actively sleep! We’ve maintained dozens, if not hundreds, of fish over the previous three decades, but none have ever taken a nap like a Betta.

If you see a Betta fish resting on its side, don’t be surprised. We’ve had Bettas who like to rest behind the heater, on rocks, and even in the middle of clumps of vegetation. Depending on the particular Betta, they all seem to have a preference for a distinct resting spot. For them to sleep on, Betta Hammocks are also available for purchase!

Resting Betta fish are naturally quite calm and might seem to have died when they do. However, since a dead Betta fish does not exhale, its gills can always serve as a reliable indicator of its status as a living organism (the slits behind his eyes). It’s not dead if they’re moving.

2. Water temperature is either too high or too low​

Because they are tropical fish, Bettas need an aquarium heater to keep their water at a steady temperature, regardless of what you’ve read or heard.

Bettas housed in unheated tanks, particularly those that are little, may experience temperature swings that are uncontrollable. Daytime temperatures may be OK, but overnight temperatures are likely to plummet quickly if you reside in a warm area.

Bettas may get stressed if their water temperature is too high or low, and this can kill them.

Add a water heater in your aquarium and set it to 76°F right away if Betta seems like he’s dying due to the cold.

3. Exhaustion​

Betta fish have been selectively developed for their long, flowing fins over many generations. Bettas have trouble swimming with these fins, despite how cool they are.

It may be tough for our Bettas to swim if we maintain them in tanks with strong filtration. Bettas may grow fatigued if they are constantly fighting against the flow in their tank.

When Betta fish is completely exhausted, he may just lie on the aquarium’s bottom and seem to be dead.

There are places in the tank where the flow of water is low enough for Bettas to swim without exerting themselves too much.

For this reason, We like to use air-powered sponge filters to clean our Betta tanks. Sponge filters are excellent at removing impurities from the water, yet they don’t disturb the betta in any way.

4. Ammonia Poisoning​

So many people assume that Bettas don’t require a filter in their aquariums when it comes to filtration. It’s not true that Betta aquariums don’t require filters.

When our Bettas defecate, their feces has a high concentration of ammonia, which is harmful to fish. Even tiny quantities of ammonia may be fatal to a Betta.

The ammonia levels will physically poison your Betta, causing him to burn his gills to the point where he can no longer breathe. Your Betta may look like a dead Betta fish at any time because of this.

Consider replacing up to 75% of the Betta’s tank water with dechlorinated tap water to solve the issue right away. Add a high-quality, yet low-powered filter to your Betta’s tank.

When the bacteria in a filter is established, your Betta will live in a much cleaner water that is safer for them.

5. Pests or Diseases​

Though typically considered resilient, Bettas are susceptible to parasites and illnesses at times. There are a number of parasites and illnesses that rob the Betta fish of its vitality, leaving it motionless on the tank floor.

Identifying the issue is the first step in dealing with a Betta’s pest or sickness. There are some that are more difficult than others. A Betta with white patches on its fins or body is clearly an Ich. Internal parasites like tapeworms may cause white, stringy feces; ripped and ragged fins might indicate a bacterial infection.

Take some nice images of your Betta and present them to the staff if you have a dependable local fish shop. They should be able to tell you what’s wrong and give you some advice on it.

6. Old Age​

Bettas are adored by many of us, and we tend to over-treat them. If they become sick, we treat them with treatments like bloodworms, bug bites, and daphnia and make sure they have the best possible water conditions.

Due to their confinement, Bettas may live longer than their wild counterparts. Bettas have not evolved to have lengthy lives; rather, they have evolved to live quickly, reproduce often, and also die young, maybe all in the course of a single season.

Keep feeding it high-quality meals, keep the water clean, and enjoy them for as long as you can.

7. The tank is quite small​

There is a problem with the tank. Betta fish, who are known for their sensitivity, are commonly housed in tiny tanks, and this may have an effect on them.

Since a vase-sized aquarium is insufficient for betta fish, this is a common recommendation. If housed in a cramped space, a Betta may exhibit signs of depression and anxiety. Both may leave Betta on the bottom of the tank appearing like a dead Betta fish.

It’s not difficult to figure out what’s going on here. The Betta should be moved to a bigger tank. In my opinion, the best tank size is at least 5 gal (19 liters), however a 20 gallon tank is ideal.

In my experience, keeping Bettas in smaller containers (less than 2.5 gallons, or 10 liters) is more difficult. In order to keep your Bettas happy, you’ll need a considerable volume of water.

Useful Tips for Keeping Betta Fish

Betta Fish Aquarium Setup and Size


A minimum of 5 gal of water should be in your betta’s tank. Bettas are able to thrive in smaller tanks, but that doesn’t imply they’re enjoyable. Think about living your whole life in a place the size of a bathtub. It is very uncommon for Bettas to live for just a few months or years if they are kept in a tank that is too tiny for them to move about freely.


In the wild, there are many places to hide and relax for wild bettas. Plants (actual or artificial), logs and caverns may be used as decorations to mimic the look of these areas. However, you must be quite selective about what you put in your betta’s aquarium. Here’s what not to do:.

  • Your fish’s fins may be damaged by sharp decors.
  • Metal items that would rust.
  • Ornaments that have been decorated with paint (the coating will soon degrade and flake off in the aquarium water)
  • The pH of your aquarium or tank water might be affected by the addition of seashells, dried coral, or beach sand.

Betta Fish Water Quality

As far as temperature, pH, and other aspects of water quality go, Bettas have their own set of requirements. Make sure they’re getting the right kind of water by following these tips.

Water Temperature

Bettas like water temperatures between 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but prefer the higher end of that range. To maintain a constant temperature, you’ll need a heater, and you’ll want one with enough wattage to heat the whole tank. You’ll need a 20-watt heater for a 5-gallon tank since the typical guideline is 1 watt for every 1 liter (3.8L for every gallon). The Tetra HT10 Submersible Aquarium Heater & Electronic Thermostat, rated at 50 watts, is an excellent alternative for aquariums up to 10 gallons since it automatically keeps water temperature at 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

Water Quality

Testing the water in your Betta’s tank on a weekly basis is the best way to ensure that it has the proper balance of chemicals, ions, and pH. Test strips like API’s 5-in-1 Test Strips make it simple to determine the pH of the water. To better understand fish and aquarium health, familiarize yourself with water quality parameters. It is imperative that parents of betta fish monitor their aquarium’s pH, nitrite, and nitrate levels.

Cycling Your Water

Once you’ve picked out a tank, added filtered tap water, installed the heater, and finished setting up the decor, you’re not ready to go! Don’t put your betta in the water just yet. First and foremost, make sure your aquarium is running for a full week without any fish present. Cycling is the process of waiting, and it’s one of the most frustrating aspects since you can’t wait to get your Betta into his new home! Even so, it’s worth the wait to safeguard the health of the fish.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is betta fish able to see in the dark?

In the dark, Bettas are unable to see very well. The ability to discern depth and distance is poor even in daylight, but they excel at identifying colors. Monocular vision implies that each eye can only see one item at a time for these creatures.

Do betta fish eat tropical flakes?

They can, although they don’t seem to like eating tropical flakes. Bettas aren’t known to go for surface flakes since they appear like garbage to them. In terms of dry food, pellets are much superior.

Is it fine for Betta Fish to live in tap water?

Although bettas may survive in tap water, it must first be treated. Chloramines and Chlorine, as well as heavy metals like copper, lead, and zinc, are common contaminants in tap water that may be harmful to tropical fish. Remove chlorine and chloramines and detoxify these heavy metals using a water conditioner so the water is safe for your Betta fish.

Do betta fish really need heaters?

Your betta will require a heater unless your room is always 80 degrees Fahrenheit. A temperature range of 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for this kind of tropical fish from Southeast Asia.


Several factors contribute to a Betta fish seeming dead at the bottom of the aquarium. Maybe he’s taking a nap or he’s just feeling under the weather. To know whether your Betta is doing well or if it is dying, you need to keep in mind the suggestions and tips we have discussed above you. Observing your Betta may help you determine if there is an issue and how to fix it.

We hope you have got answers to all your queries you came here for and all noted down some of our tips to keep your Bettas happy and healthy. If you have any further query about Bettas, you can let us know in the comments section below and we would be happy to answer it.