Betta Fish illness Diagnosis, Treatment & Prevention

Here are the most common 14 illnesses/diseases for Betta fish and how to properly do diagnosis so you can prevent and use the right treatment for your Betta quickly.

There are quite a few different afflictions which your Betta fish may suffer from, some of which are worse than others. Let’s go over betta fish illness diagnosis with the most common diseases that your Betta fish may suffer from, how to spot them, how to prevent them, and of course how to treat them too.

Betta Fish Illnesses Diagnosis, Prevention & Treatment: 14 Common Diseases

Here are what we feel are the most 14 common Betta fish illnesses to help you diagnose and treat them asap.

1. Fin Rot

Fin rot is characterized by a fairly rapid degradation of the fin membranes. When a Betta fish you will notice that the edges of the fins will begin to be raggedy, discolored, and slowly disintegrate. When left untreated, fin rot can migrate across the whole fish, and is then usually referred to as body rot. This can definitely be fatal for your Betta fish in just a matter of weeks (Bettafix is a great treatment solution to keep in mind too, we have reviewed it here).

Fin rot is caused by bacteria or fungi in the water, bacteria which is usually present in virtually every fish tank. The real cause of it is when your Betta fish is injured or has broken skin, the bacteria will infect your Betta fish and cause fin rot. The best way to prevent fin rot is by making sure that your water is as clean as it can be at all times, by making sure that there are no fin nipping fish present, and by getting rid of sharp objects.

There are various stages of fin rot all the way from slightly afflicted fin edges all the way to a whole rotting body. This is an illness that you need to stop in its tracks immediately. This will usually always require some kind of special antibiotic treatment.

This post covers Fin Rot in a lot more detail.

2. Constipation

Constipation, while it may not sound all that bad, it can actually be fatal for a Betta fish in a mere matter of days. You can tell if your Betta fish is suffering from constipation because it will have a really swollen abdomen, it won’t want to eat as much, and it will be lethargic. Constipation can be caused by an inadequate food supply, or in other words, not feeding you Betta fish the right food. It can also be caused by overfeeding your Betta fish.

The best way to treat constipation is by not feeding your Betta fish for a few days, then once you begin feeding again, only feed them live foods. Also, constipation, since it may be a sign of overfeeding, can also be cured by simply not feeding your Betta fish as much on a regular basis.

3. Hemorrhagic

While the symptoms of hemorrhagic may look bad, it is easily treated so worry not. This disease is characterized by bleeding in the eyes and mouth of your Betta fish, which of course looks really bad.

The easiest way to prevent this disease from occurring is by treating the water with an agent that kills Yersinia Ruckeri, the bacteria responsible for hemorrhagic. If your Betta fish already suffers from it, a good antibiotic such as ampicillin is a good solution. When caught in time and treated appropriately, this disease has a very low fatality rate.

4. Columnaris

This is a bacterial infection which can cause your Betta fish’s fins and tail to rot and deteriorate. Many people may mistake columnaris for fin rot, but the difference is that columnaris will also cause skin ulcers and the discoloration of gills. This is a disease that can be fatal in as little as 72 hours, mainly because it can result in sever breathing problems.

This disease is caused by open wounds which have been infected with harmful fungi or bacteria. Some ways to prevent columnaris include supplying your Betta fish with an adequate amount of oxygen, keeping the water hardness at a right level, keeping the filter working properly, and by not having an overcrowded aquarium.

If you notice the telltale signs of columnaris, you need to act right away. A good antibiotic containing Sulfa 4 TMP, TMP Sulfa, and triple sulfa will usually do the trick and you can use those to treat open wounds and get rid of the potentially fatal bacteria.

5. Eye Cloud

Eye cloud can also be known as cloudy cornea and is characterized by a white film covering the eyes. This can impair and even cause blindness if left untreated. The cause of this is usually bacteria, but can also be due to poor water quality and very hard water.

A good way to prevent eye cloud in your Betta fish is by ensuring that your water is very clean, to condition the water to make it a little softer, and to get rid of harmful bacteria. If your Betta fish suffers from eye cloud it can be easily treated with some antibiotics.

6. Anchor Worms

This is a parasite which can infect your fish, especially when it has open sores, and it leads to red and swollen fins. You will also be able to see these little worms protruding out of their skin.

These parasites can be in the water or on objects you put in the fish tank. These little parasites can indeed kill your Betta fish, but with early treatment it can be treated with some simple antibiotics.

7. Dropsy

This is one of the more fatal conditions that your Betta fish can suffer from. While there are a few things that can help with this affliction, there are no proven treatments for it. The result is that the vast majority of Betta fish which suffer from dropsy do indeed die in a fairly short matter of time.

Dropsy is characterized by sunken eyes, raised scales, and sever bloating and swelling of the abdomen, which is caused by a buildup of internal fluids. This is a bacterial infection and it can be easily prevented by keeping the water as clean as possible and by making sure that your Betta fish gets enough vitamins.

8. Ich

Ich is sometimes referred to as Ick or white spot. It is characterized by white spots on the skin of your Betta fish and is caused by a parasite. This disease is not fatal in the majority of cases and can also be easily treated with an anti-parasitic medication.

Like with most of the other diseases a Betta fish can suffer from, Ich is best prevented by regularly changing the water, keeping water conditions pristine, and making sure that you have a good filter.

9. Furunculosis

Yet another bacterial infection, furunculosis can cause skin ulcers and open red sores. This disease can also be fatal if left untreated. Once again, the best way to prevent this disease is by improving water quality. Although this disease can be fatal, it can be easily treated with some antibiotics.

10. Pop Eye

Pop eye, just as the name suggests, is characterized by an extreme bulging of one or both eyes. This may be caused by a tumor or abscess, in which case there is no real treatment for it. However, the majority of cases are caused by infection.

Now, pop eye is usually not a disease in itself, but a symptom of another disease. The easiest way to prevent pop eye is by ensuring optimal water quality and cleanliness. Most diseases why may cause pop eye can usually be treated with antibiotics, thus making the survival rate fairly high.

11. Hole In The Head

This is another parasitic infection which is characterized by a small hole the size of a pinhead, usually on the forehead of your Betta fish. The parasite that causes hole in the head loves carbon, so a good way to prevent it is by making sure that the water in your Betta fish tank does not have elevated carbon levels.

Hole in the head can be fatal, and in fact, if left untreated it will definitely kill your Betta fish, but it can be easily treated with anti-parasitic antibiotic.

12. Velvet

This is another highly fatal disease that if left untreated will undoubtedly result in a dead Betta fish. This is actually a parasitic infection. The telltale signs of velvet are rusty skin and hard skin.

There are certain treatments such as a Betafix remedy which can treat velvet, but it needs to be done as soon as possible because velvet is proven to be fatal in a matter of days. Simply improving water quality (to remove parasites) and ensuring that conditions are free of stress will help prevent velvet.

13. Mouth Fungus

Mouth fungus is a bacterial disease and is characterized by white lines and clump-like blisters around the mouth. If this illness is not recognized and treated early enough it can definitely be fatal for your Betta fish.

The best and really the only way to avoid this from occurring is by ensuring that your water is clean free of harmful bacteria. Even though this illness can be fatal, luckily it can be treated with some simple antibiotics such as amoxicillin.

14. Fish Fungus

This is actually a secondary infection which can be caused by open sores or previous skin related afflictions. It is characterized by a white cotton like fungal growth on the skin. Fish fungus can quickly become fatal if not properly treated.

Like with most other things, this disease can be prevented through keeping the water clean and by preventing other infections and injuries. Once a Betta fish suffers from fish fungus you will need to use specific antibiotics such as Methylene Blue or Fungus Clear to treat it.

You might also like this post that covers all the different Betta types, colors and pattern variations.

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