Although betta fish are probably one of the easiest fish breeds to take care of, they are still quite sensitive to common betta fish diseases.
Betta fish can have a long life span, f they are not properly fed and cared for a betta fish will become ill and quite possibly die.
Here is a list of the most common betta fish diseases, the symptoms of these diseases and ways they can be treated properly:
Generally a fungus disease is brought on by the conditions of the betta fish’s water, something as simple as a water whose temperature is too cool can bring about this disease and it can be contagious. The symptoms that accompany a fungal disease are:
- Fluffy white areas around the body including eyes, fins and mouth.
- Clumpy looking fins.
- A pale color.
- Lack of appetite.
To help get rid of this disease you must change the water immediately. There are a few products that are very useful in combating fungal disease such as Fungus Eliminator, Methylene Blue and Malachite Green. To help the betta fish heal faster and avoid spreading the disease it is suggested that sodium chloride or salt be added to their water.
Rotting of the Tail or Fin
Brought on by dirty water this disease can be easily avoided by faithfully changing and cleaning the betta fish tank. Be aware that object such as plants and rocks can damage the betta fish so they may have to be removed. This is not a highly contagious disease and although their tail and fin will never look as glossy and long as they did before they will eventually grow back if treated right away.
You may first begin to notice this disease due to very small holes on the exterior of the fins. They may then begin to seem shorter, worn out and tattered. You may notice some clumping as well as a reddish color along the edges, they will also appear pale. To fix this change the water, increase the temperature and add some salt to the water, you can also get some antibacterial medication to treat the situation.
ICH / ICK (Ichthyophthirius multifiliis)
The protozoan parasite known as the Ichthyophthirius multifiliis can be found in most freshwater fish and aquariums with the exception of those using UV filters. This can generally be transported by new fish, plants or equipment being brought into the tank. If you feed your betta frozen live food this is also a form of transport for ICH. ICH parasites are very sensitive to heat so if you maintain your betta fish’s tank water a nice mid to high temperature (80ºF/27ºC) you probably will not have to deal with ICH. When the temperature is below 80ºF there can easily be an outbreak of ICH which is highly contagious so treatment should be done in the whole tank.
If you notice that your betta has small white spots on their body, head and fins almost as if sugar or salt has been sprinkled on them. As with many other diseases associated with betta fish another symptom for IHC is lethargy, lack of appetite and clumpy fins. It may also seem as if your betta is trying to scratch up against surfaces such as plants and rocks. This is easily treated and if done so promptly your bettas can recover.
Once you notice there seems to be an outbreak the temperature of the water must be adjusted to 85ºF. For every two and a half gallons of water you should add one teaspoon of sodium chloride, this will lower the infection.Medications that contain Methylene Blue or Green Malachite should be given as well. If properly handled it should only take a few days to be contained.
One of the most common diseases for a betta fish is velvet and can also affect other cultured fish. This disease can also be called Rust of Gold Dust Disease due to the look a betta fish that is affected acquires which is as if it has been sprinkled with rust, copper or gold colored powder. If you shine a flashlight on your betta fish you can easily see this, they may seem as if their skin is peeling off, their gills will move rapidly, they will appear lethargic and lose their appetite, they will also try to scratch up against hard objects and surfaces.
Velvet is one of the more common betta fish diseases.
This highly contagious disease is caused by a parasite and treatment of the entire tank is recommended. One way to do so is by draining the tank, washing it with a copper sulfate solution and thoroughly rinsing it. You can also use a product known as BettaZing and when doing so you do not need to empty the tank. This product is great when it comes to treating not only Velvet but other diseases known to bettas. It is also recommended that your tank be kept somewhere dark so the parasite does not receive any light and is easier to terminate.
Thanks to Neil Mullins for the great betta fish images on this page!