Betta Fish Diseases and Their Cures

Having a pet Betta could bring happiness and entertainment to its owner. But sometimes we tend to neglect our pet fish and forget simple duties like cleaning their bowl or tank. Betta fish diseases are easily avoided simply by proper maintenance of the fish tank. When we provide it with the conditions closest to the conditions found in their natural environment, our Bettas tend to stay disease-free. If you think that your Betta is already sick, here are some examples of Betta fish diseases and their corresponding cures.

Ich (Ichthyophthirius multifilius)

Ich, which usually manifests as small white dots around the mouth or the fins of a Betta, is a protozoan parasite. A Betta usually contracts this parasite when the temperature in the tank drops below 80 degrees for extended periods of time. To prevent ich from affecting your fish, you can raise the temperature of the water above 80 degrees Fahrenheit and add 3 teaspoons of salt per gallon of water in your tank. If your Betta already has ich, medicines with methylene blue or malachite green can help eliminate the parasite.

Fin Rot

This usually happens when there are more than one Betta in your tank. The weaker Betta gets attacked by the the larger ones and the injuries from the bites in the fin could get infected leading to fin rot. Segregation is the only way to prevent your Bettas from fighting, but adding a little salt and raising the temperature a little could lessen the chance of the injury getting infected. The use of antibiotics and anti-microbials is the recommended cure for fin rot. An example of this is Maracyn-2, a wide spectrum antibiotic tablet that is used to cure multiple Betta fish diseases like fin rot, dropsy, and septicemia.

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Oodinium or Velvet

Manifesting as a velvety covering on the body of your fish, this algae parasite can be found in a wide variety of fresh water fish. This parasite often affects fish that are stressed out by bad water conditions, shipping or cold water. This could be prevented by properly caring for your Betta and its tank. Medicines like Jungle’s Velvet Guard and acriflavine could help remove this parasite from your Betta’s system.

Prevention of Betta fish diseases

As you may have noticed, most Betta fish diseases stem from neglect or improper care by the owner. Dirty water or water that’s too cold could become a very hospitable place for parasites which would then try to feed on your Betta. Different medicines will likely cure the diseases of your Betta, but you will never know if those chemicals won’t have a negative effect on your pet fish.

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Even if you don’t notice any negative effects of those chemicals right away, they could appear later.

It is always better to keep your Betta healthy and parasite-free than to worry later on about the right medication to cure your ailing fish. You must also remember that parasites are often very contagious and you might have a mini epidemic in your community tank that could wipe out all your pet fish. If you can spare the time, I highly recommend that you monitor the quality of the water in your tanks and make sure that it is not too cold so that your fish can live stress-free and stay healthy.

Betta fish diseases can be fought off by healthy Bettas. So, one of the ways to prevent those diseases is to keep your Betta fish in a stress-free environment. Proper care, proper diet, the right set-up, including the adequate aquarium size, all contribute to a less stressed out existence for your Betta fish and that will always mean less Betta fish diseases for you to deal with.

Copyright 2009 by


by Mischa Hill

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