Seeing your betta fish lying down or standing at the bottom of the aquarium is certainly a desperate image. Did my betta die? Is he sick? How to help you? Before jumping to conclusions it is important to understand more about this fish behavior.
There are many reasons your betta fish is standing or lying on the bottom of the aquarium. The betta may be suffering from nitrate and nitrite poisoning, he may have some illness, it may just be the fish’s temperament, something may have stressed him out, the temperature and aquarium may be inappropriate, or he may just be sleeping. Some of these causes are completely normal, while others may require a bit of your attention to save your fish.
Why is the betta lying or standing at the bottom of the aquarium?
As already explained, there are numerous reasons why your betta may be standing at the bottom of your aquarium. This does not mean that it is not possible to diagnose the real source of the problem. There are many ways and signs that can point you on the path to remedying this issue. Below we will explain the main reasons for this to happen, so you can identify the most likely cause for your case, and if necessary, help your fish to get out of this situation.
Aquarium in unsuitable conditions for betta
The betta is reputed to be a super tough fish that thrives in any situation. This is not true, despite being a very strong species, the betta needs an optimized environment so that it has quality of life. This means that those tiny aquariums sold in pet stores are extremely harmful to your fish. Therefore, if you keep your betta in these conditions, know that he is not living well, he is just tolerating this environment, but this ends up affecting your animal’s well-being, health and longevity.
One of the main manifestations that your betta is suffering from this inadequate space dedicated to him, is precisely lying at the bottom of the aquarium, becoming very inactive and depressed.
So forget about this idea that the betta lives without oxygen, or that it can be raised in small-sized aquariums. Just like any other fish, he has some basic needs. The main ones are:
- aquarium of suitable size based on betta size – A small aquarium stresses and affects your fish in many ways.
- proper filtering for the amount of liters in the aquarium – It is a lie that the betta does not need a filter, as this equipment guarantees the quality of the water.
- Heater with thermostat to control the temperature -In cold places, the betta can suffer a lot from low temperatures. In addition to large and sudden changes in the parameter.
- Keeping the betta alone or with species suitable mates. – Although it is possible to keep the betta with other fish, it can become stressed and aggressive with certain species.
Very low temperatures affect your betta
One of the most famous myths about the betta is that it doesn’t need a heater in the aquarium. This is also not true, as the betta originally comes from a warm region of Asia, where the temperature rarely drops below 22º C. Therefore, it is important to keep a betta tank within the range of 22 and 30 degrees Celsius. Preferably away from the edges (ie ideally between 24 and 28 degrees).
The thermostated heater also has another important function. As well as not letting the aquarium cool down too much, it also avoids large temperature variations. Sudden changes in this parameter stress the fish and, therefore, can affect its immunityleaving you more susceptible to disease, which can cause your betta fish to lie still at the bottom of the aquarium.
In addition, colder temperatures also slow down the fish’s metabolism, affecting the betta’s appetite and energy, as a result, it becomes more inactive.
Read More – Cloudy Aquarium Water. What To Do?
Too much ammonia, nitrate and nitrite could be affecting your betta
Despite being very strong, the betta, like any other fish, is very sensitive to water with harmful substances such as ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Ammonia arises due to organic substances that decompose inside the aquarium, such as fish feces, food remains, dead fish that are not removed, etc. Nitrite and nitrate, are the result of the beneficial bacteria that exist in the aquarium, they transform ammonia, which is highly toxic, into nitrite and nitrate, which are less harmful substances.
However, over time, these substances build up and take a toll on your betta’s health, causing him to lie on the bottom of the aquarium and become more lethargic. Another important point is that as many betta aquariums do not have a filter (which is where beneficial bacteria are more easily lodged), ammonia does not turn into nitrite at the necessary speed, leaving the aquarium with high levels of this substance, which can lead your animal to death quickly.
To avoid and solve this problem, you must have a suitable filter for the aquarium and, in addition, perform partial water changes frequently. In this way, you will eliminate the nitrates that accumulate in the water, preventing your fish from getting sick and lying on the bottom.
Little dissolved oxygen in the water
In fact, it is true that betta fish can breathe directly from the air, however this is not ideal behavior. In fact, the betta can breathe both oxygen dissolved in water and atmospheric air. In order for him to be living in optimal conditions, he must have access to both types of breathing.
To achieve this, it is enough to have a filter connected to the aquarium, the agitation generated by this will be enough to allow gas exchanges that will increase the amount of oxygen in the water.
Stress is a big problem for betta fish
In addition to poor aquarium and water conditions, other factors can also stress betta fish. A stressed fish is a sick fish, this is no different in the case of the betta. Therefore, it is necessary to prevent him from being affected by these stressors. Some of the most frequent are:
- Presence of other bettas in the same aquarium – The male betta always rejects any other betta in his aquarium. Females, on the other hand, can live with other females, in most cases.
- Incompatible fish as aquarium mates – There are some species that can live with bettas, as long as the aquarium is suitable for all the species it contains.
- Too much noise near the aquarium – Very loud noise, such as loud music, musical instruments at exaggerated volumes and, of course, knocking on the aquarium glass, profoundly affect your betta’s well-being. You should as much as possible avoid circumstances like these from happening near your tank.
- Fast and intense changes of parameters such as temperature and PH – Like all fish, bettas suffer a lot from these sudden changes, intensely affecting their health. Therefore, avoid large variations in the pH, temperature and chemistry of the aquarium by all means.
- Lack of hiding places in the aquarium – It is ideal to have some more reserved places in the aquarium, less exposed, so that your betta can hide and recover if he is stressed or scared.
It is important to solve these problems, which usually have simple and quick solutions. That way, you’ll have a less stressed, healthier betta that won’t get discouraged at the bottom of the tank.
Illnesses can also cause the betta to sink to the bottom of the aquarium.
Illnesses and other health problems are some of the main causes for the betta to lay on the bottom of the aquarium. There are many problems that can afflict betta fish. Like for example, swim bladder problems, lack of appetiteconstipation, swollen eyes, frayed tails and even fungi.
Always watch your fish carefully and look for signs of changes in behavior and appearance, this way you may notice signs of illness early on. If you notice anything strange, seek help soon. On our website, we have dozens of articles that talk about the most common betta diseases.
Is your betta just sleeping?
If the behavior of the betta lying on the bottom of the aquarium is recent, do not be alarmed immediately, as it is very common for the fish to do this when sleeping. Wait and see if, the next morning, he comes out and swims through the aquarium with his normal behavior. If he usually lies on the bottom of the tank during the off-light period, but normally swims during the day, clearly he is just sleeping.
The betta is a fish of shallow and calm waters, it can even live in puddles of water in periods of drought in its original habitat. Therefore, it is not recommended to place it in very rough waters. That is, you need to control the flow of filters and pumps that you may have installed in your aquarium.
A betta fish that is forced to stay in high agitation aquariums in the water will not show its natural behavior. Thus, he will tire easily, becoming much less active and more likely to be hidden or lying at the bottom of the aquarium.
To avoid this, there are some activities that can help. Most modern filters have a flow control, which can make water movement more adequate. If this is not possible, directing the filter head towards a large piece of decoration or any other screen may limit the flow to only a small area of the aquarium. Another possibility is to add lots of hiding places in the aquarium, so the betta can hide when he feels tired or stressed by the movement of the water.
Your betta may be more still due to age
A betta in the aquarium bottom is not necessarily something problematic, but it is necessary to analyze other factors such as appetite, appearance, natural behavior, if any of these factors are altered, it is worth investigating the causes raised above to understand how to recover your fish.
In any case, it’s always good to check that your fish isn’t just sleeping, and also that its calmer behavior isn’t something that started gradually due to the fish being older.
So don’t be unnecessarily alarmed.
The vast majority of times I have observed a betta lying at the bottom of the aquarium, he was just resting or sleeping. Furthermore, even when the triggering factor for the behavior was stress, it quickly recovered on its own after a day or two. In this way, avoid despair and try to take care of the water and conditions of your aquarium. By doing this, whether your betta is sick or not, he will benefit from the changes.
If the behavior persists, further check each of the causes listed here. Take the necessary actions to eliminate the source of the problem. Overall, the betta’s chance of recovery is very high, just have discipline and consistency, keeping the aquarium and your betta well cared for.