17 Betta Fish Diseases With Pictures: And How To Cure Them

Last Updated on 2023-08-26

There are so many diseases and illnesses that your betta fish may end up suffering from. And while there’s a good chance that they’ll be fine for the majority of their life, it’s always good to be prepared.

So if you’re wondering what different problems can spring up for your betta, or perhaps, they’ve already got something wrong with them, then you’ve found the right article.

In this article, you’ll find out about all the most common and uncommon diseases and illnesses your betta can suffer from, as well as what to do about them.

Table of Contents

Short On Time, Here’s A List Of The Most Common Betta Disease:

If you’re short on time, then don’t worry!

Here are the most common diseases and illnesses in bettas!

  • Swim Bladder Disease
  • Fin Rot
  • Constipation
  • Dropsy
  • Velvet
  • Ich
  • Popeye
  • Cloudy Eye
  • Columnaris (Cotton Wool Disease)
  • Tuberculosis
  • Hole In The Head
  • Gill Flukes
  • Anchor Worms
  • Tumors
  • Hemorrhagic
  • Mouth Rot

The Comprehensive List Of Betta Fish Diseases And Illnesses

This list will start with the most common diseases and illnesses that bettas can suffer from before moving on to ones that are less and less common. If there’s something wrong with your betta, then it’s probably going to be one of the first four problems; however, make sure you don’t rule out the other ones too early!

Swim Bladder Disease

Swim bladder disease is a common illness that bettas suffer from, and if left untreated, it can often advance to dropsy.

While it’s named swim bladder disease, it is, in fact, more of a disorder. There is a whole range of different things that can affect your bettas swim bladder and the way they swim, and swim bladder disease is the term used to describe all of them.

Wondering where you can find a complete guide on Betta fish care? Click here!

What Is The Swim Bladder?

The swim bladder is the organ that allows your betta to control their buoyancy. Without the swim bladder, your betta would have to constantly swim to stay in place, but thanks to it, they don’t have to.

One of the reasons swim bladder disease is so common is because it’s located behind all the other organs. Because of this, it often means if anything affects one of them, it will probably affect the swim bladder as well.

Symptoms Of Swim Bladder Disease

There are a number of symptoms associated with swim bladder disease, so diagnosis is often easy. However, remember, some of the symptoms exhibited can also be caused by other illnesses and diseases as well. Here are the most common symptoms of swim bladder disease:

  • Trouble Swimming/Buoyancy Problems – This is the tell-tale sign of swim bladder disease in your betta. You may notice that your betta seems to constantly float up or down, or struggle to get off the substrate or constantly stay at the top of the tank. As well as this, they may swim lopsided too.
  • Distended Belly/Curved Back – Secondly, you may notice that your betta begins to get a distended belly or a curved back. If you notice this along with trouble swimming, then it normally means that your betta has been overfed.
  • No Appetite/Lethargic – Because swim bladder disease is going to make your betta’s life a lot harder it often affects their appetites and makes them much more lethargic.
  • Clamped Fins – If your betta has clamped fins along with the following symptoms, then it’s often a sign that they’re suffering from an infection.

How Do You Treat Swim Bladder Disease?

One of the most efficient ways you can treat swim bladder disease in bettas is with Epsom salt. Epsom salt is a relaxant, so in a lot of cases, it can help soothe your betta. Here’s how you should treat them with Epsom salt.

  1. Combine a tablespoon of Epsom salt with half a gallon of your tanks tap water, in a separate container. Once you’ve done this make sure that you’ve dissolved it thoroughly.
  2. Now add another half gallon of water into the container. If your tank doesn’t have enough water for this, then used conditioned tap water. (Also here’s an article explaining why you should be keeping your betta in a tank that’s at least 5 gallons in size.)
  3. Once you’ve done this, replace the water in your betta’s tank making sure the new water is a similar temperature to the old water.
  4. Now add your betta to the Epsom salt bath for 10-15 minutes. However, make sure you’re keeping an eye on them! If you notice any signs that he’s struggling in the bath such as a lack of movement, take him out immediately.
  5. Now continue to monitor your betta to see if there are any signs of improvement. If not, you’ll need to try a different method. (Find out everything you need to know about swim bladder disease in bettas.)

Is Swim Bladder Disease Fatal?

Whether swim bladder disease will be fatal or not really depends on the cause of it and how quickly you treat it. If it’s caused by constipation or bloating, then the chances are your betta will make a full recovery.

However, if it’s caused by a bacterial infection or damage to the swim bladder, it may end up becoming fatal if you don’t treat it. At this stage, it’s not uncommon for it to advance to dropsy. And once your betta has dropsy, it’s highly unlikely they will make a recovery.

(Check out this complete guide to Swim Bladder Disease In Bettas.)

Fin Rot

If you notice that your bettas tail looks like it’s becoming ragged and torn, then they could be suffering from fin rot—another extremely common disease amongst betta fish. Fortunately, though, if your betta is suffering from fin rot, it’s extremely easy to spot and easy to treat as well! (As long as it doesn’t become too severe.)

What Is Fin Rot?

Fin rot is an infection that can be both fungal and bacterial in nature. Once your betta contracts either of them, their fins will begin to deteriorate slowly. However, the deterioration will differ depending on whether it’s bacterial or fungal.

When it’s fungal, the rot will appear evenly over their fins, and often times you’ll also notice a white edge where the fraying is. However, when the fin rot is bacterial, the fins will appear more frayed and ragged.

Symptoms Of Fin Rot

The symptoms of fin rot will differ depending on the severity, as well as the treatment. Here’s what to look for:

Mild Fin Rot

If your betta is suffering from mild fin rot, then you’ll notice the following symptoms:

  • The fins just being slightly darker in color.
  • The tips may be changing color to brown, grey, or white.
  • As well as this the edges may just be beginning to appear tattered and worn
  • The tips may also look irritated, red or sore.
  • And most importantly, the rot won’t appear to be anywhere near your betta’s body.

Major Fin Rot

When the fin rot is left untreated, it goes from minor to major, and obviously, the symptoms become more severe. If your betta is suffering from major fin rot, then you’ll notice:

  • The fins have receded dangerously close to the body.
  • At times you may notice whole clumps of fin falling off at once, instead of a gradual change.
  • 1.5 cm of the fins may be dead.
  • The discoloration of the fin at this point will be incredibly dark. You will be able to clearly notice the fins are starting to die off.
  • The fins may also begin to be covered in white fuzz.
  • And oftentimes they’ll have red spots on them.

Severe Fin Rot (Body Rot)

When fin rot is left long enough, it will become extremely severe, and you may even notice the body beginning to rot. At this stage of fin rot, there’s a strong possibility that you won’t be able to save your betta.

You can tell your betta is suffering from severe fin rot when you notice the following:

  • The fins have receded completely to the body.
  • Your betta’s body is beginning to rot away.
  • Where the beginning of the fins used to be there may be white fuzz.

How Is Fin Rot Treated?

When your betta has fin rot, there are a number of different ways you may need to treat it. If it’s not serious, then moving them to a quarantine tank with API Stress Coat can normally help give them a speedy recovery. As well as this, you may also try adding aquarium salt to help heal them.

As the fin rot gets more severe, you may also need to perform much more frequent water changes to reduce the chances of more bacteria or fungus infecting them before finally having to use stronger medication such as API Pimafix or API Furan 2.

Can Fin Rot Be Fatal To Bettas?

Fin rot will be most likely to become fatal to bettas when it’s left untreated. However, with that being said, when you catch it early enough and act, the chances are your betta is going to make a full recovery.

The only time it will most likely be fatal, no matter how much you try to treat your betta, is when it’s advanced to body rot. At this point, the prognosis is not optimistic.

(Check out the complete guide on Fin Rot In Bettas.)


Because bettas are such gutty fish, it’s extremely common for them to suffer from constipation. The only difference is, while constipation is an inconvenience to people, for bettas, it’s life-threatening if left untreated.

What Is Constipation

If your betta is suffering from constipation, it’s because they’re having a hard time passing stool. Normally because it’s hardened inside of them. This is mainly due to overfeeding or a poor diet, so it’s vital that you make sure you’re feeding your betta the right things!

What Are The Symptoms Of Constipation

If you think that your betta is suffering from constipation, then there are plenty of symptoms you should be looking out for. Here are the most common ones:

  • Bloated Belly – Similar to constipation and dropsy, when your betta is constipated, the chances are they’re going to have a bloated belly. This is because they’re unable to pass stool properly, so their belly gets bigger and begins to bulge.
  • Stringy Feces – Another symptom that is often associated with constipation is stringy feces. The only problem is that it can be hard to spot if you’re not keeping a constant eye on your betta. (However, if you notice that the feces hangs from your betta as they’re swimming around, then it’s often a sign of constipation. In a healthy betta, the feces should sink to the substrate right away.)
  • Not Eating/Spitting Out Food – While this isn’t a sign your betta is constipated on its own, in combination with the other symptoms it’s another good indicator.

How Is Constipation In Bettas Treated?

Constipation is treated in a number of different ways. The first thing you should do is fast your betta and see if it passes naturally. If that doesn’t work, you can also try feeding them a pea and daphnia, both of which are high in fiber. If it’s more severe, you could also try to use Epsom salt.

Is Constipation Fatal In Bettas?

If left untreated, constipation can definitely end up becoming fatal to your betta. Constipation makes it much more likely that your betta will suffer from swim bladder disease, which in turn can cause dropsy.

On top of the increased chance of swim bladder disease and dropsy, being constipated is also going to stress your betta out. When your betta is stressed, their immune system is going to become compromised, and it’s much more likely that they’ll suffer from more illnesses.

So if you think that your betta is suffering from constipation, make sure you treat them as quickly as you can.


Dropsy is an incredibly serious illness that normally results in death. However, fortunately, if your betta is well looked after, then the chances of them suffering from dropsy are small, although not impossible.

What Is Dropsy

While many people think that dropsy is a disease, this simply isn’t true. In fact, dropsy is a multitude of symptoms caused by poor health and a lack of care. If you’re taking care of your betta and they remain healthy, then the chances of them contracting dropsy are very slim, although never impossible.

What Are The Symptoms Of Dropsy

There are a number of symptoms associated with dropsy; however, there are a couple of big indicators that are a clear sign.

  • Pineconing Scales – Pineconing scales are the biggest indicator that your betta is suffering from dropsy. In fact, if you notice that your betta has pinecone scales, then you should begin to treat them for dropsy immediately. (If you don’t know what pinecone scales are, it’s when the betta’s body becomes so big the scales stick out making the betta look similar to a pinecone.)
  • Distended Or Swollen Stomach – When your betta has pinecone scales and you notice that their stomach is swollen, then it’s another very big indicator that they’re suffering from dropsy.
  • Their Spine May Curve – When a betta has dropsy their spine may also curve as their internal organs begin to swell up. Once the organs begin to swell up it can put pressure on the spine causing it to bend.
  • Lethargy – You may also notice that your betta has become extremely lethargic. Because they’re so sick the last thing they’re going to want to do is swim around. He may spend most of his time just hiding in one area of the tank.

How Do You Treat Dropsy?

If your betta is suffering from dropsy, then you should move them to a quarantine tank so you can keep the water cleaner much easier.

After you’ve done this, there are a number of different things you can try, including adding aquarium salt to the tank, using a strong antibiotic like amoxicillin, and making sure you change the water daily.

Is Dropsy Fatal To Bettas?

Unfortunately, if your betta is suffering from dropsy, then the chances of recovery are going to be extremely slim. By the time the symptoms of dropsy are noticeable, your bettas’ organs are normally too far gone.

You will need to decide whether you wish to proceed to treat them or to consider euthanizing them.


If you notice that your betta has gold-like markings on them that weren’t there before, then they may be suffering from velvet. While not as common as the others listed above, it can be just as deadly when left untreated.

What is Velvet?

Velvet is caused by a parasite, although it’s also known by other names such as Rust, Gold Dust Disease, Oödinium, and Coral Disease.


What Are The Symptoms of Velvet?

There are a number of different symptoms that may be exhibited when your betta is suffering from velvet. However, there’s definitely one main one you should be looking out for.

  • A Gold Dust Like Coating – The most noticeable sign that your betta is suffering from velvet is a gold-like coating over their bodies. This isn’t actually the parasite on your betta’s body, but their bodies way of trying to get the parasite off.
  • Rubbing – You may also notice that your betta is rubbing against things. In fact, this symptom may happen before you notice your betta has a gold-like rust on their bodies. When your betta feels the parasite on their scales, they may begin rubbing to try and remove it.
  • Eye Problems – If the velvet advances before you have time to treat your betta then they may begin to have eye problems. This includes the eyes clouding over and even protruding. (However, this may also be cloudy eye and popeye.)

How Is Velvet Treated?

While velvet seems like a terrible illness, it’s actually pretty easy to treat. Especially when you catch it early enough! If you want to treat a betta with velvet then you should make sure you’re raising the temperature of the tank, turning off all the lights, and slowly adding aquarium salt.

Is Velvet Fatal?

Because velvet is so easy to treat, when it’s caught early enough, it’s highly likely your betta will make a full recovery. However, don’t be mistaken about the severity of velvet. If left untreated, velvet can become fatal, so make sure you treat it as soon as possible.

(Here’s an article explaining everything you need to know about velvet in bettas.)


Ich or ick is short for Ichthyophthirius multifiliis (which, as you can see, is quite a mouthful). If you notice it on your betta, you should be wary about other fish in your tank, as it’s highly contagious.

What Is Ich?

Ich is a parasite that latches onto the skin of your betta. As well as being called ich, you may hear it being called by its other names, a white spot or white spot disease.

What Are The Symptoms Of Ich

If you think your betta is suffering from ich, there is one symptom, in particular, you should look out for. And all the others are going to confirm your suspicions.

  • White Spots – The tell-tale sign of ich on your betta is white spots covering them. Sometimes these white spots will only occur on their body, however other times they may be on their fins and tail as well.
  • They’ll Rub Against Things – Just like with other parasites when your betta is suffering from ich they’ll begin to rub against things in the tank in an attempt to remove it. So if you see them rubbing, but there aren’t any other symptoms, there’s a good chance they’re suffering from a parasite of some sort.
  • Distressed Breathing – As the ich becomes more severe you’ll notice that their breathing becomes more and more distressed as well. At this stage, ich is going to be a lot harder to treat, but if it’s left untreated it could end up causing respiratory failure.

How Do You Treat Ich?

When treating ich there are a few things you may consider doing. The first is to remove your betta from the tank and place him in a quarantine tank. This will remove all traces of ich in your main tank as it won’t have a host to live off.

Secondly, you can also try raising the temperature in the tank and adding salt to help kill the infection.

And lastly, for more severe cases, you may have to use stronger medication to help heal your betta.

Can Ich Kill Bettas?

Ich can definitely be fatal to your betta when it’s left untreated. However, that’s the main point to remember, only when it’s left untreated! If you catch ich early enough and you treat it, it’s highly likely that your betta will make a full recovery from the disease!

(Find out more about ich in bettas.)


As you can imagine by the name, popeye is definitely not an illness that you want your betta to end up suffering from.

What Is Popeye?

Popeye is when pressure behind your betta’s eye causes the eye to protrude from its head. It’s scientific name is exophthalmia, and your best bet is to prevent popeye from ever happening. (Fortunately, though, if your betta is already suffering from popeye, you can still treat them.)

What Are The Symptoms Of Popeye?

As you already know, there is one big symptom of popeye; however, that’s not the only one. Looking for as many symptoms as you can is vital for making sure you’re diagnosing your betta correctly. Here are the symptoms you can expect to see:

  • Eyes Popping Out – The clearest sign that your betta is suffering from popeye is when they’re eyes are sticking out. This symptom alone essentially guarantees that your betta is suffering from popeye. (However, you shouldn’t rule out the fact they may be suffering from other illnesses as well.)
  • Their Eyes Change Color – When their eyes swell up too much the cornea could burst turning the eyes cloudy, or they may also bloodstained. If it’s bloodstained it’s generally an indicator that your betta has suffered from physical aggression of some kind.
  • A White Ring Around The Eyes – Occasionally you may notice that your betta has a white ring around their eyes before it starts to swell up. If you notice this early sign, then it’s possible that you can start treating popeye before it becomes even worse.

How Do You Treat Popeye In Bettas?

The way popeyes in bettas are treated really depends on the cause of it. If you think that it’s been caused by physical harm, frequent water changes and Epsom salt is the standard treatment procedure.

When popeye is caused by an infection, you’ll need to remove 100% of the water to remove the infection. After this, you’ll need to use ampicillin or other medicines depending on the cause of the infection.

Can Popeye Kill Your Betta?

Believe it or not, it’s actually quite unlikely that popeye will kill your betta. Sometimes, your betta’s eye may come off completely, and they’ll still be able to survive. (However, of course, you definitely shouldn’t let it get to this point.)

While popeye isn’t likely to kill your betta, it will definitely weaken their immune system. And if left untreated for long enough, they’ll likely succumb to another disease.

(Find out everything you want to know about popeye in bettas.)

Cloudy Eye

Popeye isn’t the only illness that can affect your betta’s eyes. Cloudy eye is another illness that can affect your betta as well!

What Is Cloudy Eye?

As you can guess, cloudy eye is a disease that makes your betta’s eyes go cloudy. When it’s more severe, the eyes can even become opaque. There are a wide variety of different causes of a cloudy eye, so before treating it, you’ll need to know exactly what’s causing it.

What Are The Symptoms Of Cloudy Eye?

  • Cloudy Eyes – Having cloudy eyes is the main symptom in this disease, and it’s the one you should look out for. The color can vary depending on how bad it is, but it will generally be grey or opaque.
  • Mucus Build Up – Occasionally as your betta’s body tries to fight off the infection they may begin to get a mucus build up over their body.
  • Hard Time Swimming – Because the eyes begin to cloud over, your betta may also have a hard time swimming and looking for food. So if you notice them swimming poorly, check their eyes.

How Do You Treat Cloudy Eye In Bettas?

To treat cloudy eyes, first of all, make sure you’re quarantining your betta from their main tank. Then use API Stress Coat and Aquarium Salt to help reduce your betta’s stress, build up their immune system and fight the infection.

The biggest cause of cloudy eyes is poor water quality. So you also want to make sure you’re performing regular water changes in your main tank. Doing this is going to improve the water quality of the tank.

Is Cloudy Eye Fatal?

It’s very unlikely that cloudy eye is going to be fatal to your betta, even when left untreated. However, you should definitely treat your betta as they’re much more likely to succumb to other illnesses.

Fortunately, though, they’re likely to make a full and speedy recovery with treatment.

(Here’s a complete guide about Cloudy Eye in Bettas.)


If you’re housing your betta in a tank where the water conditions are poor, they can be affected by columnaris. It has many other names, and if you notice it, you should begin treatment ASAP.

What Is Columnaris?

Columnaris is a bacterial infection. It’s commonly seen in guppies; however, it can affect any fish in your tank, including bettas. As well as being called columnaris it can also go by names like cotton wool disease, cotton mouth disease, saddle-back disease, and guppy disease.

What Are The Symptoms Of Columnaris?

If you think your betta has columnaris, here are the symptoms you should be watching out for.

  • Cotton Like Growths – The most obvious sign of columnaris in betta your betta is cotton-like growths on their body. However, this symptom isn’t the only one, and it’s definitely not the first.
  • Frayed Fins – One of the earliest signs of columnaris is fins that looked frayed or ragged. If you notice this, then there’s definitely something wrong. However, at this early stage, it can be difficult to tell whether it’s columnaris or fin rot.
  • Ulcers And Sores – You’ll also notice that your betta may begin to have ulcers and sores as well. When you notice this sign then you can be sure that it’s columnaris they’re suffering from and not fin rot.
  • Gill Color Change – During the final stages your bettas gills will change color. They’ll go from whatever color they were before to an unhealthy brown color. This is because the skin around the gills is beginning to die.

How Do You Treat Columnaris?

If your betta is suffering from columnaris then here’s what you need to do to treat it.

Obviously, before anything, you’re going to want to move them to quarantine to reduce the chance of spreading the disease and putting them in cleaner water. Lower the temperature to help kill the bacteria, which thrives in warmer temperatures.

Add Furan 2 or another antibiotic. As well as this, you can also try using aquarium salt and stress coat to help reduce their stress levels.

(Find out more everything there is to know about columnaris in bettas.)

Can Columnaris Kill Bettas?

If left untreated, columnaris is definitely capable of being fatal to your bettas. However, when you treat it early enough, it’s highly likely that your betta is going to recover!


While it’s rare, tuberculosis is another illness that can make your betta sick. Here’s what you need to know about tuberculosis in bettas.

What Is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis in fish isn’t the same as for tuberculosis in people. In fact, if your betta has tuberculosis, you won’t have to worry about catching it yourself. Tuberculosis in fish is caused by a type of bacteria called Mycobacterium marinum. It’s found in most aquariums, but it generally only affects bettas with weakened immune systems.

What Are The Symptoms Of Tuberculosis?

One of the biggest problems with tuberculosis in fish is that it’s generally symptom-less until it’s already too late. With that being said, here are the most common symptoms associated with tuberculosis. At the very least, they may be able to help you rule out other illnesses or diseases.

Emaciation & Loss Of Appetite

A couple of the most common symptoms of tuberculosis in bettas is emaciation and a loss of appetite. This won’t just be losing weight, but losing muscle density. This is especially noticeable at the top half of their bodies.

Crooked Skeleton

If you notice that your betta has a crooked skeleton, then you’re looking at the tell-tale sign of tuberculosis. However, this only applies when the skeleton bends vertically. If it bends to the side, then as previously mentioned, they could be suffering from dropsy.

Skin Defects

You may also notice skin defects such as a loss of scales, blood spots, open wounds, discoloration, lesions, and folded fins. Loss of scales, particularly when combined wih other symptoms, is an indicator of tuberculosis.

How Do You Treat Tuberculosis In Bettas?

If you think that your betta is suffering from tuberculosis, unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done. It’s speculated that if you dose the tank with antibiotics or clean the wounds with penicillin, then you may be able to help them recover.

Once again, though, this is only speculation, and there isn’t much research to back this up.

Is Tuberculosis Fatal To Bettas?

As you probably would have guessed by now, if your betta is suffering from tuberculosis, they’re not going to survive. Your only option in most cases is to begin thinking about euthanasia.

(Find out more about tuberculosis in bettas.)

Hole In The Head

Hole in the head is just as serious as it sounds. If your betta is suffering from it, you’ll need to act quickly in order to save them.

What Is Hole In The Head?

Hole in the head is a disease that goes by many names, including hexamitiasis, freshwater head, and lateral line erosion. Unfortunately, even now, no one is sure what causes it, but there is a lot of speculation.

What Are The Symptoms Of Hole In The Head?

Before your betta’s head actually begins to suffer from a hole in it, there are other symptoms you’ll notice. If you can catch hole in the head while it’s still showing early symptoms, you’re going to have a much better chance of treating it effectively.

  • White Stringy Feces – This is one of the most common symptoms associated with hole in the head disease. The feces will be white and stringy instead of its normal color and consistency. This is because your betta’s body is creating excess mucus to fight infection. This mucus then alters the feces.
  • Loss Of ColorThis is another common symptom and one that’s easy to spot. However, just because you notice they’re losing their color, you shouldn’t just assume it’s being caused by hexamitiasis. (It’s much more likely that something far less severe is causing the problem such as stress or depression.)
  • Holes On The Head And Body – As your betta becomes more infected you’ll notice holes in their head and body. This is one of the final stages of hole in the head, and ideally, you should want to treat it before it gets this far.

Betta Hole In The Head Treatment

Hole in the head can only be treated with medication. Dimetridazole is the first choice; however, you can also use Metronidazole if you can’t find that. Just remember, when you’re using any medication like this, you should make sure you’re consulting a vet first.

How Fatal Is Hole In The Head?

Hole in the head can quickly become fatal, especially if left for too long. When you notice your betta has holes in their head and body, the chances of them surviving are slim. They’re going to be much more susceptible to a secondary infection that will kill them.

(Find out more about Hole In The Head in Bettas.)

Gill Flukes

Gill flukes are just as horrible as they sound. They are extremely similar to skin flukes, the only difference being where they attach themselves.

What Are Gill Flukes?

Gill flukes are parasites that breed, feed, and grow inside your betta’s gills. While they are most likely to be found inside gills, it is possible for them to latch onto your betta’s skin too. And vice versa, it’s possible for skin flukes to latch onto your bettas gills.

Lastly, gill flukes grow about 0.3mm in size, so you’re not going to be able to see them.

What Are The Symptoms Of Gill Flukes?

If you can’t see gill flukes, you may be wondering how to know if your betta has them. Well, there are a number of symptoms associated with gill flukes.

  • Gills Covered In Mucus – As your bettas body tries to fight of the gill flukes, their gills will become covered in mucus. this is a natural way their body tries to fight off infection as well as flushing the parasites out.
  • Scraping Against Things -If you notice that your betta is always scraping against things then it’s a sign there’s a parasite of some sort on their body. Because they can’t scratch like me and you, their only alternative is to scrape against things.
  • Ulcers And Wounds – Constantly scraping agaist things and the damage from gill flukes is going to cause ulcers and sores to occur on your bettas body.
  • Gasping For Air At The Waters Surface Gill flukes are continuously doing damage to your bettas gills. When there suffering with gill flukes for long enough, you’ll notice that they’ll begin gasping for air at the waters surface. This is a very severe symptom and it’s a sign that their gills are beginning to fail.

How Do You Treat Gill Flukes In Bettas?

The best way to treat gill flukes in your betta is with an anti-fluke medication. API General Cure is the most commonly used one. However, be aware, it does come with a warning that it can cause cancer. So you should definitely weigh this up before you decide whether you use it or not.

Are Gill Flukes Fatal?

When left untreated, gill flukes can most definitely become fatal to your betta. A combination of gill damage, ulcers and wounds on the skin, and a weakened immune system will become more and more severe over time. Until eventually your betta is overcome by them.

(Find out more about Gill Flukes in Bettas.)

Anchor Worms

Another parasite that can affect your betta are anchor worms. Fortunately, though, it is incredibly rare for them to suffer from anchor worms.

What Are Anchor Worms?

Anchor worms are a type of crustacean called Lernea. Contrary to what a lot of people think, they’re actually not worms. They attach to your bettas skin and then burrow inside. Once they’re in they use their anchor like heads to latch on.

What Are The Symptoms Of Anchor Worms?

There are a lot of symptoms of anchor worms and fortunately, they are incredibly easy to spot. Here are the symptoms you should look for.

  • You’ll See Them On Your Betta – Anchor worms are so large, you’ll easily be able to notice them on your betta. They grow up to an 1/8th of an inch in length, and vary in color between white, green, and red.
  • Rubbing And Scraping – Just like with other parasites, when your betta is infested with anchor worms, they’ll rub and scrape on things in an attempt to remove them.
  • Ulcers And Sores – Because of the rubbing and the scraping your betta will also suffer from ulcers and sores.
  • Breathing Problems – If the anchor worms dig to deep, they can often cause your betta to have breathing problems. This is because they begin to burrow into their internal organs and cause damage.

How Do You Cure Anchor Worms?

There are a number of ways you can cure your betta of anchor worms. The easiest method is to pull them out carefully. As well as this you should dip your betta in a potassium permanganate solution for 5 minutes. Lastly, you should perform a water change in your tank to remove as many of the parasites as you can.

Are Anchor Worms Fatal?

When anchor worms are treated quickly enough, your betta will most likely make a full recovery. However, if you don’t catch them in time or choose to ignore them, they can quickly become fatal.

The risk of fatality also increases depending on where the anchor worms bury themselves. If they bury into an organ, it’s much more likely they will become fatal.

(Find out more about Anchor Worms in Bettas.)


Like every animal, bettas are also at risk of getting a tumor. If you think your betta has a tumor, then there’s not much you can do except try to make them comfortable. Here’s more information about tumors in bettas.

How Do Betta Fish Get Tumors?

Just because your betta has a tumor, it doesn’t mean you’ve necessarily done anything wrong. In most cases, bettas are simply pre-disposed to getting tumors, and they’re going to get them regardless. However, feeding them poor food and letting carcinogenics into the tank can increase the chance of suffering from a tumor.

Symptom Of A Tumor (And What Else It Can Be)

There’s only one symptom of a tumor, and of course, that’s going to be a lump on their body. The size of the lump can vary, and in some cases, you may not even notice they have a tumor if it’s inside them.

However, a lump doesn’t just signify a tumor. In fact, what you think is a tumor may be an abscess or an ulcer.

Are Tumors Treatable?

If your betta has a tumor, then there’s not much you can do to treat them. But if they’re still swimming around fine and happy, then you won’t need to treat them anyway. The only options for a betta severely suffering from a tumor are surgery, which can be incredibly expensive, or euthanasia.

Are Tumors Fatal?

Believe it or not, even if your betta has a tumor it doesn’t mean it’s going to be fatal. In fact, your betta can still live a long full happy life, even with a tumor. Just keep an eye on them, and if you notice they appear more and more unhappy, then it may be time to euthanize.

(Find out more about Betta Tumors.)


Hemorrhagic is another rare illness, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to affect your betta. Here are the main things you’ll need to know about hemorrhagic.

What Is Hemorrhagic?

Hemorrhagic is a disease that causes the inside of your betta’s mouth to bleed, as well as inside their eyes. As well as hemorrhagic, it also goes by the name redmouth, and viral hemorrhagic septicemia.

It’s extremely contagious, so if you notice your betta has it and they’re in a community tank, you’ll need to remove them immediately.

What Are The Symptoms Of Hemorrhagic

There are a variety of symptoms that can be associated with hemorrhagic.

  • Red Discoloration And Streaks On The Body – One symptom of hemorrhagic is red streaks on the fins and red discoloration on the body.
  • Open Sores – As the hemorrhagic becomes more severe, you’ll also notice that your betta will begin to get open sores on their body as well.
  • Hyperventilating – Hemorrhagic is internal so it’s going to also damage your betta’s organs. As they begin to get more damaged your betta is going to have a harder time breathing. You may notice them hyperventilating and gasping at the surface of the water.

How Do You Treat Hemorrhagic?

There’s no real way to cure hemorrhagic. However, you can take action to reduce the chances of it killing your betta. First, you’ll want to move your betta to a quarantine tank and thoroughly disinfect your main tank. As well as this, you can also try adding antibiotics to your bettas’ food.

Is Hemorrhagic Fatal?

If you treat hemorrhagic early enough, it’s likely that your betta will go back to their old health in no time. So if you can catch it early enough, the chances of a fatality are normally low.

Mouth Rot

Mouth rot is a painful disease in your betta, and as you can guess from the name, it’s going to affect your betta’s mouth.

What Is Mouth Rot?

Flavobacterium bacteria is the cause behind mouth rot and it’s most likely to occur when you first get your betta. The symptoms start gradually, but your betta is likely to decline quickly.

What Are The Symptoms Of Mouth Rot?

There are a number of different symptoms you can expect in your betta when they’re suffering from mouth rot. Here are some of the main ones.

  • Off White Marks – The first sign of mouth rot is off white marks around your betta’s mouth. These occur when your betta has first contracted the infection, but it has not yet become severe.
  • White Fluffy Spots – As the infection becomes more severe you’ll notice the off white marks growing into white cotton-like growths. Much like columnaris.
  • Ulcers – As the infection becomes more severe you’ll also begin to notice ulcers around your bettas mouth as well.
  • Mouth Rot – Lastly, when mouthrot becomes more severe, your bettas lips and the rest of their mouth will literally begin to rot and fall apart. This makes it difficult for them to eat and can also lead to emaciation.

How Do You Treat Mouth Rot?

To treat mouth rot, you should move your betta to a quarantine tank where the water is clean. Perform water changes regularly and add aquarium salt and an antibacterial to the tank as well!

Is Mouth Rot Fatal?

When not treated early enough, mouth rot is likely to become fatal. However, if you can catch it and treat it early enough, your betta should make a full recovery. Just make sure that you try and catch it early.


Now you know all the different diseases and illnesses your betta can get! It’s a good idea to have a brief idea about each one in your head. So if your betta does become sick you’ll be able to spot it early.

Ultimate Betta Fish Care Guide
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