Betta Fish Poop (And Why You Need To Know About It)

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Last Updated on 2023-12-22

Betta fish are a popular and beautiful addition to any home or office tank. They are quite robust and easy to care for, but one thing all betta fish owners should monitor is their betta fish’ poop, as it can often be a good indicator of their health.

This article provides a detailed guide to betta fish poop, which can be tricky to spot due to its appearance. Our guide will attempt to answer common betta fish poop questions such as how much they poop, where they poop, what their poop looks like, and what it means if your Betta fish excrete unusual poop or no poop at all.

Key Takeaways: What Your Betta Fish’s Poop Tells You

General Insights

  • If you’ve been wondering, Betta fish do indeed poop. It’s a vital sign of their overall health.
  • Every betta poops different amount of times, however, if you think your betta isn’t pooping at all, then it could be a sign of constipation.

Poop Appearance

  • Betta poop often looks like their food. It’s usually small, pellet-like, and reddish-brown.
  • Betta fish are private poopers, often choosing planted areas or corners of the tank for their business.

Diet and Health

  • Stick to the food manufacturer’s instructions and maintain a tank temperature between 76 and 80°F for a healthy Betta.
  • Overfeeding can lead to constipation and other health issues. Less is often more.

Health Indicators

  • Changes in poop color or shape could signal health issues like constipation or parasites.
  • Stringy poop may indicate constipation, while watery poop could be a sign of diarrhea.

Exercise and Activity

  • Exercise for a Betta fish is just its regular swimming. Lethargy could be a sign of illness.
  • Encourage exercise by getting your Betta to flare or by providing toys.

Do Betta Fish Poop?

You most probably haven’t seen your Betta Fish poop, so if you’re wondering if they do, then the answer is yes, bettas do poop!

The Pooping Habits of Betta Fish

Bettas are secretive poopers. They prefer to do it in the same spot with a little bit of privacy (who could blame them!), and they will tend to choose a planted area or a corner to do their poops. So if you think your Betta is simply hiding out in the reeds for some alone time, think again! They are probably pooping.

Bettas poop from a small hole in front of their anal fin. Their poop is pretty small, so you probably won’t realize your Betta fish is pooping until you notice a build-up in their favorite toileting spot.

betta pooping habits

Poop or Pellets?

It is common for Betta Fish owners to think that their Betta is not eating much or pooping at all; that’s because their poop looks a lot like their food. So if you have noticed ‘food’ that has fallen to the bottom of the tank, then it might be poop, not pellets.

Betta Fish Diet

Betta’s tend to eat like it’s their last meal because, in the wild, it could be. Therefore it is easy to mistake this survival instinct for hunger and accidentally overfeed your Betta Fish which could lead to health problems.

So long as you are feeding your Betta one to two pellets twice a day and keeping your tank at the correct temperature (between 76 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit), your Betta fish will be healthy, and the frequency of their poops will be consistent.

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What Does Betta Fish Poop Look Like?

If you have a lot of different fish in your tank, it is hard to keep track of which poop belongs to which fish. Keeping an eye on your fishs’ poop is a good way of tracking their health. Any changes in color and consistency of fish poop could be an indication that something is wrong.

Colour and Shape

Betta poop is unlike most other tank fish poop. Usually, fish poop is easy to identify as long brown stringy goo that secretes from the anal canal of the fish. However, Betta poop is more of a pellet shape and is yellowy-reddish-brown in color and stays at the bottom of the tank.

Betta poop looks very similar to the food that they eat; however, the color may be slightly different from the pellet food, so that is another good indicator that you are looking at fish waste, not a wasted dinner.


Although Betta poop is very similar to food pellets, their droppings are still rather small. It does take a keen eye to spot a single poop among everything else in your fish tank, but since Bettas do like to go in one spot, it is easier to look out for a collection of poop in one place rather than single droppings.

How Often Do Betta Fish Poop?

Generally, you can expect your betta fish to poop around 5-6 times per day. However, unless there’s something wrong in a lot of cases you won’t actually see your betta fish pooping! In times when your betta is sick, you may find that they don’t poop nearly as much.

How Can You Tell If There’s Something Wrong With Your Betta From Their Poop?

If your Betta Fishs’ poop looks anything other than pellet-like and reddish-brown in color, then it is an indicator that your fish may need a little help.

Just like us humans, Bettas can suffer from constipation, diarrhea, and other stomach upsets that may affect what their poop looks like. So, you can keep an eye on the health of your Betta by keeping an eye on their poop.

If your Betta is passing poop that looks like any of the following, they may be sick and in need of treatment:

Poop ColorPossible Reasons
Dark brown to tanNormal, may vary with food
Bright redCheck if food is red, otherwise consult a vet
BlackLikely due to food and tank cleaning products

Stringy Poop

If your Betta is passing stools that are brown in color but stringy instead of pellet-like, then it could be a sign of constipation.

Contrary to popular belief, fish do get constipated and can lack hydration in their diet. It is usually caused by overfeeding.

It’s odd to think that fish can get dehydrated, considering they are constantly surrounded by water, but constant food intake can lead to a dehydrated Betta Fish who is suffering from constipation.

Large Globular Poop

Large globular poop can also be a sign of constipation in Betta fish. If your fishs’ poop is larger than the usual pellet size, it can be a sign of dehydration and overfeeding.

Constipation is unpleasant for your Betta but is easily treated and preventable. Make sure that your Betta is getting a good diet, eating the correct amount, and gets plenty of exercise.

Betta Fish Excercise

You’re probably wondering how you can get your Betta fish to do more exercise to help their constipation? Well, you can’t. Fish get their exercise by swimming around their tank, and it is part of their usual behavior.

But if your Betta fish is lethargic and not exercising around its tank by itself, then it could be a sign of something else. Lethargic Betta Fish are usually sick, and constipation from lack of movement could be a side effect of something else.

It is always best to check with a vet if you notice any behavioral changes in your Betta fish.

Red And Black Plakat Betta

White or Pale Poop

If your Betta is eating normally and is passing white, pale, and stringy poop could be a symptom of parasites, and you should get your Betta fish checked out immediately.

Internal Parasites

White poop in fish is poop with no food in it. If your fish is pooping white string, it is the mucus from their digestive tract, and the food that should be present in their poop has either been eaten by internal parasites or because your Betta did not ingest food in the first place.

If your Betta has parasites, then you will need to clean out and treat your entire tank and possibly visit a vet who will administer medication for your Betta.

Watery Brown Poop

If your Betta fish is expelling water rather than pellets from their anal canal, then this is a sign of diarrhea.

It is hard to spot, as the wispy brown water can vanish pretty quickly in a fish tank, but look out for it if you haven’t noticed any fresh Betta Fish poop pellets in 12 hours or so.

Bad Diet or Bad Infection?

Diarrhea in Betta Fish is treatable, and its severity is dependant on the cause. Diarrhea can be a symptom of a bad diet. Either the food you are giving them is poor quality, or they have been eating too many treats. Simply changing their food and reducing treats should get your Betta fish back to normal.

If your Betta fish has a good diet and still pooping water, then it could be a bacterial or viral infection. It is best to seek out a vet who will be able to diagnose your Betta fish and give them the right treatment.

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What Color Should Betta Fish Poop Be?

Although reddish-brown is often used to describe the color of Betta poop, it can vary from dark brown to tan to offish red. Food coloring is sometimes used in Betta food which can affect the color of their poop. Food coloring in Betta food is nothing to worry about.

So long as your Betta is getting a high-quality brand of food and is being fed at the appropriate intervals, their poop can vary anywhere between red, brown, and tan and will remain the same color if you feed them the same food consistently.

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What Does Different Color Poop Mean?

Changes to the color of your Betta Fishs’ poop could be due to several factors. Most of the time, color changes can be perfectly normal and due to a change in routine or after giving them a new treat to eat.

However, if your Bettas poop changes color and you haven’t given them treats, or changed anything about their routine care, then it could be a sign that your fish is sick and needs some medical attention.

Although Betta Fish poop can be hard to spot because of its similarity to uneaten food pellets, it is best to try to track your Bettas’ poop and investigate any color changes in case your Betta Fish is ill.

Sudden Color Changes

If you change your Betta food brand, then you may notice a change of color in their poops due to different manufacturers using different ingredients, but it should always be within the scale of tan, brown, or reddish-brown.

Red Poop

Bright red poop in Betta fish can be expected if the food you give them is very red. If the food you give them is not red in color, then you may want to speak to a vet. It isn’t unusual for Betta to have bright red poop, but it isn’t common.

Black Poop

Some Betta Fish can also have black poop, which isn’t a concern. Black poop is usually a result of combining factors, such as the food you are giving your Betta and the products you use to clean your tank.

Blue Betta

Why Is Your Betta Fish Not Pooping?

Betta fish usually poop around 5-6 times a day, and anything less than this could be a sign that something is wrong.

No poop at all is also a sign of constipation which could be quite severe. Look out for these other signs that may be able to help you diagnose and treat your Betta Fish.

Swollen Stomach

A swollen stomach is also a sign of diarrhea in Betta fish, but if your fish is not passing brown water or not passing any poop at all, then a swollen stomach could mean severe constipation.

Severe constipation can lead to Swim Bladder. This is when overfeeding has caused your fishs’ stomach to swell and press on the swim bladder, causing buoyancy issues.

If this is the case, it is best not to feed your fish anything at all for 1-3 days to give the food a chance to pass and their digestive tract to return to its normal size.

If this doesn’t work, then consult a vet.

Epsom Salts

You may have heard that bathing your fish in Epsom salts can be beneficial for their health, and generally, it is. However, Epsom Salts can be hard on Betta Fish.

It’s okay to give Betta Fish an Epsom salt bath once or twice a week to treat other illnesses like dropsy, but the salts can be hard on their digestive systems and cause problems if exposed for too long.

If you have recently given your Betta an Epsom salt bath and now they are not pooping, it could be the exposure to the salts, and they should return to normal within a day or two.

Does Betta Fish Poop Float?

No healthy Betta Fish poop does not float. Betta poop sinks to the substrate of your tank every time if their poop is healthy and normal.

Betta poop is elongated in shape and not buoyant or stringy. If your Betta is excreting poop that floats, then it could be a sign of a health issue.


As you can see, there is a whole range of different things that can affect your Betta’s poop and health. Fortunately, if you’re aware of these problems, you can normally spot them early on and treat your Betta before anything serious happens!

Ultimate Betta Fish Care Guide
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