10 Reasons Your Betta Fish Keep Dying

Betta fish have relatively short lifespans, between 2 to 5 years. If you have experienced problems with your betta fish dying early, you are not alone. The lifespan of the betta fish can be unpredictable at times, depending on how you raise them. 

The main reason betta die is because of their environment. Poor water quality can lead to unexpected death for the betta. In addition to a poor environment, betta fish are highly temperamental. Any stress caused by unclean environments, incompatible fish, or changing surroundings can lead to premature death.

Why Do Your Betta Fish Keep Dying?

The most common reason betta fish die is poor water quality. Poor water quality is often the result of forgetting to add a filter or failing to clean your tank adequately. You can avoid neglect by cleaning your fish tank and providing a proper environment.

Some beginner aquarists forget to conduct regular water tests and therefore allow their pH balance to become askew. When this happens, the betta fish is vulnerable to the waste build-up in their tanks. Although it is less common than pH imbalances, toxic chemical leaks can also be a reason for sudden betta fish deaths. By conducting water tests, you can account for any vulnerabilities in your water and address them before the problem becomes fatal.


Reaching their natural lifespan of 2-5 years means that your betta might be dying of natural causes. If you purchased your betta together and they are dying around the same time, it might simply be old age. A great sign of old age can be slow color fading. When a betta dies before 2 to 5 years, it might be for other reasons.

Natural reasons like age can lead to betta fish dying. Aging is unavoidable. In the meantime, provide them with the best lives possible with a suitable living environment and proper diet.

Poor Water Conditions

Poor water quality can kill betta fish. Forgetting to clean your tank or keeping your fish in the wrong type of water, like tap water, can cause them to die. Out of every common problem, poor water quality is typically the most common reason betta die.

Poor Filtration

Since betta fish are typically sold in small containers, many people fail to provide proper filtration. Supplying your fish with a filter ensures they can breathe underwater. Filters keep water flowing properly, circulating debris and excess waste so your fish can live in a clean environment. In addition to filtering the water, a good filtration system will also cause good surface agitation so your fish can get plenty of oxygen.

Diseases or Parasites

Sickness is one of the leading causes of premature betta death. Some of the most common diseases are caused by unclean tanks, improper diets, or when you have kept your betta fish in tanks with temperatures below 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Tank is Too Small

You must also provide an adequately-sized tank to accommodate your betta and their tank mates. The best tank size is at least 5-gallons. The betta is a fast fish that prefers to dart and roam at the top of its tank. 

Ideally, they will have places to hide and plenty of room to swim at the top of their tanks. Since betta fish love to swim around their tanks, you need adequate space for them to swim in their tanks without disruption. Your tank should be medium or large, so they are large enough for your betta to dart around. 

Incompatible Fish

Placing incompatible fish in your tank may result in the early death of your betta fish. Betta can become assertive when housed with other aggressive fish. Colorful and aggressive fish who swim at the top of tanks are typically incompatible with the betta. However, bottom-feeders or small fish colonies can be great because of their passive nature. They do great with fish like corydoras or kuhli, who have the passivity necessary for the betta.

Even when housing “compatible” fish together, you may still have problems with fish. Carefully observe your betta with your other fish as you introduce them to your tank. If you notice any clashing behavior, place them in different tanks. 


Overfeeding is a common reason why you may kill your betta fish early. Betta fish have small stomachs that can only fit around 3 to 4 food pellets each day. The food pellets might look small, but they will expand inside their stomach and can cause major intestinal blockage, leading to death.


Stress is a leading reason why many betta fish die prematurely. When a betta fish becomes stressed, you will notice fading color and wilting of its fins. There are many causes of stress, mostly involving change or poor tank conditions. 

One common stressor betta often deals with is nearby predatory animals with access to their tank. Dogs and cats who observe outside can intimidate the betta fish, causing them fatal stress.

Low Water Temperatures 

When the water in your fish tank is too cold, your betta may suffer an early death. The betta must be kept in a tank with their waters between 75°F and 80°F. Keeping your betta in temperatures below 75 degrees Fahrenheit will leave them prone to disease.

Poisonous or Dangerous Decor

Some decor can be extremely poisonous to your betta’s health. In addition to decreasing stress, the right tank decor can also be great for your betta’s health. Plastic decor can be tempting, but it is better to put safe decor like aquarium-safe hideaways and plants. Purchase your aquarium decor from pet stores.

Why Do My Betta Fry Keep Dying?

The most common reason betta fish fries keep dying is because you raise them in the wrong environment. Poor water conditions, like the wrong water type or the incorrect temperature, are two common reasons your betta fries do not survive to adulthood.

In addition, surrounding your fry with incompatible fish is a leading reason your betta fry might die before reaching maturity. Larger fish are more likely to consume fry than let them thrive in the environment. Do research on fish before housing them together.

Imbalanced pH levels and poor living conditions are major reasons your betta fish does not make it into adulthood. You must regulate their water by conducting regular tests. pH levels can become imbalanced for several reasons, like population numbers and water amounts. It is important that you monitor your water regularly for any changes.

Unclean Water

Poor water conditions are the leading reason betta fish die. Forgetting to clean your water can lead to poor water conditions. Unclean water can cause fatal diseases like fungal infections. It can also be the perfect host to parasites, which can kill your betta fries. Even if your water looks clean from the outside, you should still clean it regularly.

Unbalanced pH Levels

An imbalance in your water’s pH levels can lead to your betta fries dying early. The appropriate range for a betta fish tank ranges between 7 to 7.4. If you fall outside that range, treat your aquarium immediately, or your fish could suffer life-threatening problems.

Feeding Issues

A significant reason many betta fish fries do not survive is major feeding issues, like the amount of food you feed them. Feeding your betta the wrong type of food can be dangerous to the health of your betta fish. When your betta fish is a fry, you must feed them only the recommended amount, or you could cause digestive issues. Establish a good diet and stick to it to avoid your betta fish dying because of feeding issues.                                                                                                                 

Predatory Fish are Eating Your Fries

Since betta fries are such small fish, large and incompatible fish might eat your betta fry. Confirm that all fish in your tank will not eat your betta before housing them together. Large, predatory fish can be dangerous to the betta fry. These will likely feed on your betta fry and eat them before reaching maturity.

Disease or Illness

When betta fries are born with a disease or surrounded by other fish with illnesses, they will likely die early. Many diseases are caused by an unclean environment, often attaching themselves to the decorations or sides of the tank. Perform deep cleanings on your tank after fatal disease outbreaks to prevent these diseases from spreading to betta fry.

Bad Living Conditions 

Raising betta fry in poor living conditions will prevent betta fry from reaching adulthood. If they do not have a good tank of adequate size, then betta fry are unlikely to thrive. A betta needs a medium-sized tank of at least five gallons. Increase the size of your tank with each additional fish you purchase, whether that fish is a betta or another type.

How Can You Prevent Your Betta Fish From Dying?

Learning to identify healthy behaviors and keeping your betta in proper conditions is the best way to prevent your betta fish from dying. Ideally, you will take great care of your betta fish and have no problems with their health. You must take good care of them if you want them to live full and happy lives. 

Always maintain a clean tank to avoid health issues and stress. Many betta fish die because of poor water conditions caused by infrequent cleanings or the wrong water types. Establish weekly water-changing routines that incorporate skimming the water’s surface for leftover food and thoroughly cleaning the tank. You must also conduct regular water tests to maintain regular pH balances.

As a fish tank owner, you must perform regular water tests so you may regulate the pH balance of your betta’s water. Additionally, water tests may reveal toxic chemicals or parasites in the water. Use regular screenings to measure your water.

Mitigate Stress

Luckily, if you notice signs of stress, you can prevent them from dying. The first sign of stress is color fading. Betta fish also show signs of stress as their fins and tails wilt. They may become less active, unsocial, and refuse to eat. 

Observe your betta fish for these signs of stress. If the stress is caused by an object, remove it. Betta fish often dislike when you continuously change their environment, so try finding an atmosphere that works and stick with it.

Separate Incompatible Tankmates

Separate your fish from aggressive tankmates to avoid fighting. You must separate the two fish into two separate tanks. If you want to avoid purchasing an additional tank, do research ahead of time on which fish are the most compatible. Similarly, if other pets have access to the room with their aquarium, try moving the aquarium. Fish might become intimidated by predatory animals like cats. 

Clean Their Tank

Clean your betta fish tank more frequently to keep your betta alive longer. To maintain a healthy environment for your betta fish, you should change at least one-quarter of your betta’s tank water weekly. Always replace the old water with fresh water after emptying it from your tank. You must always skim the water for leftover food at the end of each day. In addition to keeping the tank clean, skimming the top of your water for food will prevent your betta from overfeeding.

Treat Fungus or Infections Promptly

Always treat infections in your tank to avoid unnecessary betta fish deaths. Diseases should be treated as soon as you notice them by placing fish in a separate treatment aquarium. If your betta fish become infected with a fatal illness, you will require a complete tank cleaning. 

Remove your fish from your tank and give your tank a thorough clean with aquarium-safe cleaners. You should be sure to always clean all aquarium decorations by scrubbing them. Replace any plants infected with disease, if necessary.

Purchase Bettas as Fries

Purchase betta as fries to increase the likelihood of giving them a long life. Raising them from a young age allows you to spend more time with your betta fish. It can be more difficult for beginner aquarists to raise betta fry. However, you get significantly more time with them.

Establish a Good Diet

Establishing a good diet is a significant part of preventing overfeeding. You must feed them a combination of dry and living food. Only feed your betta fish once per day and skim the top of the water at the end of the day to avoid excess feeding. In many cases, betta will continue eating food from the surface even after they are full. If your fish begins gaining weight, consider having your fish fast for a day or two. Fasting can decrease their weight and realign their dietary needs.

Skim the Water Daily

It is essential that you skim the water at the end of each day. Forgetting to skim the top of the water can leave waste in your water. It can become dangerous for your betta fish to live in a dirty tank because it can lead to ill health. Additionally, your fish might overfeed if there is leftover food on top of the water at the end of the day.

Perform Regular Water Tests

Conduct regular tests to measure the pH balance of your betta’s tank. You must measure the pH levels of your tank regularly to confirm there is not an imbalance, or your fish could die. If you have several fish in your tank, the pH levels are more likely to become imbalanced as they secrete waste in the water. You should perform water tests even when you believe your water appears clean.

In addition to measuring the pH levels of your tank, many water tests can also determine the presence of any toxic chemicals in your betta’s water. Measuring your water for cleanliness at least once before putting your betta in its tank is critical. Water tests should become a regular part of your routine, performing them when you clean or move your fish tank. It is also a good idea to conduct water tests when you handle your fish for any reason.

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Betta fish typically live for 3 to 5 years. However, betta fish often die prematurely. The best way to give your betta a long life is to provide them with a healthy environment. Premature betta death is often linked to being raised in unclean or poor conditions. You must raise betta in clean, healthy water. Their tanks must be the proper size, and you must use good filtration. To guarantee continuous safety for your betta fish in their new tank, maintain a thorough water testing routine.

Poor tank conditions, like a small fish tank or forgetting a filter, can lead to unpredictable betta fish deaths. Take care of your fish tank if you want your fish to live full lives. Establish a strict diet of dry and living food, including a colony of fish. 

Housing betta with incompatible fish can be a leading cause of premature betta deaths, primarily because they might fight with the notoriously aggressive betta and fatally injure them. You must choose your betta fish’s tankmates accordingly to not jeopardize your betta fish’s physical or mental health.