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Why Is My Betta Fish Not Moving

Why Is My Betta Fish Not Moving

Your betta fish isn’t moving. You’re terrified. Is it dead? Probably not. But it could be a reason for concern. There are also many normal, healthy reasons your fish isn’t moving. Read on to learn about betta fish sleeping, sick betta fish, betta swim bladder disease, and more. 

Do Betta Fish Sleep?

Betta fish do sleep. If your betta is very still, but you still see his (or her) mouth and gills moving, he (or she) is probably asleep. Since bettas don’t have eyelids, their eyes are open when they sleep. Betta fish mainly sleep at night, but will take fish naps during the day too. They like to sleep and their bodies need it, but they sleep lightly. They will wake up quickly at the slightest sound or vibration ready to defend their territory. 

Sick Betta Fish

Your betta fish may not be moving because it is sick. It could be sick from parasites, bacteria, fungus, ammonia or nitrate toxicity or Swim Bladder Disease. Watch your fish closely and contact your veterinarian if it doesn’t improve quickly. Symptoms of ammonia poisoning are not eating and lying at the bottom of the tank. If your fish’s breathing seems labored, ammonia is likely the culprit. Nitrate poisoning has similar symptoms. Your fish may lay on its side and look pale also. Cleaning your tank can fix these problems. Perform a partial water change of 25 to 50%. If you do not have a filter in your tank, it may be time to consider adding one. 

Betta Swim Bladder Disease

Symptoms of SBD include buoyancy issues and odd swimming. Your betta fish may swim in circles, on its side, or even upside down. Your fish may look bloated and/or have a curve in its spine. Overfeeding is the most common cause of SBD, but poor water quality, infections, injuries, and parasites can contribute to this disease. Fortunately SBD is curable when caught and treated early enough. Learn more on betta fish care.

Other Reasons That Your Betta Fish Isn’t Moving

Some other possible reasons that you may not see your betta fish flaring or inactive include stress, too strong of a current, too small of a tank, too hot or too cold water, and age. 

Consider if there is another fish nearby, changes to the tank environment, or other possible stressors. If your filter creates a strong current you may need to downgrade. Pretty much all types of betta fish are not fond of strong currents. Consider upsizing your tank. Betta fish don’t enjoy living in tiny bowls despite what you see at pet stores. Give your betta fish at least 2 gallons of tank space. The ideal water temperature for betta fish is 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (about 24 to 27 degrees celsius) so a tank heater is ideal for these fish. When I didn’t use a heater in the past I did notice my bettas were more sluggish in winter. I don’t think it ever killed one of my bettas, but I wasn’t providing the optimal environment. Just like all living creatures betta fish slow down as they age. They won’t be as active as they once were.

As you can see there can be many reasons that your betta fish isn’t moving. Some are normal and healthy and others are reason for concern. Has your fish’s behavior changed significantly over a short period, or is this something he does pretty consistently. Is he eating and pooping? Has his color changed? If the lack of motion is constant and new, he does not want to eat, and maybe your betta is losing color, then something is wrong. Consider consulting with a veterinarian for suggestions to return your sick pet fish back to health. But, hopefully your little guy is just resting! Be sure to visit us today if you are considering buying betta fish online for a healthy, active selection of bettas!

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