Why Is My Betta At The Bottom Of The Tank?

Are you staring into your tank and wondering “why is my betta at the bottom of the tank?” When you see this behavior you instantly start worrying. Wondering whether it’s normal or if something is seriously wrong.

Keep reading to find out all the reasons betta’s stay at the bottom of the tank and whether you should be concerned.

Before Anything, Ask Yourself This…

When you see your betta at the bottom of the tank the good news is you don’t need to panic just yet. There are many reasons that your betta exhibits this behavior and while some of them are a cause for concern, some aren’t.

Before panicking there are a few things you need to ask yourself. First of all…

Do You Have A Filter?

One reason your betta might be lying at the bottom of the tank is if you don’t have a filter in your tank. If you don’t have a filter then there could be a build up of chemicals as well as ammonia.¬† When ammonia builds up too much your betta could begin suffering from ammonia poisoning, which can quickly become fatal.

Also if another chemical has accidentally been introduced into your tank then it could also be damaging your betta. And without a filter to remove them, they’ll just keep poisoning him.

On the other hand, if you have a filter you may notice your betta stays at the bottom of his tank as well. And it may be because the current coming from your filter is too strong. If this is the case, then your betta may stay at the bottom of the tank to avoid it.

Do You Have A Heater?

Secondly, if you don’t have a heater your betta might also sink to the bottom of the tank. Temperature shock is very common in betta tanks that don’t have heaters. If you don’t know what temperature shock is, it’s when the water temperature drops too low or goes too high.

If the water becomes too cold then your betta is more likely to become lethargic and just lay on the bottom of his tank.

(Here’s everything you need to know about temperature shock.)

Why Is My Betta At The Bottom Of The Tank?”

Before you ask yourself why your betta is at the bottom of his tank you should try to get more specific. What other symptoms is your betta exhibiting?

Here are some of the most common symptoms that can be seen in connection with laying on the bottom of the tank

Betta Fish Laying On The Bottom Of The Tank Breathing Heavily

If your betta isn’t only lying at the bottom of the tank but he’s also breathing heavily, then something could be wrong. In all likeliness, the chances are its ammonia poisoning.

Ammonia Poisoning

If it’s ammonia poisoning you should check the water parameters of your tank with a test kit. If you don’t have a test kit then I highly recommend getting an API Master Test Kit. It’s going to test the ammonia levels in your tank as well as pH, nitrites, and nitrates. All of which are important to know.

If you don’t have a test kit then you should change 50% of the water regardless.

betta fish image

Betta Fish At The Bottom Of The Tank Not Moving

If you notice this then there could be a few cases, however, not all of them are necessarily bad.

Temperature Shock

If you notice this happening then you should check the temperature and make sure it hasn’t dropped. If it has dropped you’ll need to do what you can to warm it up again.

This is less likely to happen in tanks with heaters, however, it’s possible your heater may have stopped working. If you think this may be the case then check out some of the ways you can heat your tank without a heater!

Swim Bladder 

There could also be something wrong with your bettas swim bladder. Unfortunately, bettas are gutty fish and this means they will eat more than they should. Sometimes this overeating causes them to get swim bladder disease. Fortunately, it’s not as dangerous as it sounds

If you think you’ve been overfeeding your betta and this has caused swim bladder disease, then you should fast him for 3 days and then feed him blanched peas.

If you think his swim bladder disease is being caused by something else then it’s possible he’s sustained an injury or has an infection of some kind.

(Click here to find out more about swim bladder disease and everything you can do to treat it.)

A Dead Betta

Unfortunately, if your betta has gotten very old then he may have died. If you place something in the tank, swish it around him and he doesn’t move then this is probably the case.

If so, then you’re going to need to move him quickly out of the tank before he starts to contaminate the water.

Resting/Sleeping

And lastly, he may just be resting or sleeping. If there’s nothing wrong with the water in your tank and he definitely hasn’t gotten sick then he could just be resting.

If this is the case, some external stimulus should start getting him to move! A surefire way to check is to turn the lights on. The sudden change in brightness should get him to start moving.

Betta Fish At The Bottom Of The Tank Upside Down?

If you notice your betta is just at the bottom of his tank floating upside down, then it’s most likely that he’s suffering from swim bladder disease.

All you have to do is treat him for swim bladder disease and he should make a recovery. If you don’t know how to treat bettas with swim bladder disease then check out this article.

Betta Fish At The Bottom Of His Tank After Water Change

If you notice this happening then there are one or two reasons it’s occurring. Hopefully, it’s because the water change has stressed him out a little bit and he’s looking for somewhere close to the ground he can hide.

However, if this isn’t the case then it’s likely that he’s suffering from temperature shock. If you didn’t check the water before you added it to the tank then it could be too cold.

You’ll need to warm it up a bit to keep your betta alive. However, make sure you’re warming it up gradually. (On this page you’ll find ways you can warm your tank up.)

blue betta

Betta Fish At The Bottom Of His Tank On His Side

And lastly, you may see your betta at the bottom of the tank on his side. If you notice this then don’t panic right away, because once again there are multiple reasons this could be happening.

One of the unique traits that bettas have is that they sleep on their sides sometimes. In fact, this happens so often, you can actually buy decorations specifically to help them sleep on their side like betta leaves.

If you see your betta on his side at the bottom of his tank then he might just be having a little snooze.

But when he’s not sleeping it could be caused by poor water parameters or constipation/swim bladder disease.

Other Reasons Your Betta Is At The Bottom Of His Tank

If your betta isn’t showing any of the other symptoms, then here’s a couple of reasons he may be at the bottom.

A Lazy Betta

Bettas are lazy fish so if he is at the bottom of his tank then he could be being lazy. If you notice after a while he starts to move around normally and is okay with feeding then it’s probably nothing to worry about.

Old Age

He may just not move around as much because he’s getting old. If you’ve had your betta a while and you find he’s more likely to be laying at the bottom of the tank then this could be why.

However, if he is getting older then he is more susceptible to diseases. So make sure you’ve checked the water conditions are perfect and he’s not suffering from any diseases.

Female Betta May Be Egg Bound

If you have a female betta and you notice she’s staying at the bottom of her tank then she may be eggbound. To be sure check to see if her belly is swollen. If it is, then, unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do except wait it out. (Also make sure you’ve ruled out constipation.)

Recap

Now you know all the reasons your betta will lay at the bottom of his tank and what the symptoms of each reason are going to look like! Here are the main points that you need to remember:

  • If they’re on the bottom and they’re breathing heavily then it’s most likely ammonia poisoning.
  • If they’re on the bottom and they’re not moving then it could be temperature shock, swim bladder disease, they’ve passed away, or they’re sleeping.
  • When you notice them at the bottom of their tank and their upside down then it’s swim bladder disease.
  • If it’s happened after a water change then it could be temperature shock.
  • And lastly, if he’s on his side then there are a couple of causes. He could just be sleeping or it could be constipation/swim bladder disease.
  • There are also other things that make the betta lay on the bottom of his tank such as if he’s lazy (his fins are going to get heavy over time), old age, and if it’s a female then she may be egg bound!

If you have any more questions you can leave them below, otherwise, be sure to check out the rest of the website and have a great day.

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